The Maldives With Family

Travel Addicts

You can’t have a travel blog without being a self-confessed travel addict. It will be no surprise, then, that faced with the Things having 3 days off school for half term… We decided to take a trip. I mean to be fair, if in doubt, we will always, ALWAYS take the trip. So why did we decide to do the Maldives with family? Read more

Beautiful sunsets from beautiful beaches

Phuket With Kids

After moving to the Middle East we had an awesome but VERY tranquil holiday in the Maldives. Then we had a very hectic and a bit stressful holiday in India. THEN we had a shocker in Muscat over a long weekend. So why did we decide to do Phuket with kids?

More intelligent people would have got the hint that maybe exciting and challenging holidays were not for us… At least not for a while. But not to be deterred we set about thinking of a new adventure to take the Things on and came up with Thailand! Read more

Our hotel in Ras Al Khaima had 7 swimming pools!

Which is Better – Villa or Hotel?

I’ve had 4 or 5 people message me recently and ask about my thoughts on which is better – villa or hotel?

The short answer is that I don’t really know and I think it depends a lot on you as a family, if you are travelling with other people and where you are going. That being said, the following list might help you when making your decision if you bear the various factors in mind: Read more

Kerala with Kids

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while. I didn’t really know where to start to be honest! We spent 10 days in Kerala with kids 2 years ago and… (spoiler alert)… It wasn’t a massive success.

Now I know people who went before us and loved it. And I know people who went after us and loved it. To be fair to us, they did NOT go and have the same holiday that we had. Kerala is a beach destination and you can go to Kerala and sit in a resort for a week. I think you know Mr Wanderlust and I well enough by now to know that that is not what we wanted to do! Read more

Explorers

7 Tips to Limiting Weight Gain on Holiday

How easy is it to go on holiday and gain those pounds as you over eat, eat out and maybe have a tipple or 2 (or 3). I’ve definitely had ups and downs weight-wise this year and the holidays have not been kind to my waistline!

Jen from Just Average Jen is quite the inspiration having lost over 10 stone (that’s 140 pounds or 63 kilos if you operate in those metrics) including while she was on holiday. Just check out her phenomenal before and after pictures here:

 

What an inspiration!
What an inspiration!

I’m so thrilled that she agreed to write this guest post for me: 7 Tips to Limiting Weight Gain on Holiday – all about how to make more sensible decisions while you are away. I really love the last tip about how sunscreen can help you lose weight!

So without further ado….here she is:

 

Holidays are all about indulgence aren’t they? Whilst we want to enjoy our holiday though we don’t really want to come home a stone heavier and unable to do up our jeans do we?! Here are my top tips for staying as healthy as you can on holiday!

1. Start the day well

Do you need a fry up every day or could you have some fruit to start the day? Making the choice of fruit will make such a difference and if you are abroad the choice may be different to what you would have at home.

2. Explore new places on holiday

Don’t just stay in the resort when there is so much to see, have a walk to see what is nearby and burn off some calories in the meantime!

Explorers
Explorers

3. Stay hydrated

If you are somewhere hot it is easy to drink more alcohol than you normally would just because you are thirsty, take a bottle of water everywhere with you and stay hydrated.

4. Self catering

If you have a self catering apartment make the meals you eat there fun but healthy, that way you can enjoy your meals out whilst knowing it is a treat and you have been making healthy choices too.

5. Smart Ordering

When you order meals make sure you have vegetables or salad with them. This way you will partly fill up on low calorie items and still enjoy the pizza or kebab you are having!

6. Keep Moving

If you are near the beach or have a pool do plenty of swimming, even if like me you can’t swim just walking around in the water, playing piggy in the middle with a beach ball or similar is great exercise without even realising it!

Always active
Always active

7. Avoid The Burn

Use plenty of sunscreen, whilst this doesn’t sound like something that would stop you gaining too much weight on holiday it will keep you healthy and just think, if you get sun burnt you will feel sorry for yourself if you’re anything like me and then eat more! So in a round-about way it is actually going to help you keep a healthy weight!

Living Proof

Whilst I am no expert by any means I have lost over ten stone by eating healthily and even lost weight on a 2 week holiday to Majorca! My motto is very much that you should enjoy your life and never deprive yourself unnecessarily.

Bikini ready!
Bikini ready!

