Thursday 29 December 2016

The Best Trips of 2016 #MyFavouriteTrip

In Digha, West Bengal, India with Pip and my little nephew
As we're at the end of 2016 I thought I'd have one last #MyFavouriteTrip link up to celebrate our best trips of the last year. I started the year with the #take12trips challenge and so glad I did as it inspired me to take regular trips throughout the year. I've been on countless day trips, several weekends away and two trips abroad. By far, my best trip was our holiday to India and taking Pip there for the very first time to meet his Indian side of the family. It was such an amazing experience and I'd love to return as soon as I can.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

An Indian Cookery Class in London

Last month I was invited to a Tefal cooking class at L'atelier des Chefs in London. The event included making an Indian meal from scratch with the guidance of a specialist chef and learning more about the Tefal Ingenio product range. I decided to go along having recently returned from India and sampled all the delicious food over there, I was interested in picking up some tips for making similar cuisine back in England. I used to make a lot of curries at home but have to admit after having Pip I tend to cook whatever is the quickest/easiest option. I am keen to get back into making home-made curries though and this was a perfect event for picking up some inspiration. I've been to quite a few blogging events over the last couple of years but this was my first food related one. I used to work in Central London right around the corner from L'atelier des Chefs. One of my first Saturday jobs was in H&M on Oxford Street, all those years ago, as a very young 16 year old! From the outside you would not know L'atelier des Chefs has a wonderful & spacious kitchen at the back ideal for cookery classes. It's actually the most popular cookery school in the UK, with 30,000 customers last year.


Sunday 11 December 2016

A Winter's Sunset

I recently included a post about a beautiful sunset in Brighton I saw a few weeks ago. I mentioned in that post that it was the best sunset I had ever seen since living here. But then I saw this one and it blew me away! On this particular day, the sea was so calm, probably the calmest I've ever seen it. There was even a swimmer in the sea in the month of December without a wet suit. Pip and I had been out and we were walking home via the seaside when we were lucky enough to witness this magical sunset. People were on the beach just watching it, a lot of people taking photographs and everyone soaking up the serene atmosphere. These winter sunsets are stunning and even though I complain about how early it gets dark, at least parents with little ones have the chance to view these gorgeous sunsets before bedtime. They are not always like this. Often the sea is rough, the wind is too chilly and the cloud hides the sun. But on this particular day the sky was clear and there were beautiful pink and orange tones that lit up along the horizon and spread across the sky after sunset! We watched the sun until it disappeared out of sight. 'Where has it gone, Mummy?' asked Pip. That was a difficult one to explain to a three year old...! I'm sharing a few photos from that afternoon. All were taken on my iPhone and none have been edited. 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Five Reasons To Visit Palma De Mallorca

© Life Unexpected
I'm very excited to have Chloe from Life Unexpected guest posting on the blog today. Life Unexpected is one of my favourite blogs, full of family life inspiration. Both Chloe and I work as freelancers and I recently wrote a piece on the five best things about being a freelancer over on her blog. Chloe spent a month travelling throughout Europe this summer and I loved following her adventures with her little daughter, Evie. One of the places she travelled to was Palma de Mallorca and here she writes about the best reasons to visit this beautiful city.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

20 Questions I Asked Pip

I was recently approached by Shepherds Friendly and asked to take part in their 20 questions to ask your kids project. I had a look at their worksheet and thought it would be a great activity to do with Pip. I ask him questions every day but there were some on the sheet I had never asked so I was keen and curious to see what he had to say. Plus, it's a lovely little way to document these moments in 'real life' and on the blog. He's nearly three and a half now and such a sweet, funny and boisterous little boy. His speech, sense of humour and imagination are developing every day. I took a video of us as I asked the questions and Pip gave his answers, some so funny. It will be lovely to look back at it in the future. Here's a little transcript of the questions I asked & his exact answers, some very cute, some hilarious and some completely unexpected!

