REVIEW: Hotel Victoria Playa, a Thomson family hotel, in Santo Tomas, Menorca

We recently had our first holiday abroad with our 13 month old baby W and apart from him suffering from the heat and teething, we had an absolutely great time! This hotel has mixed reviews, so I thought I’d give our take on it….


The rooms are as described on the Thomson website – pretty basic but very clean and functional. A few reviews said that there isn’t much storage room and I would agree with that – but we had a set of bunk beds in there which we used for storage! There was a travel cot ready for us in the room (on wheels so we put towels around ours to stop it moving!) and we rented a fridge for baby W’s milk at the cost of about 2 euros per day.

We were in room 209, we had amazing views over the sea and saw some cracking sunsets. This side of the hotel gets the sun in the afternoon so when the boys were napping in the afternoon I could sit on the balcony catching some rays 🙂

View from our room in Victoria Playa
View from our room in Victoria Playa

One downside of this side of the hotel is that in the evening you can hear the entertainment from outside the hotel next door – but it’s not too bad and always finishes by 11pm.

Balcony #selfie - hat bought in San Tomas :)
Balcony #selfie – hat bought in San Tomas 🙂

Restaurant, bar and lobby areas

I have to mention the lobby – only because – at the Thomson rep desk, they have a crate where people leave their unwanted goods – I thought this was a great idea, and we left books and our inflatable toys there, I saw everything from clothes to swim nappies in there!

They seem to be half way through doing this hotel up – so the main bar area looks a little bit dated, but it’s still absolutely fine and I love how you just help yourself to soft drinks/lager/wine without having to be served – oh and help yourself to free tubs of ice cream! Next to the main bar, there is another bar (cocktail bar?) which has been renovated – it’s clean, modern and very-well air conditioned – this area was always really quiet and a lovely respite from the heat!

Our view from the new bar in Victoria Playa, Menorca
Our view from the new bar in Victoria Playa, Menorca

I hadn’t realised til we got home (otherwise I would have taken photos) that the restaurant photos on the website are out-of-date – the restaurant is in the style of this bar – airy, clean, modern – really nice. They have an area for families with highchairs at the table ready – much fun watching baby W babbling to the other babies in the vicinity!


We absolutely loved the food and couldn’t work out why the food would ever get bad reviews – we’ve stayed at a few posher all-inclusives than this one but this food was excellent – always a fish of the day, always meat, always pasta (baby W’s fave!), always something child-friendly like chicken nuggets, always an amazing choice of salads and a few desserts. My favourite meals of the week were their paella, local meatballs and their chicken fajitas… oh and I had nutella pancakes for breakfast every day – yum!

Because of the huge choice of food, there was always plenty for baby W to eat – from cheese slices to his watermelon! The staff there were lovely – giving baby W lots of attention (and we left them a nice tip at the end of the week as they’d spent so much time helping us clean up after him ;))

My only bugbear about the restaurant was that it didn’t open for lunch til 1pm – noon would have been better for us as we’re up so early with baby W! But you can free toasties/sarnies in the bar between 11 and 1 so I couldn’t really complain!

The pool areas, grassy area and beach

As you might be able to see from the photo from our room, there are 3 pools – a play pool with little slides etc, a small baby/toddler pool and the main adult pool – all good!! The reps do dancing and games every afternoon – you’d never catch me getting involved but it was fun to watch 😉

Loved these posters at the bar/pool area
Loved these posters at the bar/pool area

I’ve seen a few reviews moaning about not being able to get a lounger – by the end of our week we struggled too but we just put our towels down on the huge grassy area instead – which was perfectly fine 🙂 As well as the pool-side loungers and grassed area, the gorgeous sandy beach is just a minute or so away! We didn’t spend long down here but it was lovely, and you can hire loungers here too.


On of the reasons we chose this hotel is because it has a creche. We thought we’d put baby W in for 4 out of the maximum 6 hours a day (!!) but because of his teething etc, we only put him in for 3 mornings but he loved it! The 2 girls working there, Terri and Ashleigh, were absolutely great – warm, calming and put you at ease right away – we all loved them!

