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. 



Silent Sunday #Brightonbeach


Thursday 11 August 2016

India Diaries: We're going to India!

With my auntie in India 
Exciting news here. We are off to India next week!!! I booked our flights just last month and didn't want to say anything before we got our visas, a very time-consuming bureaucratic process which sometimes ends in rejection, but they were granted last week so India here we come! You may know that I'm half Indian and my dad was born in India. I've been fortunate to visit India many times since I was four years old and have family living in Kolkata, West Bengal. I've written about why I want to take my son travelling and I'm so excited to be taking him to India for the first time. It's funny to think that a quarter of him is Indian since he has blue eyes and fair hair :-) It will be such an amazing experience to show him this beautiful, colourful and vibrant country, visit with family and see all of my Indian relatives again. Like any other Indian family, I have so many cousins! I haven't been to India in six years so I'm really looking forward to seeing my Indian family again and this will be my son's first time outside Europe! He's been to France, Italy and Holland so far and this is our biggest trip to date.

Celebrating the New Year 2010
The outdoor market in Kolkata
I've been busy working it all out the past couple of months and while some parts of our trip will be travelling solo (just me and my son) a lot of it will be with extended family since my mum, brother and his family are also coming. I think it will be much more fun for my son that way because his six year old cousin (my nephew) is coming too and they get on so well & play together all of the time!

The Victoria Memorial, one of the biggest cultural sites in Kolkata
I am a little apprehensive about the trip especially in today's economic climate. I don't have to mention all the news articles in the past year or two for you to know what I'm talking about, there have been far too many incidents and it sometimes feels like a very sad world we live in. I do often wonder if we should stay put in the UK but even here anything could happen. And, of course, there is so much of the world to see and we can't let fear stand in our way, can we? My travel linky #MyFavouriteTrip has also given me oozes of inspiration seeing how other bloggers travel the world with small children.

I will probably find being solely responsible for an active three year old for three whole weeks a little challenging especially going to a country as big and busy as India! Amsterdam was actually a piece of cake but this time there will be a big change in climate (it will be summer and monsoon season!), a different diet, a huge cultural difference, sights of abject poverty and the land of 'Delhi belly'. But, it's also like nothing else; a treat for the senses, a country full of life, colour and friendliness and so much beauty it will leave you breathless. A land like no other. I'm just going to take everything in my stride and see how it all goes. Of course, having family around will help and kids often adapt much more easily than you think. I'm just so excited now I think I'll be living on adrenaline until we leave!

On top of the roof of the family house with my little cousin, Dipankar
I'll be writing more about where we're planning to go and what we want to see and will be writing under the label of India Diaries.


Read more of my India posts:
India Diaries: We're going to India

Have you been to India? Have you taken kids to countries afar? I'd love to hear about your experiences.


Tuesday 9 August 2016

Graco Milestone All-In-One Car Seat Review

I have been reviewing the new Graco Milestone All-In-One Car Seat over the past few months. I jumped at the chance to review this model as it can be used for all age/size groups: 0+/1/2/3, something I haven't used before. The car seat is designed as an 'all-in-one' model and can be used from birth and all the way through childhood until your child is 12 years old.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Silent Sunday Photo: Best friends

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