A Foodie’s Stroll along Covent Garden with a Toddler

Covent Garden, London. I absolutely adore strolling along its elegant piazza, taking in the atmosphere and enjoying the living statues and performers. There’s a true buzz to this place and my toddler loved running around chasing pigeons and observing the street entertainers. However, she did keep a safe distance from the incredible live statues. My other half is also kept entertained (much to my delight) as there’s an Apple shop which kept him occupied for a little while at least whilst I enjoyed a spot of window shopping.

Sssshhhh ,there’s also lots of ‘tummy temptations’. Its not a secret that I love eating and I have a very sweet tooth. First stop, Laduree! French macarons are one of my true weakness, I love them. (They are so expensive though) Their display is always impeccable and is always way too inviting. Aaaah, a little box to share.

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Even if it can get very crowded, I still enjoy looking around some tourist-friendly crafts. This stall in the Apple Market definitely caught my eye as my toddler absolutely loves dancing. The quote was so apt ‘ Born To Dance ‘.

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The Apple Market was gorgeous in all of it festive glory. We had a wonderful time catching a few shows, relaxing and just enjoying each other’s company.

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Time for sweet treat number 2. Intense dark chocolate soft serve with raspberry sauce on a crunchy waffle cone from Godiva. It was heavenly.

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Of course, after all these lovely sweet treats .. the toddler just had to announce that she was hungry. Starving in fact. We managed to squeeze in a few photographs before stumbling upon a friendly family-run restaurant, Pasta Brown. Luckily, they had smaller starter size pasta portions on their menu.

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Mummy daughter duo

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One with her grandpa

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One must dance, everywhere.

Hello, Pasta Brown.

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Gamberoni, butterfly king prawns sautéed in garlic butter with mixed leaves. The sauce was perfection.

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Spaghetti Alio Olio Alice. Chicken, brocolli, pine nuts, chilli, garlic and olive oil.

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Classic Bolognese which little one loved. Dairy and egg free option for her.

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I have a soft spot for family run restaurants and they dealt with all our requests very well. Delicious food is the main thing though. Mmmm! I would definitely go back. Do drop by if you are around Covent Garden, I have made a mental note in my head to explore the London Transport Museum the next time we are there.

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Pick us to be your Mark Warner family, please?

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I always do this, stumble upon something when it is 6 hours to the deadline! Oh seriously. ‘Why do I do this to myself? but but this is too great of an opportunity to not give it a shot?’ Come on Iris, write.. write for your life! I have just finished gawking at Capture by Lucy’s beautiful travel pictures and am taking up her call to apply to be one of Mark Warner’s family ambassadors. As she would put it, I would regret it if I don’t. Absolutely, so here goes and wish us luck.

Travel, extraordinary travel. It truly is the best. We have been very lucky as a family to be able to escape the pressures of daily life and see so much of the world together with our 2 year old. We have formed precious lasting memories by flying the little one all the way to Malaysia to start, exploring the hot springs in YangMingshan Taiwan, taking in all the sights in downtown Taipei all in a day and recently if you follow our Instagram, we have just been to Madrid, Barcelona and Greece!

Lots and lots of exploring the world with a tot in tow. Instagram must be my favourite social media platform, it was like our travelogue with lots of holiday snaps and videos especially of the little one prancing around everywhere. I have managed to snap about a thousand pictures (no joke) and I cannot wait to get them organised for my little blog.

To be in the running for Mark Warner’s fabulous holiday i.e for us to be brand ambassadors, I am suppose to collate our Top 10 travel must haves! I have written a similar blog post ‘Surviving Long Haul Flights with our Toddler‘ last year and this still stands. Always better to be prepared BUT after our recent travels, I have an alternative Top 10 MUST HAVES.

  1. To be Bold and Adventurous – experience new things!

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We risked it with the toddler and took a cruise boat out when we were in Athens to experience 3 absolutely beautiful islands namely Hydra, Aegina and Poros. It was a very long day from 7am till 7pm and we had about 9 hours to spent hopping on and off the cruise ship. It started off very wobbly as she was exceptionally quiet which is very unlike her and then she was sick! Thankfully, it was just the one off. She must have been seasick, bless! It paid off tremendously as she had a ball dancing around. When she is older, we must show her this postcard worthy picture of Hydra where she was in awe of all the donkeys on this ‘no vehicles’ island.

