Travelling Abroad, Alone with Kids

Earlier this year I decided to book myself and my girls a little adventure abroad, now I've been abroad with them before two years ago to Italy, which was beautiful but I had my Mum and Step Dad there too so this time round I felt a little nervous, sounds silly but I didn't want to go anywhere that was too far away, being my first time just me and the girls in a different country on our own I suppose I just wanted somewhere where I knew I could fly home to quickly in case of an emergency or if anything happened (which it did if you read until the end!)

I booked our holiday at the beginning of the year through British Airways.  After looking through online and recommendations from friends and family I booked Barcelona, I've always wanted to go.  I booked for 5 nights (& 6 days) and I also included a private taxi transfer to and from the airport to put my mind at rest that we would actually get there safely, that's my worst fear going to another country on my own with two kids and getting lost.

So preparation for the trip was pretty stress free, we all had our passports, both the girls had a new summer wardrobe of clothes which we went shopping for a few months before so kept them all aside and started to save for spending money.  I went for just the breakfast option at the hotel, purely because I wanted to try all the delicious food Barcelona had to offer.

I done a little research before we went about the area we were staying in.  I purely chose the location because it was just a 15 minute walk to the beach, I didn't want to stay slap bang in the city as the holiday was really for the girls and what child doesn't love the beach!

Our hotel was a five minute walk from all the local amenities, shops, pharmacy and newsagents.  As well as a whole wonderful strip of restaurants, bars and ice cream restaurants.

The first three days we were there we spent at the beach, I wanted to save the last two proper days for exploring.  The girls were happiest there, building sand castles, playing in the sea and just having so much fun.  We got into a little routine, breakfast in the morning which was served until 11am so we were in no hurry to get up and rush at all.  We would head to the supermarket get our water and snacks for the beach, there were lots of little restaurants along the beach so picked up lunch there by late afternoon we used to head back to the hotel for an afternoon nap! Which the girls really needed being out in the sun (they were protected with suncream, hats, sunglasses) then early evening we would get ready and head out to the strip to find somewhere to eat.  I have to say price wise Barcelona is no more expensive that London!  I was told it was an expensive place to go but I didn't really think that was true, I took £900 for the 5 days just to make sure we were fully covered - Part of that was the girls money they were given for spending too and to cover their food etc.  The food didn't disappoint at all both girls absolutely loved the traditional seafood Paella and lived off off the Calamari one of our favourites.  Everything was fresh - The ice cream was amazing that was our treat every night there were a big selection of ice cream places along the strip but we soon found our favourite place which also sold amazing chocolates and other sweet treats!

Day 4 I wanted a change from the beach and decided to take a cab to Park Guell located further into the city, we walked almost to the top and experienced amazing views over Barcelona, we could have gone further up but the girls were tired and were moaning to go back to the beach!  We headed to a local little cafe there for lunch and headed back to the hotel (the spent the afternoon at the beach) after a couple of hours exploring.  The park was about a 25 minute cab ride from the hotel which I think was approximately about 13 Euros.

Here's where the bad news came in later that afternoon I had a phone call from British Airways, now I'm so glad I didn't turn off my phone as I probably wouldn't have had the help I did if I hadn't have kept it on.  They called to say that on the day we were going home and three days after that there were to be transport strikes, so that mean't our booked taxi would no longer be available and we may not have made it back to the airport! My instant thought was to come home, I was out there with two young children, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck there, probably run out of money and then have the stress of everything else so I asked British Airways if we could come back the next day (a day early) and they were so lovely, they straight away booked us on a flight the very next morning free of charge, I was quite relieved, travelling abroad with two young children and then being worried about getting stuck there was just too much.  They rearranged our taxi transport to pick us up and we had a smooth flight back to Heathrow.

We had an amazing holiday despite missing out on another two full days and a night that was just enough for us, I think next time (if) I ever get to revisit Barcelona I will go child free and do more exploring but the holiday was for the girls they enjoyed every second of the sea, beach, sunshine, food and unlimited amounts of ice cream!!

My top tips for travelling abroad with kids alone:

1/  Always research where you are staying and the area before you go, I usually use TripAdvisor for reviews on where to go.

2/  Make sure you have passports updated and keep them in a safe place to avoid any last minute stress.

3/  Book transport to and from the airport if you don't know the area.  I paid an extra £100 for mine but was well worth it after an early morning (3am) and plane journey the kids were super tired and last thing they would have wanted was to be travelling on public transport with suitcases and bags.