Monday 21 November 2016

Five Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday


Sunday 20 November 2016

The Best Toys for 3+ Year Olds

This year is really rushing by and before we all blink we'll be at the end of 2016. I'm very excited about Christmas this year. Pip is nearly three and a half and at a great age to understand 'Santa' and everything this festive season entails. He has so many toys already so I'm not going to buy him too much this year but I do know what he'll love to receive, usually anything relating to trains and train track. If you need some toy inspiration here are some of the wonderful items I've seen recently.

An Afternoon at the Seaside

This week has been full of rain, wind and gloomy weather unfortunately. But on Friday there was a little window of sunshine so I took the opportunity to take Pip to the seaside. I wrapped us up in layers as it was very cold and the water choppy with a high tide but it was so nice having the warmth of the sunshine on our faces! We took a whole load of selfies with Pip pulling the most funny faces, he is hilarious at the moment and makes me laugh so much. He scooted up and down with me trying to keep up and we stayed to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Have you been to the coast lately?


Thursday 17 November 2016

Winter Holiday Ideas with Kids

Now that the temperatures have taken a nose dive here in the UK, I have started to crave warmer climates and have been thinking about booking a winter getaway. Other than escaping this colder environment, travelling offers so many benefits and it’s always nice to go away, have a change of scenery, visit new places and relax. Here are some of my ideas for a perfect Winter break.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Sharing Refugee Stories of Hope #WithOxfam

Taking part in a friendly protest in Bethlehem. I'm in the white coat!
Eight years ago I worked in a Palestinian refugee camp, on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The same town that we see in church depictions and every year in Christmas cards. We all know Bethlehem as the birth place of Jesus. Yet, we never hear about all the refugees that live in the same town, those who escaped persecution and live in limbo in one of the three main camps in the area. I worked in a health clinic in the Dheisheh refugee camp all those years ago, with a total population of 13,000 refugees. It was an eye opener to say the least. I learned so much in that time, not only about the political situation and life under occupation but how people live on a daily basis inside a refugee camp. This particular camp doesn't consist of people living in tents since these refugees have been on the same spot for the last 65+ years, since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. And those born in the camp only know their identity as a refugee. There are very few opportunities with little hope of the situation improving for the future. They are not starving but they have so little and some really struggle to make ends meet. I met a mother who cried when she told me she didn't have enough money to buy her children meat and vegetables. Most of the men in the camp have lost their jobs since the separation wall around Bethlehem has been built meaning they can never cross that line & work for businesses on the other side. Every one knows someone who has been killed either in their own family or those of neighbours, including children sadly.

Thursday 10 November 2016

My Favourite Trip #26

© Captured By Jade
Welcome to #MyFavouriteTrip. How has your week been? Mine has been a busy one! I think it must be the pre-Christmas rush, not too long now! This week's featured post is Trip Details: Brighton by Jade at Captured By Jade. Jade and her family visited Brighton in May this year, their first family holiday. Jade included photos on her blog over the summer but this post includes more informative details such as exactly where her family visited and the cost of travel, hotels and tourist attractions. I think I often forget to mention the cost of things in my posts so it was really interesting to read this from a different angle and is very useful for anyone planning on visiting Brighton. I've mentioned previously that Jade was one of my first blogging friends when I started blogging two years ago and it was lovely to finally meet her and her family when they came to visit. Have a read of her post if you haven't already.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Five Reasons to Visit Bali

I've spent a lot of time in Asia. I lived in Japan for a year teaching English, have family in India and did the whole backpacking tour throughout Thailand and the Philippines in my twenties. Now that my little boy is three and has already been to India, I'd love to return to Asia with him and explore more of the beautiful continent. The combination of stunning beaches, amazing sunsets, delicious food, diverse cultures and ethnicities and wonderful historical sites is all incredible. India will always have a special place in my heart since I have family there and I hope to return as much as I can. I’d also love to return to Japan and the stunning island of Bali, where I visited many years ago. With a population of over 260 million people, the fourth largest in the world, and some 14,000 islands, there is a lot to see in Indonesia! I have really fond memories of Bali and want to focus on five reasons to visit this beautiful island.