We had pre-booked our sessions before we went and just sorted out the times when we got there, but you can do it all when you get there and they’re pretty flexible if you need to switch etc. They only take a max of 6 babies/toddlers per session but when we were there it was never full.


One of Baby W’s highlights of the holiday was the softplay area between the pool and bar. The photo doesn’t really do it justice – it’s quite small but perfect size for babies/toddlers of baby W’s age – a ball pool, and some big foam things to move around – ace!!

Softplay at Victoria Playa, Menorca
Softplay at Victoria Playa, Menorca

Play areas

So for older toddlers/kids, there seems to be 2 x kids clubs (I’ve no idea what the difference between them is) and 2 little park/play areas. For baby W there was a hidden bonus – by one of the kids club was a little area which 2 x wendy houses and a car – he loved it!! And a part of it was always in the shade – as baby W had just started walking before the hols, this area was perfect for him and kept him entertained.

Outside one of the kids clubs, Victoria Playa
Outside one of the kids clubs, Victoria Playa
baby W loved his car in Victoria Playa!
baby W loved his car in Victoria Playa!

Other baby-friendly facilities

Next to the creche (on the first floor, near the restaurant) there is a baby room which has a steriliser, microwave, kettle…. cot…. little ball pool, books and some toys, and a changing area. This was great for us, before or after dinner baby W would love playing in the ball pool – oh and there’s a TV/DVD player in there so he loved playing with the remote control too!

The other baby-friendly thing I must mention is that you can hire a buggy from the hotel. We had taken our brand new Chicco lite stroller with us but stupidly forgot the sun canopy and quickly realised we’d be buggered without it, so we hired one from the hotel (they have a room full you can choose from including a double buggy!) and I think it was only 2-3 euros per day which I thought was a bargain!

The resort – San Tomas

So we couldn’t really fault the hotel – and we LOVED the location! Santo Tomas is a tiny little resort so don’t there if you’re looking for ‘action!’ – it only has about 5 restaurants/bars and a handful of shops but we loved it – our highlight was our twice-a-day walk down the promenade, the sea on one side and lovely hotels and houses on the other. I think the resort has a mix of hotels and self-catering accommodation so as well as lots of other young British families we also saw backpackers, and older European travellers – I always like a good mix of people!

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While I remember, the hotel is right opposite a supermarket, pharmacy and doctors surgery… and a bus stop  – great location!

Me and a sangria in San Tomas, Menorca
Me and a sangria in San Tomas, Menorca

In the opposite direction to the prom, there is a cliffside walk over the next resort – we walked about half of it while baby W was in creche this morning – was lovely (there’s me on the rocks there!) and would have been ace to have the time to do the full walk!

Must also mention that a few minutes from the hotel is a softplay you can pay 3euros for – baby W was a bit small for it really but it would be great for older children, and they also had a trampoline etc.

Checking out the softplay competition in San Tomas Menorca
Checking out the softplay competition in San Tomas Menorca

Overall summary

Because of the mixed reviews we’d read, our expectations were exceeded of Hotel Victoria Playa – we loved:

  • the food
  • the softplay and other play area
  • the creche – Terri and Ashleigh were ace
  • the baby room and being able to hire a buggy
  • overall a very baby-friendly hotel
  • friendly staff
  • our view overlooking the sea
  • the location – San Tomas was a real nice surprise for us, we loved the seaside prom – the whole place was so chilled and clean, lovely, quiet atmosphere
  • hotel has free WIFI – I didn’t use it, enjoyed an internet break!

The only real downsides I can think of:

  • the rooms are a bit small and basic but they look exactly as described, so I’m not really complaining!
  •  would love to have lunch at 12, and dinner before 6.15 (baby W normally eats at 5.30pm at home) but we got by fine!
  • it didn’t bother us, but it’s quite a bustling hotel and obviously with it being a ‘family’ hotel, the majority of guests are young families – as you might expect, the clientele is a right mix which is fine for us – if you’re going there for peace and quiet you might struggle 😉

Hope you found this useful, if you’d like to know anything else about the hotel/area, leave a question in the comments and I’ll get back to you 🙂

Small print: I wasn’t asked to write this and I certainly didn’t get a free holiday (or any form of payment!) for this, I just wanted to share our experience with you!