Follow Jen

My Blog, Just Average Jen, is about my weight loss, my journey trying to stay slim, happy and healthy including my relatable tales of when depression gets in the way and I comfort eat! We are all only human but if we want to be healthy and lose weight then we can.

You can find Jen over on her blog and on social media using the links below. 

www.justaveragejen.com

www.facebook.com/justaveragejen

www.twitter.com/justaveragejen

www.instagram.com/justaveragejen

www.pinterest.com/justaveragejen1

www.youtube.com/c/justaveragejen

Some days are just really really hard

The Expat Wife – a Lady of Leisure?

I’ve read countless Facebook posts recently alongside articles and discussions in expat groups all about the same thing. How are we defining ourselves as Expat Wives or Trailing Spouses or whatever the new term for us is? The discussions include debates on who is really the trailing spouse, different names for “us” and a long diatribe about what we are, aren’t, want to be, could be and should be. The question is.. what is the expat wife – a lady of leisure?

But it was a conversation last week that had me floored:

“So are you working here? Or are you a lady of leisure?” Read more

Wine on the beach!

How to Choose a Resort in the Maldives

A couple of years ago, I started one of those chat enquiries with a travel agent online. “Hi!” types the chirpy agent at the other end. “How can I help you today?” I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted her to tell me how to choose a resort in the Maldives! Read more

When you're a parent you don't go on vacation. You just take care of your kids in a different location.

Travelling with sick kids – what to do?

So I’ve had a few conversations with people recently about nightmares of travelling with sick kids. I know people who have had to postpone departures for it. “What do you do?” a friend asked me. “Do you just take them anyway or do you stay at home?” Another friend recounted the horrific tale of losing their security deposit after the kids threw up all over a hotel room in Muscat for an entire weekend. I know people who have had scares in far flung places. They’ve had to navigate the health system of a foreign country in a foreign language. Sometimes they’ve been delayed returning home.

We’ve had our fair share of bad experiences…

Travelling with sick kids is no fun. We ourselves have had our fair share of holiday illnesses and injuries:

  • Thing 1 fell and smashed his chin on a diving board in Greece last year not once but twice.
  • That same summer his sister managed to fall over and cut her eyebrow open.
  • Thing 1 also got ill in Italy with a terrible temperature 4 years ago. We were told off by an Italian doctor for not going straight to see them as soon as he spiked a fever. I felt like the world’s worst mummy that day!
  • Thing 2 had a fever for 3 days this summer in Sorrento. In a separate incident in Sicily, she spent a night vomiting (luckily it was a short lived bug and didn’t spread).
  • Oh… and Thing 1 got bitten by a spider (we think) in Miami once. He had a shocking temperature for 48 hours before we got on a transatlantic flight.

It’s not just us… is it?!!

Casting around for comfort that I’m not the only one travelling with sick kids, I discovered the following from my followers and fellow bloggers:

“Elijah cut his head open falling off a climbing frame in Cyprus, his sun glasses cut into his eyebrow 😕 ….. We ended up at a terrifying stitch em up and shove them out medical centre which resulted in a traumatised 4 year old and the crappest stitches you’ve ever seen . He was so scared they threatened to remove me from the room and have security hold him down to get stitches 😡😡.”

“We were in paradise with a wonderful old friend for a long weekend, staying on the beach and Mia had flu. The beach is the worst place to be with flu: wind, sun, all combining to make it very uncomfortable ” – Cecilia

“We went on our very first family holiday this April when Willow was just 15 months old. She didn’t eat for most of the week we were away and had the most horrendous cold, struggling with her breathing and a yucky snotty nose. We went to see a night time pharmacist who prescribed her medicine and we just made do. As soon as we came home, she seemed like her old self again, eating and drinking properly.” – Tattooed Tea Lady

My daughter got sick over Thanksgiving because her cousin was sick. I didn’t really care because I’d rather see them on a big holiday and deal with the aftermath than miss that time with them. Anything other than a big event would upset me.”Home Makers Journal 

“When our son was almost 18 months old we went to Lanzarote for our second family sun holiday. It started off brilliantly but on day 5, two days before we were due to fly home, he came out in chicken pox. We were grounded for an extra 3 days and couldn’t leave our room until he got the fit-to-fly cert. Thank the Lord for travel insurance and available rooms in our hotel. I wrote all about it in our Holiday Diaries. It wasn’t the best end to a holiday!” – Battle Mum