Thursday 3 November 2016

My Favourite Trip #25

© Also Coffee
Welcome to another round of #MyFavouriteTrip. Apologies if you visited last week & couldn't find the link up. We had some follow up appointments following our hospital visit and everything took a lot longer than expected so blogging and social media had to take a break for a few days. Pip is much better now though and his results are nearly back to normal.

This week's featured post is a day trip to Hart-Miller Island in Maryland, USA from Also Coffee. It looks like such a beautiful island and I loved all the action shots with the dog, who looks incredibly entertained in the photographs! I've never been to Maryland, the nearest I've visited is New York city but this Hart-Miller Island looks like a peaceful getaway and a wonderful place to explore. Have a read if you haven't already.

Each month I give away £50 to a lucky winner and out of all of the featured posts from October the one that stood out was Mummy Travels and her post on the #take12trips challenge. Congratulations Cathy, a Truprint voucher is on it's way to you!

This week I'm linking up my post on a beautiful Brighton sunset I saw recently. Remember, the definition of a trip is "a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure" so #MyFavouriteTrip is designed for any trip, big or small! 

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Autumn Flowers and Chocolate Giveaway

Happy November! I can't believe the year has gone so fast. Summer really did seem to stretch out luckily but the last few months have really flown by for me. Although the weather is colder I do love Autumn and all the vibrant colour it brings. Blossoming Gifts recently sent me one of their beautiful Autumn flower ranges named 'Woodland' which includes orange lilies, cherry brandy roses, burgundy hypericum berries and natural birch. It's a gorgeous bouquet perfect for the season and brightens up my house adding a ray of sunshine on these chilly days.

Sunday 23 October 2016

A Beautiful Brighton Sunset

Following Pip's hospital stay this week we have to return to the hospital regularly for further tests. One our way back on Friday we saw the most amazing sunset. I usually come from the opposite direction so don't often see the sun setting behind the pier plus I'm usually making dinner at the time the sun sets. It was truly amazing! The atmosphere was calm, people were sitting on the beach staring at the sky & so many were taking photos to capture the moment. We also passed many snowdogs on our coastal route. I took a few too many photos on my phone but wanted to include a selection to show the beauty of that evening. None of these photos have been edited in any way, some just appear lighter/darker depending on the focal point. It was so difficult narrowing these down so I've included the whole lot as I think they are all stunning! The sequence starts east of Palace Pier and ends up near West Pier. This is the best sunset I've ever seen in Brighton. Let me know what photo you like most.

Thursday 20 October 2016

My Favourite Trip #24

© Learning Escapes
Welcome to another round of #MyFavouriteTrip. How has your week been? I've had a bit of an eventful & worrying one as my little boy ended up in the Children's Hospital for three nights! He is on the mend and fingers crossed he will be completely better soon. Thanks to everyone who linked up last week. There were quite a few varied posts, from Airbnb & lodges to viewing one of the world's tallest buildings in Taipei! The post that stood out was a trip to Kilkenny in Ireland with Marta from Learning Escapes. I've been to Ireland quite a few times but Kilkenny has never been on my list. It sounds like a great place to explore and as well as the historic town and castles my son would love the tourist road train and reptile zoo. Have a read of her post if you haven't already! This week I'm linking up another India post, the festival celebrating the Hindu god GaneshRemember, the definition of a trip is "a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure" so #MyFavouriteTrip is designed for any trip, big or small! 

Thursday 13 October 2016

My Favourite Trip #23

© Mummy Travels
Another week of #MyFavouriteTrip and today it's my birthday! Having returned to the linky after a summer break, it was lovely to get back into reading so many great travel posts. It's so difficult choosing which post to feature as they all inspire me but this time it was Mummy Travels writing about the #take12trips challenge. After nine months in, it's a lovely reminder of all the trips she has taken this year including Portugal (photo above), Burma, California and many UK trips. Have a read of her post if you haven't already! This year is also the first year I've done the 12 trip challenge and it has been lovely recording a trip a month, although I still need to publish some! Thanks to everyone who commented on my post Our First Week in India. In true chronological fashion I'm now linking up....wait for it, Our Second Week in IndiaRemember, the definition of a trip is "a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure" so #MyFavouriteTrip is designed for any trip, big or small! 