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2. Relax the rules – try not to be too uptight (speaking for my husband *jokes*)

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When you are on holiday, anything goes. Oh well, within limits of course. When we arrived in Greece the little one was exceptionally taken by all the gorgeous stray cats roaming everywhere! They were absolutely gorgeous although one will never know if they have fleas or carry illnesses. I definitely relaxed the rules and allowed her to touch them as long as she could wash her hands properly. Definitely makes for a more relaxed holiday!

3. Indulge – in good food, fun shopping, relaxing spa sessions, whatever tickles your fancy.

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There is no denying that I love my food especially desserts! When on holiday, INDULGE. Try it all, eat it all. Don’t follow me for diet advice although if you have or had a 2 year old. You will know that they run. These little humans can really run and chasing a toddler around takes its toll. I definitely burnt more than enough calories keeping her safe.

4. Enjoy an ‘adult’ holiday

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As long as you not taking them to a night club, all should be fine. I was initially stressed before we embarked on our trip to Athens as understandably we want to climb up the Acropolis but having read some feedback from Trip Advisor forums, some won’t recommend it as you have to leave your stroller. You know what, just do it! She had lots of exercise and plenty of fun, who cares if I could not feel my arms properly afterwards. She napped when we were still up there and we had to carry her back down. Daddy did most of the heavy lifting. Well worth it! There’s always a way for them to entertain themselves or maybe we are one of the lucky few.

5. ‘Dancing shoes’

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Those of you who follow our family’s journey will know of my tot’s tendency to break into a dance anywhere and anytime! Only 2 but she lives to this mantra ‘Why walk when you can dance?’ Plenty of dancing videos, check out one of my favourites filmed in Madrid on my Instagram HERE. Her lack of inhibitions is fantastic, she had a ball every time she heard music. Boogie boogie throughout your holiday, you will not regret it.

6. Take silly pictures and videos

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These two never fails to crack me up! They think of the most random things to do whilst waiting. Like daddy, like daughter?

7. CAMERA. Video camera. Phone camera. – even better an Insta-husband

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Bless my patient husband for dealing with my .. ‘another picture baby’. Another one here and here and here and here! Whoops. In all honesty though, my pictures of him and our daughter are way better than his. Grrrr.

8. A very LARGE inflatable – in our case, Horsey

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I kid you not, this horsey has been with us to Taiwan, Malaysia, Wales, London, you name it! Proof –>

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9. Lots of soya milk and SNACKS!

Bubba has a dairy allergy so we tend to be very prepared in this department. Lots of soya milk just in case. NEVER ever travel without snacks. I mean it. It makes them happy when they are upset. Pictures above were taken in Madrid, she was getting very grumpy and all it took was a small box of raisins to turn her frown into a smile. She even fed daddy some.

10. Little activities to keep them busy. Stickers and lots of them!

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Thank you for taking time to read and fingers crossed we will be able to embark on another fantastic getaway. Sunny one perhaps?

Pick us pick us! Little one would be thrilled if I am a #MarkWarnerMum and then she can do THIS all over again and our family will be able to form lasting memories in the sun with Mark Warner. Can we just be full time ‘wanderlusters’?

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Surviving Long Haul Flights with our Toddler

Summer break. Holiday. Holibobs – Foreign climate and preferably with SUN –> long flight.

We have done 13 hour flights when she was a baby and it was all fine and dandy as she slept a fair bit! Before we booked this holiday, I definitely did my share of worrying as she is now an energetic toddler.. one that needs to be kept entertained and oh she is one that loves to stretch her legs. What if she acts up or throws a fit on board? Not to fret, its not that easy but we coped quite well I must admit. We as in my husband and myself. Phew! We made a good team and it was a lovely travelling experience flying with our toddler.

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First thing first, get all the nitty gritty formal bits out of the way. Airline, food, bassinets. You may have to request in advance. Our little one is dairy and egg free and we had to get some special food requested for her.