REVIEW: Novotel Birmingham airport (stay and park and fly)

We stayed here a couple of weeks ago before going away with 13 month old baby W for the first time- so the logistics were very different to our usual holiday arrangements.

I’d usually look for the cheapest hotel/parking airport deal, and end up in a random car park miles from the airport but now for us it’s all about convenience and ease…. and this is why this Novotel must be the closest hotel to an airport ever – you literally cross a road to get to the terminal – awesome!

Here’s a  quick summary:

Check-in process – I’d had an email before arrival asking if I wanted to check-in before arriving, I did this so when we got there we were just handed the key without any forms to fill in – lovely!

Parking logistics etc – as we’d bought the parking package, we were able to pull up right outside the hotel for 15 minutes, unload all of our luggage before moving the car to car park 5 in the airport and then we were able to walk back to the hotel – just a 5-1o minute walk but shuttle buses are also available. When we arrived back from our holiday when we left the car park, we just had to give the Novotel booking reference and they opened the barrier for us and off we went – very straightforward!

Rooms – the photos on their website are very accurate – clean, simple, modern rooms – comfy bed, fridge, TV, kettle etc. We requested a cot and had one, lovely bathroom – all in all, very good! Bearing in mind it’s so close to the airport, we couldn’t hear any aeroplanes – the soundproofing is excellent, as are the blinds – nice and dark!

Bar/restaurant – they have both a bar serving food, and a restaurant. The bar area is lovely – again, modern, spacious, comfortable with TV’s and newspapers there too. As we were having an early dinner, we chose to eat in the bar and the food was ok – nothing special – I had a curry which was tasty but a bit watery. I’m sure the restaurant quality would be a bit better but also as you’re just a minute away from the airport you could stroll over to eat in All bar one or Frankie & Benny’s there.

The only photo I have of Novotel Birmingham airport- baby W tottering around the bar area - he had just started walking!
The only photo I have of Novotel Birmingham airport- baby W tottering around the bar area – he had just started walking!

Other facilities – the other thing I wanted to mention as we were travelling with a little one, is that tucked away around the corner from reception, they have a little play area! There’s a table with interactive games built in, a toy chest and book corner – I thought this was a really nice idea, and lovely touch – not sure if I’ve ever noticed anything like this in a hotel before (not that we’ve stayed in many with Baby W)

Location – as already said, it’s a 1 minute walk from the airport hotel – I don’t think you could get any closer to an airport!

Value for money – I think our package cost about £150 – I think a room only is about £60-£70. Having paid for numerous airport hotels, and parking deals – often separately, I think this deal represents good value for money – overall it’s a really lovely hotel and the location of both the hotel and the car park being on the airport makes life so much easier.

So thank you Novotel for a very family-friendly, good quality and value stay – we will be back!! (PS Readers – sorry for the lack of photos, writing this review was a bit of an after-thought!)

Small print – please note I wasn’t asked to write this review, and certainly didn’t get a free stay – just wanted to share our experience with you!

Baby W and mummy’s 13 month update

I have 2 dilemmas – now that baby W is over a year old, should I be calling him toddler W?! It doesn’t have the same ring to it…. the other dilemma, well I was wondering whether to carry on with these monthly updates after a year but he’s developed loads in the last month so yes I will carry on haha!

New developments

  • So I told you the day after his birthday, he took a few steps – well a month later and he is proper walking, a lot! The last week has been so much fun watching him, we all get so excited!!!
  • He’s tries to use his fork and spoon now – I haven’t been trying to teach him this so not sure if he’s got it from copying me, or whether it’s something he’s picked up from the childminder… either way, it’s very cute and grown-up but it does mean he’s eating less food as not much food is making it on the full journey from table to cutlery to mouth!
  • He brushes his own teeth now! (with a little help from mummy/daddy)
  • I should have stuck with baby signing – I hardly do any with him now but the one baby sign he has learnt over the last month or so is ‘all gone’ – so he loves dropping things (especially food) and then looking at me with his big eyes and opens hands to an ‘all gone’ gesture! the cheeky little monkey 😉
  • He knows which buttons to press on the remote control to turn the TV on!!
  • If I’m in the room with him and the TV isn’t on, he hands me the remote for me to switch it on (both signs that we watch way too much background TV!!)
  • A few days ago he pointed at me through the window and said ‘mama‘ – melted my heart!
  • Blows on hot food with a ‘frrrr‘ sound, again copying what I do!
  • He can climb up to, and get on, the sofa – eek!
Watching TV while walking!
Watching TV while walking!