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Name Change: From Toddler to Pip


Sunday 9 October 2016

Snowdogs by the Sea

This is one of the Brighton Snowdogs, part of the collection 'Snowdogs by the Sea'. I had a proper stroll through town last week and after seeing so many photos on social media, I finally saw these snowdogs up close. There are 45 giant snowdogs and 20 puppies dotted all over Brighton and Hove at the moment. The Martlets Hospice has teamed up with Wild in Art and Penguin to provide this unique outdoor exhibition across the city! Each snowdog has been beautifully designed and decorated by artists and sponsored by local businesses. Isn't it such an amazing collaborative fundraising event! At the end of the exhibition the sculptures will be auctioned and sold to raise funds for the Martlet Hospice. I was sad to read in the news this week that some of these have been vandalised which is such a shame. But if you're visiting before the exhibition ends on 27th November, I recommend going on a little snowdog tour. Of all the snowdogs I have seen this is my favourite in the Pavilion Gardens. His name is 'Merry-Go-Round' and the design captures the essence of Brighton. He is a pop-art inspired carousel horse type decoration. Bright, bold and all the fun of the seaside!

Thursday 6 October 2016

My Favourite Trip #22

Hello! After an extended summer break #MyFavouriteTrip is back! I hope you all had a lovely summer and I'm looking forward to reading all about your recent trips and holidays. I was in India for three weeks over the summer and it was the most amazing trip! I have a lot of posts to link up but am starting at the beginning with Our First Week in IndiaRemember, the definition of a trip is "a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure" so #MyFavouriteTrip is designed for any trip, big or small! 

Wednesday 5 October 2016

10 Travel Themed Toys & Books For Young Kids

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I love to go to new places and explore. We go on a lot of day trips, about one a week in and around Brighton or London. We’ve also been on many exciting adventures abroad including to India! Now my son is three, he’s at the age where he is absorbing everything. He knows the names of different countries, is learning about the concept of time and distance, his language is improving every day and he is constantly asking questions about everything! I want to encourage him as much as possible to learn about the world around him including the name of countries & how people in different cultures live. He has lot of travel themed toys already because he is a BIG Thomas the Tank Engine fan and since he was a baby has loved anything with wheels on! I wanted to make a list of the best travel themed toys for little kids, some of which we already have and some I'd like to purchase. Here they are:


Sunday 2 October 2016

Beach Huts & Scooter #MySundayPhoto


Wednesday 28 September 2016

Five Family Friendly Beaches in Miami

© Our Seaside Baby
Miami is packed with things to do, not least a day at the beach. I visited for the first time several years ago when I was a student (on the way back from an archaeology dig!) and would love to return one day with my little boy. I remember it being a great place for people of all ages and especially one to entertain families. I've teamed up with fellow travel blogger Elma Humpries to recommend the top destinations in the area. If you fancy travelling across the Atlantic here are five of the best family friendly beaches in Miami.

Monday 26 September 2016

Winter Holiday Inspiration with Clickstay & Trunki - Giveaway

Are you dreaming about your next holiday? After returning from India I definitely am! I've been told a good way to cure post-holiday blues is to book another holiday! So I've teamed up with Clickstay and Trunki to give you a chance of winning a famous Trunki suitcase of your choice and a £50 Clickstay Voucher towards your next holiday!

Sunday 25 September 2016

Silent Sunday - Hyde Park View


Saturday 24 September 2016

India Diaries: Our second week in India

Our second week continued at the coastal resort of Digha in West Bengal. During our first week in India we started in Kolkata then travelled to the 'Brighton of the East' in a four hour taxi ride. Our first week ended on a sour note because my son was sick. It started off as travel sickness but turned into vomiting after every meal. The day following our seaside trip he lost his appetite altogether and I decided to stay in our hotel all day and just let him rest, my poor 'Delhi belly' boy. I was so worried about him, thought about going to a doctor and felt really bad for bringing him to this climate. My little six year old nephew was feeling unwell too. Compared to Kolkata, Digha has a sleepy village feel and is so very hot at this time of year. I was hoping the rain would cool the temperature down but despite being there for four days in monsoon season it didn't rain at all! It was averaging mid-30s every day and very humid, so I'm thankful we had air-conditioning in our hotel, a must with kids in the heat.