“We’re currently in Spain and have had a very grumpy toddler. She’s had prickly heat and has cried for days over the heat. Wouldn’t sleep or eat.We’ve been keeping her cool inside and even ventured to a Spanish pharmacy to get some calpol to see if it would help. It’s not been the most relaxing holiday but she is feeling a lot better now!”Little Bargain Hunter

“It seems whenever we go away, one of our children is sick. We stayed in a gorgeous Welsh pub this year and my youngest just could not stop being sick! I stayed in the room with him and watched out of the window as my husband enjoyed a pint in the beer garden whilst our other two children played. I was VERY jealous! But Jack wanted his mam so I drew the short straw.” – North East Family Fun

Are we scarred for life?

Well… I mean this metaphorically haha. Clearly from the above stories, there are some literal scars too including one each for Things 1 and 2. I know people who won’t travel far because they are traumatised from experiences. For the most part, though, you all told me that you are still travelling far and wide.

Lessons learned

“So what have I learned? Carry a proper med kit with me including butterfly stitches. They would have done a better job than the stitches and Elijah wouldn’t have such a terrible scar on his head . Poor boy.” – Sarah

I’d definitely recommend travelling with a first aid and medical kit. Almost unanimously everyone who has experienced travelling with sick kids recommended taking Calpol (kids acetaminophen for those non-Brits among us) and kids neurofen with them. I even suggest taking some on the plane with you to avoid problems when flying. I just know that the day I forget it will be the day we have a sick kid on an aeroplane. Anna even came up with the brilliant idea of buying it on the other side of security at the airport to save her relying on translations of the equivalent. I’d add that flavours can vary between countries – we found out the hard way, Having medication with you that you know your Thing will take is a massive bonus. No-one needs to be force feeding medication to a sick kid.

What else should I take with me?

I feel a follow up to this post should definitely be a first aid and medical kit. In the meantime Laura at Life with Baby Kicks has compiled her must have essentials. If they don’t work, it’s best to make sure you have  adequate travel insurance to make sure you get appropriate medical help.

When you're a parent you don't go on vacation. You just take care of your kids in a different location.
When you’re a parent you don’t go on vacation. You just take care of your kids in a different location.

Want to know how I avoid taking the kitchen sink with me on a trip? Check out my top 7 packing tips!

Things to do With Kids in Devon

So I’ve done this a bit back to front, chronologically speaking. When we went back to the UK last month I wrote all about our time in London which was totally amazing. That was actually the second part of our time there. What I haven’t yet written about is the first part of the trip which was going back to my hometown in Devon.

To be honest… I wasn’t really sure what to write about because none of it is stuff that you guys would necessarily be interested in. Ok, you might be interested in the fact that we had a wonderfully chilled out time and that we saw lots of family and friends because you’re nice people. But not much of what we did was particularly touristy because, well, I’ve done most of it before and we really weren’t there for that long.

Read more

My top 6 types of travel companion

This month’s travel link up is co-hosted by the fabulous Polly from Follow Your Sunshine and Leona from Wandermust Family. They’ve tasked us with writing about travel companions. As someone who writes about family travel, the most logical people to write about are the Things. BUT…. I think most family bloggers are writing about their kids for this one so I thought I would do something a bit different and I’ve made a list of my top 6 types of travel companion.

1. The Things

Ok, ok I know I said I wasn’t going to conform and write a whole article about them. On the other hand, I can’t be a family travel blogger and not even include them! Travelling with the Things has opened my eyes to travel in such a different way.

Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is the first travels we took with them. Those times when they were so tiny and yet needed more luggage than a pop star and their entourage. Those travels were fun – first beach trip, first aeroplane, first sight of snow… They were also stressful with first time mummy worries of napping, expressing milk on the road and over-stimulated babies.

Thing 1's First Ever Flight!
Thing 1’s First Ever Flight!
As they have got bigger the fun has definitely increased – building sandcastles with a kid is way more fun than doing it on your own “for their benefit”.