4/  Always take more than enough spending money you never know when you might need it.

5/  Make sure you get medical insurance before hand its usually pretty cheap I paid £15 for ours through Admiral.

6/  Keep your phone on at all times - I was going to turn my phone off for most of the trip but I'm glad I didn't now as I would never have got the call about the transport strikes.  You never know when you may need it too.

7/  Have a plan for each day and just enjoy your time!!

Kaleidoscope Autumn/Winter 2018 Collection

Kaleidoscope is an online brand that I absolutely love and have worked with them many a times before on my old blog.  I was invited to their Autumn/Winter 2018 press launch and they never fail to impress with their amazing new collections each season.  For me each year has just got better and better with their designs and styles.  I think for them the typical target is for older women but I think that their styles would also appeal to the younger generation (say under 30's) Now being over 30 I wouldn't dress in some of the outfits I wore in my 20's but just because you get older it doesn't mean you need to loose your style if anything I feel better and more confident in my 30's than I did in my 20's especially which such an amazing range of styles out there now a days.  Kaleidoscope are defo one of my favourite brands.  

Below is one of the dresses I purchased after seeing it at the press day, I fell in love with it, simple, stylish and has been so lovely to wear this Summer too, can also be dressed up in the Autumn/Winter for an occasion. Stripe Bardot Dress which at £39 I think is a great price, I love the simple stripe design and the material is really good quality.  I would have the whole collection if I could afford to buy it all!

Here are all of the amazing pieces from their AW18 collection.  (website linked at the bottom of the page)

This lovely pencil skirt is one of my favourites from the collection, I love how they have styled the whole outfit.

The lace detailing at the bottom of this coat is beautiful and classy another favourite of mine.

To find the collection you can head over the Kaleidoscope website where you can also search for their gorgeous homeware too.

What do you like from this collection?

Body Positivity

Let's talk body positivity - Now this is a subject that I have seen a lot of over social media and also in the press.  We all have our own body insecurities and hang ups but its how you deal with them that matters.  I'd say this year has been the first time in a long time (years in fact) and I have come to accept myself and my body for who I am.  Up until last year I was obsessing over my weight, I was seeing photos of what I thought at the time were perfectly shaped bodies online, women who had just had babies and were springing straight back into shape.  In a way seeing that kind of thing when your battling your own demons about yourself is not healthy for the mind at all.  What we have to remember these days a lot of 'influencers' and fitness experts won't show you their bloated tummies or their roll of fat they have when they sit down, they pose the perfect angle to make themselves at times look leaner than they actually are and do I find this inspiring anymore? no I don't.  Don't get me wrong I'm not slating these people we all work in our own way but seeing real life and imperfections is what I really do find inspiring.  I will actually link into my instagram post a few accounts that I have found online that I like to follow who show the real life bodies not just the photoshopped ones or ones to try to inspire how we 'should' look.

The press don't help these days, I have seen newspaper articles and magazine features fat shaming women and also doing the same for women who are underweight which is awful as today we live in a society where a lot of young girls are sold into this nonsense, you need diet pills, or a shake to lose weight and have the perfect body, or you are not accepted to society if you are overweight or don't look like the perfected version of someone in the press or on social media, its wrong I've seen it for myself and will be teaching my Daughters to grow up to love themselves no matter what shape or size they are & to lift each other up instead of bringing themselves and others down.

I do tell myself now that there is no 'perfect' body and we should accept ourselves for what we are.  I'm more body confident now than I have ever been, at times I used to wish certain parts of my body were different, but I've learned to love who I am, so that is the message for you ladies and guys out there who are feeling shit LOVE YOURSELVES..... Stop reading shit press articles and unfollow people on social media who don't make you feel good.  Lets stop shaming and start supporting eachother. Remember no one is perfect. Get that bikini out you've been worrying about wearing, or go rock those tight jeans you were worried about being judged in! I hate the fact that friends of mine online have been trolled for being different and have had horrible messages written about them it makes me sick, these uneducated people hiding behind computer screens trying to make others feel shit, they must be deeply unhappy in themselves.  ITS NOT OKAY TO BODY SHAME PEOPLE!

And guys if you are feeling depressed or something is really making you feel anxious then do speak to someone about it, don't be shy to speak out about how you feel to a family member, friend or even your GP there is always help out there, never feel like you're alone. (Or even drop me an email I'm always here for anyone who needs a bit of support.

Let's be kind to ourselves and others and support each other.