11 reasons to visit Thailand (and some of my Thai memories)

If you’re a regular reader you might know that I LOVE travelling.

Phi phi Thailand

I did a fair bit of independent travelling on my own, then with my OH before we had the boys… those long-haul holidays to exotic climes are on hold for a couple of years til the boys are a bit older but it’s nice to reminisce….

In total I’ve probably spent about 2 months in Thailand, it’s an amazing holiday/travel destination and I can’t wait to take the boys there when they’re old enough to appreciate it…. why do I love it?….

  1. Culture – it’s mostly a Buddhist nation… with temples and Buddhas on every corner… some very grand, some more modest. You’ll see Buddhist monks walking around in their robes and if you speak to some of the locals you’ll learn bits about their positive approach to life (and death!)Grand palace Bangkok
  2. Food – it’s amazing, the curries, the noodles and pad Thais, the fresh fruit…. it took me a while to build up the courage to try the street food but you MUST try it… it’s how the locals eat (many city dwellers don’t have a kitchen!) and for a couple of quid you can eat like a king!
  3. Beers – Singha and Chang: both delicious in Thailand’s humid climate! There were always rumours going round that Chang’s alcohol content wasn’t very accurate which was used to explain many a drunken night and hangover!
  4. Beaches – you can’t mention Thailand without mentioning the beaches… I’ve been to a few including some on Koh Samui and Phi Phi but one of my favourites has to be Haat Rin where they hold the legendary Full Moon Parties – for one night a month it’s carnage, the rest of the time it’s paradise… the other beaches on Koh Pangan are too!Sunrise haat rin beach
  5. Finding your own paradise – there are so many beaches and destinations, it’s really hard to choose where to go but the beauty of Thailand is you can just follow your heart and find the most amazing place for you! I loved Pai, a very hippie-ish town a few hours away of Chiangmai and also Koh Chang which was one the less-developed parts I went to… where we hung out with locals, saw fluorescent phosphorus in the sea, slept in huts for less than a pound a night and had some adventures on moped!
  6. Adventures – I went on an amazing 2 day white-water rafting trip in Northern Thailand. We spent the night sleeping in the jungle and saw a cobra swimming across the river! If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the diving and snorkelling is world-renowned and there’s lots of other things to do… zip wiring, treks, boat trips Thai boxing, cookery etc
  7. Wildlife – amazing place to see exotic creatures like monkeys and elephants in their natural environment. Avoid elephant rides, taking photos with monkeys, tigers etc… if you want to support animal welfare you can spend time volunteering at elephant and/or monkey rescue centresWater buffalo Thailand
  8. Transport – for such a big country, it’s easy to get around between the main touristy destinations. Overnight train sleepers are a great adventure, overnight bus services are surprisingly comfy and internal flights with companies like AirAsia are brilliant – low-budget but good quality! Oh and quite often your journey might involve a boat ride too… bliss! We actually chartered our own fisherman’s boat in Phi Phi!Fishermans boat Thailand
  9. Laid-back pace of life – it is so relaxed compared to British life! Generally people seem happier, more relaxed and happy with their lot. Their relaxed approach can infuriate Westerners especially on long journeys on budget buses where you get dropped off at roadside cafes for an undetermined amount of time…. #memories
  10. Nightlife – I’ve already mentioned beers and food… there is nightlife to suit everyone in this nation… beach bars, beach parties, live music bars, reggae bars, nightclubs and beautiful rooftop cocktail bars in Bangkok.
  11. Budget – I’ve alluded to it already but it can be a cheap place to travel/holiday. As well as slumming it in budget beach huts and guest houses, I did stay in some lovely hotels in Bangkok which had rooftop swimming pools and cost peanuts compared to hotels in the U.K. I’m really looking forward to taking my OH and our boys to explore Thailand in a few years time, can not wait already!
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REVIEW: Bristol airport parking – is parking on-site better than off-site?!

Years ago, when booking airport parking I’d happily book the cheapest deal available – which meant parking miles away from Heathrow and Birmingham and getting bussed in, all adding quite a bit of time to our journey. The funniest off-site parking we did was when a friend booked us parking at a mushroom packing factory near Bristol airport – their minibus was running late so they dropped us off at the airport in a pick-up truck!!

For my recent child-free break to Marrakesh, I wanted everything to be as stress-free as possible, so wanted to park on-site at Bristol airport….

When I got there, it was pretty busy but I did find a space after a few minutes…. after that, what a bloomin’ treat – I could literally see the terminal and walk toย it within minutes! (there’s even a bus if you’re at the far end/don’t want to walk)

 

Bristol airport
How close the terminal is to the car park!
Bristol airport car park
Lovely blossom tree overlooking the car park

Continue reading “REVIEW: Bristol airport parking – is parking on-site better than off-site?!”