Still Building For Their Benefit!
Still Building For Their Benefit!
Flying actually gets worse for a long time before it gets better – crawling babies just want to move, toddling ones pre-toddle need back breaking walks up and down the aisles and attention spans are pretty short until around the age of 3 (2.5 if you’re lucky). But holidays with littlies are still fun – splashing about in swimming pools, exploring beaches or going hiking, spending time with parents who are otherwise working…

Not Much Can Beat Splashing About In A Pool
Not Much Can Beat Splashing About In A Pool
Now that our Things are a bit older still, the longer haul flights are getting much easier. We’re even getting their input on holiday locations and activities (getting them to agree is another matter) and they are taking their own interests in the plans. We arrived at the Coliseum in Rome for Thing 1 to tell us that it is in his Lonely Planet Travel Book (which he reads at 5am when he can’t sleep and we won’t let him get up – but that’s another story).

Rome With The Things Was Amazing!
Rome With The Things Was Amazing!
I’m so excited for them to get bigger and to love travel the way we do. I want to show them so much, to open their eyes and minds to the beauty in the world, to different people and cultures, to new experiences that they could never get at home. Travelling with the Things is Totally Awesome.

2. Extended Family

Just as I love travelling with the Things, travelling with the very people who exposed Mr Wanderlust and I to travel at a young age is super fun. We’ve had some incredible holidays with our parents including taking mum to Lake Como which was a place on her bucket list for years. After we had been there I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been on my list for years too! (Just goes to show your mum is always right kids – even when you’re a mum yourself!)

 

Lake Como Blew Us Away!
Lake Como Blew Us Away!
Considering we are a truly expat family (we’re in the Middle East, my family’s in the UK, my in-laws are in the US), you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re not close. I’d actually argue it’s quite the opposite. It’s important to Mr W and I that family bonds are fostered regularly. We want the Things to have good role models and healthy relationships with adults other than us. I’m glad that their grandparents meet that criteria! Travelling with our parents is great but travelling with the Thing’s grandparents adds a whole new dimension altogether.

International Family Reunion!
International Family Reunion!

3. Besties

We have had some really brilliant holidays with our very best friends – people so close we called them our Urban Family when we lived in the UK. From skiing holidays when we were young and childfree to villa holidays, going away with people who we have grown up with and who know us as well as, if not better than our family is super fun! Inevitably it involves a few late nights and some sore heads along the way… But it also involves more fun and happy times than I can count.

Fun With Our Faves
Fun With Our Faves
I am especially lucky that Mr Wanderlust introduced me to his sister who became one of my best friends. We are all even luckier that their daughter, our niece, was born just 2 months before Thing 2 giving us maternity leave together and even more opportunities for holidays and time away. She lives in LA now so we don’t get much chance to hang out face to face which makes our holidays together even more special!

Besties
Besties

4. Other Kids

Now that we are older, holidays with family and / or friends invariably involves the Things of the respective siblings or friends.

Now don’t get me wrong, when holidaying with other families, you need to be pretty careful how you choose them. Going away with a family who has a completely different routine than you or different family rules is going to be difficult at best. Its hard to arrange anything if the kids are napping at different times or have different bed times. I mean its hard enough when they won’t even eat the same things as happened to us in Italy.

Six Things = Trouble...And Fun!
Six Things = Trouble…And Fun!
But if you get it right, the kids entertain themselves way more than they can by themselves. Plus there is the added bonus of multiple adults to give each other time off. AND you get to hang out with your mates! Winner winner chicken dinner!

Mini Besties
Mini Besties

5. Myself

It probably sounds a bit weird but I am just so happy when I am travelling! I haven’t done almost any travelling on my own and, while that would be interesting to try, what I mean by this is that I just really enjoy who I am when we are on holiday (Muscat trip excepted when I was horrid shouty mummy). It’s not even about getting to know myself better, just that I’m more chilled and I’m doing what I love. What could be better than that?

6. Mr Wanderlust

Last but not least and actually in first place is Mr Wanderlust. He’s my absolute favourite travelling companion! We met 6 days after he returned from a 20 month bum around the world round the world trip of a lifetime and have been pretty much inseparable ever since. Our whole relationship has grown and developed over unforgettable holidays and character building expat assignments. I think we both realised “this is it” around the time we took our first big backpacking holiday together in Indonesia, a proposal followed in Borneo and we had as much, if not more, fun planning our honeymoon as we did our wedding!

Me and Mr Wanderlust... Happy Days
Me and Mr Wanderlust… Happy Days
So those are my top 6 types of travel companion. Who’s your favourite person to travel with?