The idea to go away at Christmas has been one we'd spoken about for a good few months, weighing up if we could afford it, if it was an indulgent expense (probably!) and how much our need to get away and switch off was greater than the work we needed to be doing in our home and money we needed to be saving. Both Wilf and Mabli have December birthdays and as such we see a lot of family and have a lot to celebrate with them on the run up to Christmas. We felt really strongly that we really needed to switch off and focus on our little family unit this year, mostly for me really and the industry I work in. The ability to 'switch off' is a really tricky one and without proper set work hours or holidays it can feel a bit overwhelming.
I find it really hard to not check emails, to turn down work and to get out of the social media bubble and I knew that staying at home it would be too tempting to open my laptop throughout this time.
One of my big resolutions this year is to have a better work life balance. My goal really in my work life is to be able to have holidays that fit around the children. With Wilf now at school each term is roughly around 6 weeks long and then he has a little holiday. Although it won't be achievable fully for a while I imagine I would love to be in a situation where I was able to take these off and spend quality time with him now he is out the house 5 days a week at school.
So it was decided (a little last minute!) that we would spend Christmas in one of my favourite cities in the world, Amsterdam.
A few of you guys have messaged me to ask where we stayed and what we did that was child friendly. I didn't take many pics of the place we stayed as I wanted to switch my work brain off and appreciate the fact that I wasn't reviewing anywhere I did take a few pics and would really recommend this type of break so I thought I'd mention a few bits and bobs in this post in case it's of help to any of you planning to do something similar.
Amsterdam I think is such a family friendly city, it's small, there are barely any cars and it had loads of space and parks and kid friendly cafes.
We stayed at an Airbnb during our trip which we tend to do quite a bit. We first stayed in one years ago on our first trip to Paris (here) for some reason I cant seem to link them but if you put in the search it is called 'Lovely&Cosy 76m2 Canal'. We chose it because it was a beautiful flat but also had a little boys room which we thought would be useful for Wilf. We LOVED staying there so much and the kids room entertained him so much that we said we'd always stay at apartments with kids room in the future.
The next Airbnb we stayed at was in Copenhagen (search 103 m2 bright, central apartment) and you can see more pics of the apartment here. Again this was a beautiful flat, really great location and had a little kids room Wilf loved!
So moving on to the Amsterdam place we stayed at one named 'Lvly Sps Light Family House'. This one had two childrens rooms, one for a girl the same age as Wilf and one for a teen boy. Mabli slept in bed with me and Tom and Wilf stayed in the little girls room. Both Wilf and Mabli loved playing with the toys in this room and it really helped when packing light. We actually only took stocking presents with us so having a room full of new-to-him toys to play with made his Christmas!
We found the apartment to be in a really good location public transport wise, we could jump on a tram right outside the place and it was really well connected. It was also walking distance to the bus that takes you to the airport to which we discovered on our way back. I think it was probably quite a family friendly area as there was a little playground at the bottom of the building and we saw a few little kids playing there (Wilf and Tom played out there on Christmas day whilst me and Mabli watching in warm from the living room).
Wilf's jumper is from Tootsa here and is now only £17!
In terms of what we did over our break (apart from take a trip out for a couple of days to Efteling) we mainly walked around the 9 streets, drank coffee, looked at vintage shops. Went to the Christmas markets at the IAMAMSTERDAM sign on Christmas eve which was so lovely. Drank mulled wine (or Gluwine, new favourite thing!).
Tom trying to work out directions to somewhere, he very rarely ever gets his phone out as he's practically allergic to technology, he even prints off maps ;) Wilf actually used the pushchair we brought Mabli on this trip. He hasn't used one since he was two and a half but we did a lot of walking and didn't actually realise how tired he must be sometimes poor thing! It made for a smoother trip at times rather than trying to get him to walk faster etc etc. He thought it was such a novelty!
Our first night in the city we actually stayed over a the Hilton in The Nord. If you've never been to Amsterdam I'd recommend traveling across to there on the free ferry, you can see what we did there last year by reading these posts. We actually found that it was cheaper to book a room over in The Nord and only took a short while on the ferry straight from the train station so was really easy to get to after we had initially arrived. We ate at Plek and had coffee in the morning at a bakery that looks out onto the ferry stop so we could see our ferry come in as it rained outside onto the water. It was really beautiful and so interesting to see people who live in The Nord off on their commute or kids off to school in their bucket bike. I would move to this city in a shot!
Both kids were given hot cookies by the hotel on arrival, hence chocolate faces! Mabli shared hers with me ;)
Wilf's onesie is from Boden (now on sale) and he wore it on the journey home which was perfect flying attire I think, I might take his lead and wear one next time. So comfy! Mabli's snow suit is from here (also on sale!)
So that was our Christmas! Tom and I had both agreed no presents for each other but he did actually buy me a book (he got me Bloom! Such a good gift!) I bought him a jumper he wanted and my sister in law bought me the brilliant Hurrah for Gin book which has left me in stitches (and tears at times!).
I hope you all had a lovely break with your loved ones and were able to recharge for the new year! I meant to do a round up of the last year but in reality I know it just won't happen (or if it will it will be published in May ;))
I made a little video of our Amsterdam trip if you want to give it a watch below, and I would love love it if you subscribed! Another of my goals for this year is to make sure I'm uploaded a video once a week so it would mean to much if you joined me other there too xx