So yeah it’s been a busy month!

Jabs, health, routine etc

Baby W had his 1 year jabs and then a week later seemed to suffer from side-effects including a rash – but it co-incided with teething with his first canine (tooth #9) trying to come through – so we all had a tough few days, poor thing!

Other than that, all good – still not had him weighed.  He’s outgrowing most of his 9-12 month clothes, but everything 12-18 months seems massive on him!

He’s still on milk first thing and last thing every day, and we’ve got into a bad habit at home of giving him milk with his naps.

It’s funny, he’s dropped his afternoon naps at the childminders, and yet on the Fridays he’s at home with me, he has 2 really long naps – I think she tires him out and then Friday is his chill-out day!

Apart from the teething, still a trooper at sleeping through from about 6pm to 6am (sometimes a bit earlier, but can’t really complain!)

Making a right mess in the library!
Making a right mess in the library!

Other news

This momma was fortunate enough to go on a fab hen weekend a few weeks ago, 18 girls in one HUGE house called New Yatt farm in Oxfordshire – check it out here, it was amazing! 2 nights in with good friends, lots of booze… and a hunk in trunks.. and we went punting and disco dancing, it was ace – just what the doctor ordered although I was absolutely drained the week before and after – really need our holiday now!


In other news we need to find a new childminder as ours is moving out of the area – gutted 😦

Thanks for calling by, see you same time next month! xx

Baby W’s holiday wardrobe

I am very excited… we are taking baby W for his first foreign holiday soon…. and as if that wasn’t exciting enough, I went a bit mad buying a whole new wardrobe for him for the occasion… I know you love my haul posts so here we go…. starting with Tesco where the T-shirts were all £3-£4 (some of these are now in the sale!)

T-shirt and shorts from Tesco
T-shirt and long shorts from Tesco (£8 for a 2-pack)
Tesco t-shirt, pack of 3 shorts from Mothercare (£8)
Tesco t-shirt, pack of 3 shorts from Mothercare (£8)
Tesco t-shirt and shorts
Tesco t-shirt and shorts
Tesco t-shirt and shorts (shorts were £5 for a 2-pack)
Tesco t-shirt and shorts (shorts were £5 for a 2-pack)
Tesco swimming shorts (£8 for 2-pack)
Tesco swimming shorts (£8 for 2-pack)

Love these from Tesco – the hooded towel was £7, the pirate swimsuit was £10…

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I found some unworn shorts that either came from hand-me-downs or an NCT sale, they’re a bit snug on him but might come in handy… his daddy has very similar combat ones so I want to see them wearing them the same day 😉

holiday shorts
holiday shorts

As I started packing (never had to start packing so early, but needs must with a baby to pack for!!) I realised we had plenty of shorts (2 pairs per day!) but I needed some more T-shirts, so picked these up in Asda…

Asda t-shirts £3-£4
Asda t-shirts £3-£4

And treated him to some t-shirts from Next too…. these were £6 each but worth it 😉

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£10 for 2 t-shirt pack at Next
£10 for 2 t-shirt pack at Next

I was back in Tesco today and they have a sale on so I couldn’t resist this bargain for £1.50…

£1.50 T-shirt from Tesco!

And you’ll know from my last haul that I’m in love with the Jools Oliver Littlebird range at Mothercare so I *had* to get this T-shirt…

little bird t-shirt
little bird t-shirt (shorts from mothercare)

And Little bird brings me on to my 2 favourite items… I can not wait to dress him in these!!…

Little bird towelling romper (£10)
Little bird towelling romper (£10)
Nemo swimsuit from Tesco (£10)
Nemo swimsuit from Tesco (£10)

I’ve also bought him new packs of vests and sleepsuits, I’m sure I’ll write a post when we’re back on what we packed vs what you actually need to take! Hope you liked seeing his holiday clothes 🙂

