3 nights in lovely, sunny Lisbon

A few weeks ago I had a lovely girly weekend in Lisbon, Portugal. Here’s a little montage and then I’ll give you some tips πŸ™‚

  • We actually think our weekend in Lisbon was cheaper than a lot of UK breaks! Through the fab ‘flight-checker‘ tool we found flights for Β£50! (Easyjet, Bristol, Thurs-sun) and then via AirBnB found a gorgeous flat in a great location for Β£60 each… Bargain so far! (Oh and airport parking was Β£40)
  • I’m rubbish at working out exchange rates but all you need to know is that it’s good at the mo… So your British pound goes a long way against the Euro! That, combined with low prices for great food and drink, meant we could eat like Queens… Eg a full and fresh sea bass for lunch for 9euros (Β£6-7!)
  • As if low prices wasn’t enough of a temptation… Portugal is famous for its shoe making skills and there’s a shoe shop on every corner….
  • With that in mind, take a big enough piece of hand luggage with you otherwise you’ll have to do what I did and buy a new suitcase for the two pairs of boots that I bought!
  • What we loved most about Lisbon was the miles of mooching around the city centre and surrounding areas…. Soak in the pretty buildings and trams, stop for some shopping, stop for a pastry and drink… And repeat!
  • So don’t bother with the double-decker bus tours, you really won’t miss much… Our few hours in Belem was nice but prob much quicker to get a train there!
  • The views from the Skybar in hotel Tivoli are worth seeing… But don’t take a long walk there without making sure that it’s open (only open in the summer!) doh!
  • The Park bar is worth a visit to catch great views of the sunset… It’s a really cool open top bar on top of a car park, too busy for us to get a drink but worth it for the views!
  • If you can get into your appartment, try turning the key left instead of right πŸ™‚
  • If you want to pick up some tacky souvenirs be sure to get them in the city… The airport has a cute shop and a McD’s… But no tat!
  • Enjoy… And have a nata pastry (or 10) for me….
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Nata nata nata nata… Batman!
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Toddler W’s 18 month update


Forgive me readers, I haven’t written one of these updates for a few months now but last week our big boy hit his 18 month milestone πŸ™‚

Vital statsΒ 

The health visitor came to do a home visit to check in on him, first time we’d seen her in a year! She was very happy with his progress as he was babbling away to her and trying to share his toys with her!

He weighed 26lbs/11kg which puts him in the 75th percentile which I was quite surprised about as he seems so small to me, compared to others of his age! We wanted to measure his height but surprise surprise he wouldn’t stand still for it!

His shoe size is now 5G… And I think he has 16 teeth… Only 4 to go til teething is behind us!!

Nappies: size 5

Clothes: 12-18 months, some things are getting a bit tight so will start getting the next size up now

Routine: wakes 6am ish, breakfast an hour or so later, snacks/meals every couple of hours… Still naps for 2 hours (bliss!!) from 12-2….. Dinner at 5, bath at 6, in bed by 7….. The only bottle of milk he has is before bed…. 9 times out of 10 he sleeps through πŸ™‚

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Health

Well after a run of very good health apart from teething and the odd cold, we were hit hard last week by a bout of croup… When a cough had turned into a bark and he was struggling to breathe at 2am we phoned NHS direct and they phoned an ambulance so we had our first trip to A&E!

They gave him steroids which started working pretty quickly, we were home a couple of hours later and he was fully back to normal within a few days… Phew!

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Development

As you know, he’s been running around for many months so the most recent developments have been his language… He babbles a lot, enjoys conversations, understands a lot of instructions (eg if you ask him to fetch something, or put something away) and knows about 10 words… Mama, dada, puss, banana, go, car, yeah, ummm, no, bye… And his favourite word… More! (Need to teach him some Welsh words now :))

He’s showing signs of knowing when he’s peeing, I mentioned it to the health visitor who said we could potty training but if you start this early it can take longer…. So I think we’ll wait a while!

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Personality

He’s still very much the fearless, independent, confident little boy he’s always been. Not much phases him, fine with big crowds, goes straight up to dogs (aaargghh!) and jumps off anything (aaargghh!)!

He’s always on the go, very rarely sits still. I’m always in amazement when parents with similar aged toddlers post photos on their Facebook of them snuggled on the sofa watching a movie… Never happens in this house!!