Sunday 18 September 2016

It's My Two Year Blogiversary!

Wow, I've been blogging for two years! Happy blogiversary Our Seaside Baby! It actually feels like I've been blogging for years in some ways yet still so new in other ways. I feel like I was just writing about my experiences after blogging for six months. Last year, I wrote about my one year blogiversary and another year later I feel like I really 'get it'. Blogging is so varied and such a learning curve, I think I'll always be trying out new things and have loved this journey so far.

Silent Sunday


Wednesday 14 September 2016

Boots Botanics All Bright Skincare Range Review

I’ve recently been reviewing four products from the Boots Botanics Skincare range. Inspired by nature and regularly given 5* reviews on the Boots website I was keen to give them a go. The Botanics experts work with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and choose particular ingredients for their products. I have been reviewing the following products:

Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution
“This cleaning solution feels as gentle as water on the skin, to dissolve make up, unclog pores and remove impurities. Skin feels toned and smooth in one easy step.”

Boots Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream
“A hydrating day cream moisturiser, with SPF15 protection, that brightens and protects. It hydrates for 24 hours and is enriched with brightening hibiscus to leave your skin feeling radiant.”

Boots Botanics All Bright Purifying Scrub
“Buff away impurities with the Botanics All Bright Purifying Face Scrub, to reveal brighter skin. Enriched with brightening hibiscus, it is suitable for all skin types.”

Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm
“Create radiant, glowing skin instantly with Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm. This revitalising balm works to provide skin with an instant pick-me-up effect, promoting a brighter, fresher and more radiant complexion that lasts all day long. The Botanics All Brighton Radiance Balm provides skin with a subtle glow.”

During reviewing these products I stopped using my own skincare collection and used the Boots range instead. My morning routine has consisted of using the Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution at the start of the day. I think this is fairly gentle on the skin and it certainly makes my skin feel clean, toned and smooth as claimed. I’d apply the cleansing solution with cotton wool and no rinsing is required. I’d then use the All Bright Hydrating Day Cream which was my favourite product out of ones I was sent. It has a lovely smell of hibiscus and has a very subtle affect on the skin. My skin can appear too oily with certain creams but this is very light and thin and is a perfect consistency for a day cream, leaving me feeling very refreshed!

My next step was applying the All Bright Radiance Balm to my face. Initially, I applied this over my whole face but after using it a few times I thought the glow looked better on just my cheeks. This is a good cream to reapply during the day if needed. I used these products every morning and enjoyed all three as part of my morning routine. I also used the Boots Botanics All Bright Purifying Scrub 2-3 times a week to buff away any flaky skin. All the products left a nice and gentle feeling on my skin and I’m happy to continue using them in the future. 

In terms of price, the products I reviewed are all between £3.99- £4.99 which I think is very reasonable and affordable. Boots are currently offering up to 50% off on selected items in the Botanics skincare range. There is also an organic version of products. See the Boots website for more details. 

Thanks to Boots for sending the above products for the purpose of the review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Ganesh Chaturthi #MySundayPhoto

Our time in India included the celebration of the elephant headed god Ganesh, known as Ganesh Chaturthi. There are many 'Pujas' in India celebrating the different deities throughout the year and I didn't realise the end of our trip coincided with the celebration of Ganesh, the God of Knowledge. At this time of year, the temples are filled with statues of Ganesh, the one in the photo being near the home of my family in Howrah, Kolkata in West Bengal, India.  The statue shown in my photo above is small compared to the huge ones I saw in some of the temples in central Kolkata. Lasting over four days people celebrate in their houses with their own small Ganesh statues and also visit local temples, giving offerings such as flowers and food. 