REVIEW: Sensimar Medina Gardens hotel, Marrakech

On my 4 night break in Marrakesh, I stayed in the lovely Medina Gardens hotel…

Lobby, indoor public areas etc

It has a nice feel to it from arrival, the outside is full of plants and flowers and as you walk into the lobby you see beautiful Moroccan details like light fittings, tiles etc.

Moroccan light
Moroccan light

Continue reading “REVIEW: Sensimar Medina Gardens hotel, Marrakech”

4 days and nights in Marrakesh (child-free!)

I’m not long back from a wonderful few days away in the amazing Marrakesh – I had to share it with you, it was such a nice break! I’d visited once before, for a night, about 10 years ago and it was great to go back and explore it some more… and do a lot of chilling….

Continue reading “4 days and nights in Marrakesh (child-free!)”

Why I love travelling soloย 

I’m sitting on a plane in my way to 4 child-free days in Marrakesh with my sister and her friend… can not wait!


I love travelling alone. 8 years ago I went backpacking by myself around South East Asia and Australia. It was such a big adventure. It seemed like a huge challenge at the time.
Nowadays as most of our travel is with the boys, and UK-based, a trip on a plane is a real treat… 
It’s the sense of anticipation. For your own journey… but also for everyone else’s. Where’s everyone going? What are their stories?
Always such a mix of people, I love wondering where the journey is taking them. For me, a plane ride usually involves a holiday… ideally a different culture to try out… delicious foods, thirst-quenching beers, amazing architecture, a chance to chill, take it all in…. breathe.
I feel like travel is a huge privilege that everyone should want to try. I’m always a bit baffled by people who don’t want to travel. Or who can’t travel on their own. 
But likewise plenty of people think I’m strange for having travelled by myself!


I love the feeling of independence that comes with flying/travelling on my own. I had some lonely days on my backpacking days but I also made some friends for life.
I love the excitement of new places, new cities to explore. 
I love airports, even when they’re rubbish and I hate them… I still love them…. again, it’s the people, the journeys. Oh the nights I’ve spent sleeping in airports… Kuala Lumpur… staying up all night drinking in airports waiting for early morning flights… Hong Kong… Bangkok.
I’m excited to have quality time with sis when I get to morocco but I’m enjoying these precious hours on the flight – very rarely do I have time to myself like this. Time for my book and a glass of prosecco ๐Ÿ™‚

And now I’ve landed… and in the world’s longest queue… happy days ๐Ÿ™‚

Bluestone: what’s new for families with toddlers for 2017?

We just had an AMAZING weekend in Bluestone. It was our fourth holiday there, and our first holiday with another family….. and the sun shone all weekend…. we couldn’t have picked a better weekend weather-wise!

Bluestone lake
I just wanted to share some new things with you….

A new outdoor play area Continue reading “Bluestone: what’s new for families with toddlers for 2017?”

Center Parcs vs Bluestone: which is best for families with toddlers and babies?

We’ve just come back from a break in Center parcs, Longleat – our first time there with a toddler and baby. As we’ve been there twice, and Bluestone three times… I thought compare them both for you…

Center parcs vs Bluestone with toddler and baby
Location, terrain, getting around Continue reading “Center Parcs vs Bluestone: which is best for families with toddlers and babies?”

Bluestone: Our first holiday as a family of four and 5 more things for toddlers to do there!

We had our first holiday as a family of four to Bluestone a couple of weeks ago, it’s the third time we’ve been and we love it…. especially toddler W!

Sunset from our lodge

Continue reading “Bluestone: Our first holiday as a family of four and 5 more things for toddlers to do there!”

Making memories with W at Cardiff Bay and Forest Farm

A couple of weekends ago, I made some lovely memories with W, half thinking it might be our last weekend pre-baby. (It wasn’t!)

On the Friday morning we headed to Cardiff Bay, and as it was half term my sister (a teacher) was able to join us…

As we were there nice and early (9? 10?) it was lovely and quiet, felt like we had the place to ourselves in the sunny weather…

As soon as we got there W found an abandoned balloon, which created lots of fun for him chasing it and losing it (it didn’t have a stick/string) so was a challenge to keep hold of ๐Ÿ˜‰ 


We walked towards the play area on the Cardiff Bay barrage…. 

W enjoyed trying to climb over the fence at the Captain Scott memorial (PS when did they put a fence around this?! And why?!)

We stopped for a coffee at the very cool ‘Coffi co’ which has an outdoor seating area which is pretty much enclosed and full of benches and deckchairs. This was lovely…. Sis and I got to catch up over a nice coffee in the sun while W could safely play with his cars and transport them from one deckchair to the other… This is the life!