He’s usually happy and loves life but my God has he also started having tantrums, which can include head butting walls/floors etc! Managing those is our current parenting challenge πŸ™‚

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Loves

Stories at bedtime… Julia Donaldson books among others

fave TV show: Bananas in Pyjamas

fave food: still cheesy pasta, also loves fish fingers and beans

fave snack: banana

fave cuddly toy: tigger

He loves being outdoors and we were blessed with beautiful autumnal weather over the last few months… So lots of trips to the park etc… Shame winter is now here 😦

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12 things to do in and around Bluestone resort with your toddler

We recently spent 7 nights at the lovely Bluestone resortΒ with our 17 month old. If you’re heading there with your toddler here’s some of the things you can get up to…

1 – Swim/paddle in the Blue Lagoon

Staying at Bluestone gives you free entry to their swimming pool complex, the blue lagoon. Most mornings we tried to head there for the 9am opening, and W loved it. He would wander as far into the main pool as he could, and then keep running back to the toddler pool where he could steer his ship and explore the ‘rock pools’ – brilliant place, and nice spacious family changing areas too!

2 – Circus soft play

W loved this too, a big playroom in the Adventure centre. Plenty to keep them occupied from a push along train/roller coaster thing, to bubbles, to little teepees, really great and again free to use!
The Circus at Bluestone

3 – the rest of the Adventure centre

We didn’t really use this as much as it’s better for slightly older kids, but your toddler could use the softplay on the ground floor too, ball pools and a bouncy castle!

4 – throw stones into the stream down at Camp Smokey

This is an outdoor eating place in a little valley, but we actually wondered down there for a walk when it was closed so eerily had the place to ourselves… And precious memories were made with dad showing W how to throw stones into the stream… So cute!

Throwing stones at Smokey Joe's

5 – a dinner show at the Wild wood cafe

We loved this, we paid about Β£20? Β£25? for the ‘shelby snail’ dinner which involved a lovely fairy telling stories, a platter of food and a chance to meet, and have photos with, the character of the show which in our case was Shelby snail! And we loved that it was an early dinner… Running from 4.30-6pm with food brought out about 5.15 – perfect for us!

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6 – eat out at the Farmhouse Grill or Knight’s tavern

We had a meal at the pub, the Knights tavern, which was ok but we much preferred the Farmhouse grill. We had the Sunday carvery there and a mid-week dinner, the food and service was great both times with 2 added bonuses for toddlers.. A fab little indoor play area, and they start serving dinner at 4.30pm!

Tenby half lobster at the farmhouse grill
Tenby half lobster at the farmhouse grill

7 – Book them into the crΓ¨che

We used the creche a couple of times and found it great, good staff and facilities, when we went to pick W up he was having a whale of a time! It cost Β£24 for 3 hours and seems to be on every few days.

8 – go to the Spa while they’re in the creche!

The spa is fab… A big outdoor jacuzzi, 2 saunas, 2 steam rooms, a salt room, and an ice room. Very relaxing πŸ™‚

9 – try one of the toddler classes

We went to a toddler sensory class, which was Β£7 for an hour. Half an hour of that is ‘free play’ in the free-to-use circus room which I thought was a bit cheeky… The second half was fun though, singing and dancing (the adults… While all the toddlers were running off in all directions!)

They run a few messy play sessions that we missed, would like to check them out next time!

10 – Carew inn

Just a few miles away from Bluestone, we stumbled upon a lovely pub called the Carew inn. Good food, good value, and lovely, helpful staff… Oh and it has this fab outdoor play area….

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11 – Carew castle

Just across the road from the pub is a beautiful, derelict castle. Entry was Β£5 each per adult and W loved running around these magical, eerie grounds with lovely views across an estuary.

Carew castle
Carew castle

12 – a day trip to Tenby

We went to Tenby a couple of times during our week there, I hadn’t been for a few years and had forgotten how lovely it is (especially off-peak!)

We found a cute little park overlooking South Beach (the park with best views ever!) and had a nice cuppa tea in the lovely cafe/bar/restaurant on South beach… after a run around on the sand!

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Hope you find this useful if you’re heading to Bluestone… If you’ve already been, what did you and your toddler get up to?!

Small print: unlike most bloggers, I paid for our trip to Bluestone and opinions are my own πŸ™‚