I won't pretend I know exactly what symbolic gestures take place over these few days but it differs between temples and regions. In Kolkata, for example, the Ganesh Puja is not as popular as in other parts of India. In Kolkata, the biggest festival in the Hindu calendar is Durga Puja, the celebration of good over evil. I remember watching the procession when I was little on one of our trips to India. A massive statue of Durga is carried through the streets followed by a huge procession of people singing, dancing and celebrating. Everyone joins in and it's an amazing sight. I'd love to be in Kolkata again one day to witness it! Ganesh Puja is on a much smaller scale but had we been there on the last day we might have seen people take their Ganesh statues down to the river to be immersed in water & float away forever. Although I didn't get to be there this time (our flight was the previous day) I did see some amazing photos on Instagram

Have you ever seen a Puja? What religious ceremonies have you witnessed?

Read more of my India posts:
India Diaries: We're going to India! 
Silent Sunday: Above the clouds 
Silent Sunday: At the beach 
India Diaries: Our first week in India

Sunday 4 September 2016

Silent Sunday #Kolkata


Saturday 3 September 2016

WIN Tickets to the Family Travel Show

The Family Travel Show is held on 1-2 October 2016 at Olympia London. It is the UK’s only event dedicated to family holiday inspiration and is your chance to meet with the biggest collection of specialist family providers. This year there are brand new free exciting features for all the family. With fun inspiration for you and your family to discover and explore the ever growing assortment of holidays available to families, why not make the day of it! There will be plenty to entertain children (and grown-ups!) of all ages and make the show a great family day out. Here’s a taster of the free features you can look forward to:

Free Children’s Photography Workshops with Sharp Shots Photo Club

Kids photography experts Sharp Shots are running exclusive FREE workshops for budding photographers so they can hone their travel photography skills at the Family Travel Show. From understanding how the camera works to snapping moving wildlife and thoughtful compositions showcasing dazzling landscapes, these sessions are sure to educate and inspire the next generation of travellers to capture and explore the world. Spaces are limited for these free photography workshops, however there are options to secure your child’s place by booking online at the Family Travel Show. Workshops are split appropriately with two age groups, 8-11 years old and 12 years old +.

BBC Go Jetters Magazine

Travel the world with BBC Go Jetters magazine at the Family Travel Show! Children will journey through fun activities and games, have the chance to enter competitions and take selfies with famous landmarks and their favourite Go Jetters characters – with the chance to be featured in the magazine! You’ll be able to find out more about the great title for preschool children, which engages their imagination and supports their learning; helping them to find out about geography in a way that is fun and exciting. BBC Go Jetters magazine sparks children’s curiosity and encourages them to ask questions and discover more about where they live as well as places far away.

Mark Warner Photo Booth

Make your visit to the Family Travel Show memorable and head over to the Mark Warner Photo Booth to snap a FREE family photo together! Whether your preferred holiday style is mountain ski guru or active beach fanatic, there will be a wide range of props and accessories for all to choose from. Then drop by the Mark Warner stand to find out more about their stunning range of welcoming beach resorts and cosy ski chalets, award winning childcare and kids clubs … and dazzling array of sporting activities.

Lonely Planet Kids

Discover what an amazing place the world is with Lonely Planet Kids. Want to know where you can ride a dodo? Find underground cows? Find out how cities work or uncover the secrets of The Amazon? Lonely Planet Kids will explain all this and more! Join them at The Family Travel Show where they will be bringing the world to life for young explorers everywhere, sharing their love of travel with lots of interactive features and travel inspiration for your next trip. It’s going to be a big adventure! Come explore…

Young Travel Photographers Competition

Created and organised by the Family Travel Show, the Young Travel Photographers competition has one simple aim – to celebrate the skill of young travel photographers as they capture their adventures while exploring the world with their family! With prizes from CEWE Photobook, Canon and Sharp Shots Photo Club, kids won’t want to miss this great opportunity to get creative and show off their best holiday shots! Winners and selected images will also be displayed as a photography exhibition at the Family Travel Show. Visit to enter.

