Friday, 23 January 2015

A cruise around Norway?

via Tea Collection

via The Cool Hunter

via Wanderlust 

You may have noticed the theme of my blog posts lately are all about a bit of escapism and wanderlust! After my evening At The Chapel chatting dream destinations and travel wish lists I've been pinning madly to my 'travel' board and hatching plans.

It's funny that before having Wilf travel really wasn't a big part of my life. I never really had that lust for adventure and dreamt only of settling down with my family. Becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways, I think it's near impossible to be the 'same person' as you were before. Having a child has made me want to show him new places, new cultures and all the possibilities life holds. It's made me more confident and more interested in the world around me.

Norway is one of my top places I'd love to tick off the list and I recently heard about Norwegian cruises. Wouldn't it be incredible to sail through the fjords and experience those stunning landscapes? I've been checking on 'Cruise Plotter' about where we could take a trip, it's a really interesting site that literally shows you everywhere in the world you can plan a cruise. Stopping at four different Norwegian desitations including Oslo which has been of interest to me for a while.

I've never been on a cruise before and for some reason hadn't thought about using them to explore scandinavian destinations. I think it would be a really interesting way to explore more than one destinations over a few days.

What do you think? Would you consider a cruise holiday? Where would you go?

In association with Deal Checker 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

An evening with I-Escape At The Chapel

Last Wednesday when the winds were howling and storms were threatened I took leave of my mummy-ing duties for a night and headed to At The Chapel for an evening with the i-escape team and a bunch of some of my blogging favourites.

Myself and my roomie Lori had kindly been offered a stay over at this beautiful venue and such a treat it was too. We checked into our twin, oohed at the beautiful bathroom and headed downstairs for a glass of prosecco and to hear more about what the company is about.

For anyone not familiar with the site (I wasn't!) i-escape find the best and most beautiful locations around the world. They are really selective about which hotels and venues they work with and a team member will review the place and state honestly the pro's and cons of every location. They basically find the 'little gems' you might only have heard about from a friend without you having to search them out. If you book through them you spend exactly the same amount as you would do by booking direct but you also get a little extra at each place (for example booking At The Chapel through them would mean you would get a free glass of prosecco on arrival) those little touches that make nights away that little bit extra special.

What was really interesting though is i-escape's 'with kids' section. Whenever we travel, book accommodation or visit locations, style is a big factor in us making a decision. I want to stay in a place that matches my aesthetics and if I'm on holiday I want it to be beautiful and unique. I think I must have spent a good few evening since adding place after place onto my wish list (like this architect's cottage in Reykyavik or this house boat in Berlin!). They are rated by family friendliness by one to three stars and a break down on why it was graded as such (perhaps buggy access wasn't great or the hotel didn't include children's activities etc). Although depending on what you want from a family friendly holiday one star could actually be exactly the time of thing you were after!

(in case you were wondering - top* / jeans* / shoes*)
above and below shots taken by Lori 

After a good natter that evening (which reminds me that Wilf calls talking 'chattering' which is just so adorable 'I think I'm going to go chatter to daddy now' ahh) I sank into one the comfiest beds I've ever slept on and was awoken the croissants hanging from the door to our room. The best way to wake up in my opinion.

(last shot also taken by Lori)

Two delicious lattes were drunk in the restaurant downstairs as I wished I could return to my room and sink into that deep bath but home beckoned and I had a little boy to cuddle and share stories with. I love treats away like this and it always make me hug my son just that bit tighter and read another story with just that bit more enthusiasm after getting a bit of my own time.

I left At The Chapel and my evening with i-escape inspired by travel and all the wonderful and exciting places in the world to be discovered together with my family!

I was a guest of i-escape's At The Chapel but all words and thoughts are my own.

*=affiliate links

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Lapland part two

On our first full day in Lapland we set off early for some taster sessions, first up a sleigh ride pulled by huskies followed by ski mobiles! In December Lapland get's about four hours day light which meant even though we left at 9am it felt like the middle of the night.

Our elf led us to a fire in the woods where we were told a story about how Lapland was divided between the animals. It was very magical sitting around in the dark with Wilf, drinking hot better juice and hearing an old folk story told in a thick Finnish accent. Our noses were marked with charcoal from around the fire as part of the tale and I was reminded what a strange and amazing experience we were having.

Myself, Wilf and my sister were the first to try out the husky ride, as this was the taster session they ran round a track for roughly 5 minutes in a lap through the snow covered trees. These few minutes had us longing for more, it really was fantastic! Husky dogs are built for these conditions and absolutely love to run, in fact in the summer they don't run at all as they are too hot so come the freezing temperatures they are in their element.

After the husky rides we took to the snow mobiles, as neither my sister or I can drive we snuggled down into the blankets on the sleigh that the instructor pulled along with the other children (and couple of adults that weren't driving either). The children all yelled at the driver 'faster faster!' and shrieked in delight every time he sped up ever so slightly. After a quick taster session of this and a promise of the full version of each later we were left with a few hours to kill before lunch.

We took this time for a quick sledge into the village to check out the supermarket and tourist shops. My sister and I excitedly pointed out all the Moomin products to Wilf and we picked out a toy Reindeer as a 'present' for daddy.

A lot of the decor and feel of the hotel was quite seventies in a way. I'd not stayed in a lodge or been on a snow type holiday before so I had no idea what to expect. For a vegetarian there wasn't masses of choice on the food department but there was always at least one vegetarian option and always an option of pasta and chips for Wilf (who can be a bit fussy at times) which was totally fine for the amount of time we were staying. If I have one regret it would be that we didn't get to eat out at any of the cafe's or restaurants as we were so busy but then again with all there is to do it was nice to know all the meals were there and inclusive when you needed them. A friend told me about cloudberries which apparently are eaten a lot there, another reason to return and eat out at least once or twice I think.

After lunch we had a trip to the husky farm for a real husky ride. If there ever was a time I wished for a GoPro this would be it! There is no way I can describe the sensation of either ride unless you experience it for yourself but it was incredible! the guide showed us how to ride the sleighs and my little sister even surprised me by taken the reigns and driving us Wilf and I!

And I got to hug a husky puppy!

That evening after a few hours back at the hotel and dinner we headed for a snow mobile ride. My sister buddied up with a driver and Wilf and I snuggled down into the sleigh again. He was so exhausted by this point he slept pretty much the whole ride, through the forest and dark was setting in and the snow glistening from the trees. Another truly surreal moment that I wish I could be able to describe or share in some way doing it justice. I think this might have been my favourite activity if I had to rate them. We stopped at the top of a hill in the middle of thick thick snow to watch the sun set whilst warming ourself with hot berry juice and Wilf woke up and threw snowballs with our friendly Elf guide. I kept thinking 'this is literally a once in a lifetime thing to do' and pinching myself at how I lucky we were.

Whilst we did quite a few activities over a couple of days due to it being a press trip and wanting to fit in as much as we could, if you came here with your family you could definitely take the bits you wanted to try and have a slower pace. If I'm honest Wilf would have been just as happy playing around the hotel, sledging and building snowmen but I think if he had been a tiny bit older he would really have been able to take in some of the amazing things we did.

I have one last post on our time in Lapland to come..the day we visited Santa!

We were guests of Thomson in Lapland and all words and thoughts are my own

What Mama Wore - A Casual Saturday

On Saturday we had a third birthday to attend, lots of cake to eat and general celebrating with old friends. We went for breakfast before heading out to the party and Tom the ever dutiful bloggers husband snapped some quick pics of my outfit for me.

Click below to read on

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