9 things you can do with outgrown baby clothes

What did you do with your baby’s clothes once they’d grown out of them? Here’s some ideas in case you don’t know what to do with them!

what to do with outgrown baby clothes...
what to do with outgrown baby clothes…

1. Keep them for baby no.2 and/or sentimental reasons – I’ve kept a few bags of my favourite items for baby no.2 – and if we don’t have baby no.2 then I will probably keep most of them for sentimental purposes – will be funny to look at them in a few years time when baby W is all grown-up! I haven’t kept all of baby W’s clothes as we don’t have the space, and some were so cheap we will just top-up for baby no.2

2. Turn your favourite items into a keepsake – we haven’t done this yet but we will at some point as I love the idea- you can turn their favourite babygrows into a keepsake – like a lion or elephant! They cost  £25 and the same lady also does blankets (from £60) and cushions (£35)

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Check them out for yourself: (Photos are taken from their website)

I’ve also seen yummy crafty mummies change babygrows into bunting – I love this idea too but I am not crafty so luckily – I’m sure you could pay someone to do it for you 🙂

3. Pass them on to family/friends – we were lucky to benefit from lots of hand-me-downs, I haven’t really had anyone to pass mine on to apart from a couple of nice items I’ve given to colleagues…. if you have anyone to pass yours on to, you’ll be saving them a potential small fortune 🙂

4. Donate them to your local maternity ward – when I was wondering what to do with the load of newborn/0-3 month babygrows and hats we had, colleague and fellow blogger Emily suggested this idea to me. As her twins had spent some time in special care, she’d unfortunately seen other babies who didn’t have anything to wear 😦 I’ve also heard that, in special care, the hospital supplies the clothes (maybe due to infection risk??), either way when I donated a couple of bags worth, they were delighted to receive them 🙂

5. Donate them to a ‘mother and baby’ hostel – another way I tried to help mummies in need in the area was by donating a load of our 3-9 month old clothes to a local hostel, along with some of my clothes and some nappies we’d grown out of. Again, they were really thankful as a lot of these women are young mums who have had really tough lives…. so maybe see if there’s one in your local area you can donate to?

6. Donate them to schemes like NCT – some NCT groups run a ‘baby bundle’ scheme where they give mums in need a pack of baby clothes made up from donations. High street store JoJo MamanLeBeBe were doing something similar with Barnado’s but I think that scheme is finished now.

7. Donate them to a charity shop – if numbers 4-6 are too much hassle but you still want to pass them on to someone who’s more in need then you, then dropping them off at a charity shop makes for an easy option! Some will even pick them up from your house (watch out for bogus charities doing that though!) Again, I’m sure charities will be very thankful for your donations, but I preferred doing 4/5/6 so I knew they were going directly to someone in need, whereas a lot of charity shop goodies are snaffled up by pro-eBay sellers and sold on. (Still great for the charity of course!)

8. Sell them! Now, I haven’t tried this – way too much effort for me as most of the stuff that could have raised a few quid I’ve saved (see #1) but obviously if you want to make some money (or recoup the money you spent!!) then there are loads of ways of doing this like selling them individually or in bundles on eBay, local Facebook buying and selling groups, NCT nearly new sales, car boot sales etc.

One of my favourite bloggers, Tinyfootsteps, wrote some tips for selling baby clothes that you might find handy 🙂

9. Exchange them for H&M vouchers! Apart from all the charitable donations, this has to be my favourite tip… if you take a shopping bag’s worth of clothes into H&M, they will give you a £5 voucher to spend in-store! If you read my tips for new parents, you’ll know that rain gets out stains – but for the ripped/stained/bobbly-beyond repair stuff that would be no good for tips 1-8 above, then take them to H&M!

They don’t check what’s in the bag, and even if they did I don’t think they’d care – whatever can’t be donated or re-used is recycled – read more about it here – I think it’s an excellent scheme as I hate the thought of any clothes (especially baby clothes!) ending up in landfill!

And I guess that was the aim of this post – I hate the thought of this stuff going to landfill, especially when there are probably some women in your area who would really appreciate your help! I hope this has inspired you to make a difference – if you found it useful, please share it on Facebook/Twitter, thanks!

Linking up with #KCACOLS