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Get some sleep! We were all well rested before the long flight and this made a huge difference. We travelled to London the night before and spend the night at an airport hotel. You must check out Airparks. They have special airport hotel + parking deals which are great value for money. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow for a night + 20 days parking for about £120!

Little one was well excited when we arrived in London! We have been prepping her and telling her that we will be going on an aeroplane when we go on holiday …

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and not even the real deal and she was hopping about the hotel’s reception. Haha! The room was large and very comfortable at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow. If you have older kids, the room has a sofa bed for them too. Such a great way to start the holiday stress-free and with a teeny touch of luxury too. Definitely worked out cheaper than just paying for airport parking on its own. Wanted to eliminate as much ‘stress’ as possible especially when we have a kid in tow .. this worked out really well.

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Fresh as a daisy and off we go to the airport for breakfast! You can hop on the shuttle or get a cab to the airport.

 

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Be prepared. Goodness knows how many times I wrote out our ‘hand luggage’ list. Never underestimate the novelty of a new ‘little’ toy and old favourites are also a must. In our case, we lugged her favourite Teletubby, Lala! (Ps we actually lost it in Taiwan, whoops)

I really thought the novelty of getting onboard the plane would have worn out eventually and she would just fall asleep. no such luck, she only napped for 2 hours out of the 13 hours and it was meant to be bedtime. Thankfully, I packed plenty of entertainment as well as snacks for the whole 13 hours.

I had a fab time planning her toys, I was about to order children headphones but decided against loading the Ipad with Peppa or Dora. There’s always in flight entertainment if all fails onboard.

What really worked for us ( she’s 19 months old) —

  • Magna Doodle. It does require quite a bit of effort on our end as she expects us to draw Peppa, clouds, the sun, and lots of different animals but it did keep her well entertained for a few hours and its still one of her favourite toys. Great value for money. I was deciding between this or the travel Aqua Doodle as that came highly recommended too.Peppa Magna Doodle
  • Lift the flap type books. She is very into ‘lift the flap’ books and her all time favourite show is Dora the Explorer. I was very lucky to stumble on a very well made board book that had lots of different colours and objects. She loved it and that is what matters. We also brought an all time classic too, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We are quite lucky that she is very into her books, so we always bring a couple in my bag. (Don’t ask about the state of my bag, its always overflowing)Dora Book
  • Water Magic book. Oh this is really clever, just add water to the little pen that comes with it and the pen makes colours and pictures magically appear. Its recommended for 3 and up but the little one is quite a ‘pro’ at working the book now. Just my luck that I brought 2 ‘drawing type’ toys as we had another toddler seated next to us and they both wanted in on the crafty activities.Water Magic Books
  • Stickers. I have not met a toddler that doesn’t like stickers. Kept her entertained for ages and we gave some to our little friend seated next to us too. Oh yes if you have a window seat, the gel type stickers are a lovely distraction. You can even stick them on the food tray and you don’t need to worry too much about how to get them out.Gel stickers for travelling
  • Wet wipes, enough nappies, extra change of clothes. We brought 3 set of spare clothes for little one and an extra top each for my husband and myself.
  • SNACKS. Seriously, just arm yourself with lots of them and if all else fails remember to bring a few sweeties onboard too. We brought a little box of cereal, she loves Coco Pops with a passion. Ordered lots of ‘healthier’ goodies from Boots too as ideally .. we did not want her to go all ‘sugar high’ on us. Very convenient and there’s always lots of different offers as well when you buy a few. Snacks
  • The Ipad/ tablet. I try to limit screen time and lo and behold, we did not travel with one but if you are travelling alone with little ones.. definitely flash one out 😀 It does work! Oh yes, you have to load it up with shows, films and songs beforehand.
  • Calpol or any other meds that little one might need.

4.

Enjoy and go with the flow 🙂 Remember, flying is fun and magical especially for an excited child.

Oh yes indeed. She had the time of her life and I had muscle ache for first the few days of our holiday.

Ps. we must have walked around the plane about 50 times.

*All in all, we flew 13 hours to Malaysia. 5 hours to Taiwan and another 5 hours back with a transit in Singapore. Finally, another 13 hours back to London. Same toys and snacks etc were used for the whole trip.

Hope this helps and enjoy your travels xxx

 

 

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