As it was taking us ages to walk anywhere with me being heavily pregnant, and W trying to carry his balloon, we gave up on the plan to walk down the barrage and took him to the little play area behind the Norwegian Church instead. 

We had fun playing with him, but the funniest bit was when he hid behind a bin. Sis thought he was playing hide and seek but I knew…. He was having a poo! 
(He’s not potty/toilet trained yet but for a while now he leaves the room/hides if we’re out when he needs a poo!)


On the way back meandering through the bay, he took lots of opportunities to climb up onto the railings (one of his fave sayings at the mo is ‘climbing trees’ whenever he’s climbing up/across something… No idea where he’s picked up that saying from!) 

He was as chuffed as always to see some ‘quack quacks’ on the water’s edge, so much so that he fed them all of his crisps bless him!

Then it was lunchtime, and we decided to try Bill’s as I’d heard it was child-friendly… As it was sunny we sat outside and luckily there was a water feature nearby that he could play in while we waited for the food. He was mostly well-behaved, ate some of his macaroni cheese and our sweet potato fries (must make these at home for him!) and enjoyed playing with the crayons/colouring in book they lent him ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it was most definitely home/nap time (we won’t write about the tantrum he had ;)) 

That night, my OH was out at the cricket (sis and I watched ‘train wreck’.. V good!) so Saturday morning I gave his delicate head a lie-in and took W to a wildlife day at Forest farm

We were a teeny bit early for the event and so were busy throwing stones into the pond….


…then the event organisers (inc RSPB and Cardiff council park rangers) came to do some pond dipping (at which point I was worried that W had scared everything away with his stone throwing!!) 

This was cool, we saw lots of tadpoles which W called ‘fishies’ (I don’t think he understood the concept of them being baby frogs!) and watched a couple of those tadpoles get killed by insects! 


We then had a walk around the meadow looking at all the ‘yellow flowers’ and ‘daisies’ 


It was a lovely little event and I’d definitely take him again. From here we drove a couple of minutes up the road to see ‘quack quacks’ and kingfishers at the old Glamorgan canal but by then he was grouchy so we headed home.

It was nice to have some quality time with him. Since then I’ve had less energy as bump has grown, and the weather has been more naff!

He’ll always me my special, first-born, gorgeous, adventurous, fun-loving son. I love you W! Xxx 

Cardiff’s bluebell woods (Wenallt): an early morning walk with W

I meant to post this 2 weeks ago when we visited the Wenallt (a bit behind with blogging sorry!) But hopefully you can still catch the bluebells if you visit this week!

cardiffs bluebell  woods
cardiffs bluebell woods

Usually on weekends, I’m the one who gets up with W when he wakes up, around the 6-6.30 mark. I don’t really mind, especially now I’m heavily pregnant and struggling to sleep/lie-in!

Usually we’ll spend a couple of hours pottering in the living room, him watching cartoons, me half asleep playing on my phone, trying to stay quiet so dadda gets a good few hours lie-in.

What I prefer is being able to get out and about early… I’ve previously blogged about wanting things like soft play to be open earlier… But now the mornings are lighter and the weather’s much improved then what better than a walk in the woods!? 

toddler W exploring bluebell woods
toddler W exploring bluebell woods

So at 8am on a sunny morning we headed over to spot magical bluebells… Through Rhiwbina, turning off at the Deri Arms up Wenallt road until we came across a car park leading into the woods.

W headed straight into the bluebells which was great for some nice photos but I was a bit worried about him trampling all over them! It really was a lovely, magical sight… And at that time of the morning we pretty much had the place to ourselves

wenallt woods, rhiwbina, cardiff
wenallt woods, rhiwbina, cardiff

We then took a long walk around the woods and created some magical memories….

  • W stopping to play at every brook/stream we came across, dipping sticks into the water and wiping them on stones
  • Hearing woodpeckers!
  • W chatting to all the dogs (lots of dog walkers up there!) and one was so friendly that W could feed him biscuits and play fetch with him!
  • W picking up lots of sticks… All called ‘stick man’

Of course, it was soon back to reality… A heavily pregnant me had to carry him (uphill) back to the car when he got tired…. By then the car park was full and so our special moment of having the woods to ourselves was gone… He was grouchy for the 15 minute journey home… And when we got home past 10am dadda was still in bed!!!

Seriously… magical though, it’s so close to the city yet so peaceful…. So good for the soul… Especially on an early morning Sunday!

Oh and I forgot to mention… Parking is free: bonus! Huge thanks to colleague and fellow blogger twinmummyanddaddy for letting me know about the place months ago! Xx