WIN Tickets to the Family Travel Show

The Family Travel Show takes place in Olympia London on 1 – 2 October 2016. Tickets cost £8 in advance or £10 on the door, under 16s are free. I’m giving away FIVE PAIRS of tickets to the Family Travel Show worth £100. For a chance to win simply enter your details below. And please spread the word! The competition closes on 18th September. Good luck!   

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 28 August 2016

India Diaries: Our first week in India

Our first week in India started in Kolkata, a place so close to my heart because I'm half-Indian and most of my Indian family live here. I was expecting jet lag and tiredness to last for a few days but actually we were lucky as it just lasted a day or two. Getting a day flight from London was a good choice for us and we arrived in Kolkata approximately 14 hours later (with a stop off in Dubai). It was morning when we arrived so we napped, went out for dinner later than evening then had a long sleep after we returned to the hotel. In the first week, we've stayed mostly in Kolkata and it feels so good to be back. I thought we might be hit by culture shock especially since it's my son's first time here but I think he's just loved all the energy and vibrancy India brings.

Silent Sunday Photo: West Bengal


Sunday 21 August 2016

Silent Sunday #flying


Sunday 14 August 2016

Drusillas Park, Sussex Review

We recently went to Drusillas Park for a family day out. We first visited last year for my boy's second birthday and as we had such a fun time we decided to return for his third birthday too! Drusilla's Park is one of the top tourist attractions in East Sussex and comprises of a small zoo and theme park. It's particularly great for small kids as there is so much to do and see. We spent six hours there in total and still didn't get to see and do everything although we did go on the Thomas train three times!

We saw many of the same animals as we did last year. The park has mostly small animals such as meerkats, penguins, lemurs, monkeys, owls, sloths, tamarins, otters, racoons, snakes and several farm animals. There are also some bigger animals including camels, gibbons, macaques, alpacas, donkeys etc. As my boy was a bit older this year we also used a lot of the playground activities and ventured into the Amazon Adventure softplay centre. This year Drusillas has also introduced an outside ultimate splash pad experience and new animals such as a Parma wallaby, four lambs and a little baby saki monkey that is so cute!

As well as going through the park the highlight for us was venturing on the Thomas the Tank Engine ride that runs through the park and also spotting James, Diesel, Cranky and Bulgy the Bus! My boy is a huge fan of Thomas and he even took some of his little trains along with him on the day. Coincidently, on my boy's birthday, the Fat Controller (Sir Topham Hatt) made an appearance and this was one of the highlights of our visit. He even sang happy birthday to my son at the end of the day which was lovely.

We had lunch in the Explorers cafe where the food is of a reasonable price. There is a great selection of kids meals such as sandwich sets and hot food options for both children and adults. There are also salads and deserts and it's exactly what you need.

One of the things I was a little disappointed with is the size of some of the enclosures. Last year, I remember thinking the enclosures were fairly big for all the animals however, this time, I noticed that some of them are far too small. For example, the Rhinoceros Iguana was in an enclosure about double its body length. The Serval was pacing up and down in an enclosure too small for it to run around in. I know this is the nature of zoos but it's a sad thought knowing this is how some animals spend their whole lives. My son is three and in a particularly inquisitive phase right now. He is so curious about everything around him, asks questions all the time and as a result I am becoming more conscious about what I show him. I'm not sure I want him to see animals behind bars. Of course it's the same issue with any zoo, aquarium, animal park, farm, pet shop etc. Other animals at Drusillas seem to have bigger spaces to roam such as the lemurs which have a walk through enclosure. It would be interesting to know if the animals at Drusillas are taken out of their enclosures and let to roam free in a bigger space from time to time however, I doubt it. Compared to what the same species have in their wild natural habitats these animals have a minuscule fraction of that. For these reasons I'm not sure about visiting animal parks or zoos in the future. Friends have suggested I visit a safari instead and perhaps that's more in line with my views. What are your thoughts? Saying that though, we had a lovely great day out at Drusillas and more importantly my son had a wonderful birthday trip!

Thanks to Drusillas for providing us with tickets for the purpose of the review. All words, opinions & photos are my own. A family ticket for three during the peak season usually costs £48. See website for more details. 


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