Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: May 2014

Friday, 30 May 2014

One word - joy (aged 8 and in Paris!)

One word - joy. I took this picture of my son in Paris and remember being thrilled to capture the sheer happiness on his face. We were on a Bateau Mouche (the best part of our trip to the French capital) and each time we approached a bridge, Robert would run up and down the boat with an expression of utter joy. It was magical, though you can probably see that.

This post is part of Tara Cain's photo Gallery, where bloggers share their pictures. When I saw that the theme was one word, this photo immediately came to mind. Pop over there to see more pictures.

More from Paris:

Robert writes about parks in Paris

Watch our (very shaky) video of our trip to Paris


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

What We Like To Do On A Hot Sunny Day - Video Post

Our favourite way to spend a sunny day OUTDOORS is: well, there are just too many to choose from! But this is the kind of thing we would like to do if we were allowed to (oh, and if we lived near the sea!)

Rob: My favourite way would be meeting my friends. First, we would go and get ice-lollies and then, using our scooters and bikes, we would ride to the park and play basketball and tennis. After that, we would find a pier, although there aren't many near us! My friends and I would play on the beach for a bit then we would go to the pier and buy things from the shops. And then we would go to the ARCADE! All of us would go right at the front of the scariest rides like the ghost train, roller-coasters and ones that go upside down. Knowing us, we might even spend about £20 doing the games…
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Friday, 23 May 2014

How I learnt to drive (by Jess, aged 12)

As I am only 12 years old, I didn't expect to find myself driving a car until I was at least 17. However, this didn't turn out to be the case...

A few weeks ago, I spent a fantastic afternoon learning to drive in a real car on top of Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North London. I learnt this with a company called Young Driver and here's what I did.

I had my first taste of sitting behind the wheel on the top-floor car park of Brent Cross, and was instantly struck by how much space there was. There was a bridge, lamp-posts and obviously, loads of flat spaces to drive around, meaning that there was something for all levels of drivers.

In my 60 minute lesson, I learnt to start and stop my car, move away, change gears and steer. In the car, there were two pairs of controls for my feet - one for me and one for my instructor, Mike. I had control of the steering wheel, but he could easily reach over me and change the direction in which the car was going (just in case he needed to!)

Mike was really helpful and he taught me a lot. Although I was absolutely terrible at braking, he managed to A) keep a straight face B) not have a heart attack and C) help me improve. We had a very interesting discussion and he make my experience even more special.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The London Dungeon by Robert

I just turned 9! To celebrate me, dad and three friends were lucky enough to go to the London Dungeon

Me and my friends were creeped out from the moment we stepped inside. The rooms were made of old rocks and there were big holes in the walls. Fake blood was spread on the floor. There were cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and when I walked past an old door, it began to shake and the lock started to rattle. The Dungeon was busy, but it was fine because the staff split us into small groups. In each room a new person (all dressed up) would tell us about their point in history, usually involving explosions, drops, moving chairs or fake poo.

My favourite bits were:

Jack the Ripper. I walked into The Ten Bells Pub, happy to have a rest and sit down. I wasn't happy for long because soon enough Jack the Ripper was standing right in front of me with a bloody knife. That really surprised me and my friend. I admit that I was a bit scared.

Henry's Wrath boat ride. The boat ride was my favourite part of the London Dungeon because :

  • It was really loud
  • It was in pitch black
  • The boat went backwards
  • I got really wet

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Friday, 9 May 2014

The Gallery - Faces

This is the first time I've linked up with Tara's Gallery, but when I saw the theme was Faces, I knew the picture I wanted to include.

This is my son, who shared his birthday party in April, with his grandpa (my dad). Their birthdays are just eight days apart, so it seemed a good idea. And of course, I'm in the picture too.

I just love it, the faces of three generations looking so, genuinely, happy. A special photograph indeed, and of two of my favourite people.

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Guest post: visiting the Great Barrier Reef with kids

The touchtank on a reef pontoon
We're so excited to be part of an International Blog Swap Day organised by Tots100, and we are also feeling very lucky to introduce someone from the other side of the world to Family Travel Times.

Danielle runs Bubs on the Move which is a gorgeous family travel blog. She lives in Melbourne and has three of the cutest children you will ever see! Here is her post on visiting the Great Barrier Reef. We've never been, but we'd love to as she makes it sound truly magical.

Over to Danielle:

Thanks so much to Sarah for hosting me for an international blog swap.  One of the best things about being a travel blogger is getting inspiration from other blogger’s travels and insights of home.  After sticky-beaking on Sarah’s family travels I can’t wait for my newborn to be old enough to contemplate a European adventure of our own.

We spent five years living in paradise. Cairns, in tropical north Queensland is gorgeous.  For play-dates we would meet other families on palm-fringed beaches. Day trips with the kids often involved swimming in rainforest waterholes or visiting nearby islands. We recently left Cairns for colder Melbourne and as winter approaches I’m starting to miss it dreadfully.

While living in Cairns we visited the Great Barrier Reef often with our two young sons.  The kids loved it and so did we. What surprised me though was that most of the visitors we met who also had young kids gave the Great Barrier Reef a miss.  Many thought it was too hard, and off limits to all but the footless and fancy free.  I admit that when we first moved to Cairns I had similar misgivings about exploring the reef with my kids.

Stretching almost 3000 kilometres and running nearly parallel to the Queensland Coast, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world.  Travellers can access the reef at its southernmost end from Bundaberg, all the way north up to the Cape York Peninsula.  The reef presents visitors to Queensland with the opportunity to engage with a unique and beautiful ecosystem and abundant wildlife.  Sea turtles, giant clams, brilliantly colored coral and innumerable tropical fish are on view for those that look beneath the ocean’s surface.

Admittedly there are some constraints- unless you have a babysitter, a scuba diving holiday with young kids is impossible.  There are so many other ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef though with kids – ways that are loads of fun for parents, and that give kids a valuable insight into nature and the wild. Here some of them:

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

What should the kids take on holiday? Here's an Jess and Robert

Our Fun Packs
It's always tricky to know what to pack to take on holiday, not least when you have children. It's particularly difficult when you have all the paraphernalia of a small child, but while you can dispense with buggies and nappy bags as the kids grow up, these get replaced with masses of toys and books. Often (as I know to my chagrin after schlepping heavy bags on train, plane and car), much of the stuff taken on trips doesn't get used. What's a parent to do?

These real-life experiences meant that luxury hotel company Original Travel's new tie-up with Sharky and George immediately caught my eye. Their aim is for children to have a great holiday experience (something we all know means that the adults are likely to have a great time too), providing what they describe as "stimulating fun and educational adventures" for your kids

They're doing this in a variety of ways (see the website for more information) and the one which attracted us was the introduction of some holiday fun packs, tailored to each individual child. Jess and Robert decided to check them out on your behalf. The bags are intended for the whole trip, not just the journey, which does indeed sound a clever idea...

Over to Jess:
Robert and I were sent some packs of our own, which were AMAZING! The packs are for ages 3-12 and even though I thought I would be too old, I wasn't.
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