If you’re planning a trip to Swansea there are so many must-see sights and activities. Here are my Top 5 things to do in Swansea Bay area.

Rhossili Bay

Things to do in Swansea Bay, Rhossili beach Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, Rhossili beach Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, Rhossili beach Gower peninsula

Take a walk down the steep, winding cliff top down to beautiful Rhossili beach, it will be well worth your trip. The clean and sweeping bay makes it the perfect beach for families and surfers alike. The car park was being expanded while we were there, and I would imagine it will be finished by Summer peak. Head left from the car park and you will reach Worm’s Head, with stunning views and the chance to walk across to the islands if the tide is right.

The Mumbles

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Gower peninsula

Cosmopolitan Mumbles is home to many independent shops and restaurants and is great for a walk around, look out for the Love Spoon museum and the Gower gallery for interesting artifacts and local artwork. Take a stroll along the coastal path and admire the relaxed and peaceful beach town with it’s brightly coloured houses and regenerated pier. Head to Verdi’s for world class ice cream with a view out over the vast Gower coastline.

Langland Bay

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Langland Bay Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Langland Bay Gower peninsula  Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Langland Bay Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Langland Bay Gower peninsula

This cosy, secluded little bay is a sheltered haven lined with quaint beach huts and perfect little rock pools for intrepid explorers. Take a walk along the cliff top to take in the rugged coastline or just take a seat on the large steps along the wall of the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face. Also try Caswell Bay and Oxwich Bay for similar beautiful beaches.

Oystermouth Castle

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Oystermouth Castle Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Oystermouth Castle Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Oystermouth Castle Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Oystermouth Castle Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Oystermouth Castle Gower peninsula

Oystermouth Castle, originally built as an English stronghold in Wales in the 12th Century, is steeped in history which our guide, Roger was so passionate in passing down to us. It was fascinating to listen to and our young children had great fun exploring, do keep an eye out for uneven footings, to be expected of course. Oystermouth Castle is an easy walk up from Mumbles and has undergone some great restoration including a 30ft high glass bridge which affords amazing views over Mumbles once you reach the top.

Visit the Marina, the tallest building in Wales and Museums.

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Marina Museum Waterfront Gower peninsula

 

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Marina Museum Waterfront Gower peninsula  

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Marina Museum Waterfront Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Marina Museum Waterfront Gower peninsula

Things to do in Swansea Bay, the mumbles Marina Museum Waterfront Gower peninsula

There’s so much to do in this busy and vibrant area of Swansea. Make sure you visit one of the interesting, free museums in the area; the Swansea museum has a moving & informative WW1 exhibition at the moment, and don’t forget to look out for the £3m Flemish masterpiece which was found in the museum’s storeroom! The Waterfront museum provides interactive, informative, entertainment for all the family and is home to a host of historical exhibitions. The “LC” Leisure complex has enough to keep the family entertained for the whole day; not only is it home to Wales’ largest indoor waterpark but there is a huge, interactive play centre, climbing wall and even a boardrider surf machine.

The recently regenerated Marina has had a lot of improvements and is great for a walk around. The attractive former docks are lined with apartments. The highlight would have to be a visit to Wales’ tallest building, with incredible views over Swansea and beyond. At the end of your day head to the top floor for a decadent meal or delicious cocktail at Grape & Olive while taking in the vista.

Thank you to Swansea Bay for helping us put this post together, Video coming soon.

Take a look at the Swansea Bay website for more info.

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I’m on a forever mission to be the fun mum: This usually ends in major #mumfail. Like that time I tried to impress my 3 year old and ended up flying face first off of a trampoline, almost breaking my knee. Or when on holiday I fell head first into a river, in an attempt to get the perfect angle for a family photo. Laughter is the soundtrack to our parenting style and without fail Stuart will be able to make the boys fall about in fits of it mid toddler meltdown, essential skills for life with 2 under 4!

#markwarnermum travel to Bruge to document for Mark Warner Mum ambassadorship 2017

As both a Mum of 2 young boys and a huge fan of travel we’ve seen our fair share of change when it comes to travel must haves before and after children. We’ve been so fortunate in the past to have done a lot of traveling and have managed to see so much of the world as young and care (child!) free singletons. Flash forward 5 years Stuart is out the house 12 hours a day working and as soon as the children go to bed it’s my turn to work. Time together is a fragile balance and duly savoured over the weekends, our carefree days exchanged for a blur of nappies and sleepless nights.

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

We love to make all of our travels an adventure even within our own country but I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I would love to spend quality time as a family learning new things, and not just seeing new things. A chance for balmy days spent teaching the boys to swim under the summer sky, the opportunity for Stuart and I to learn a sport or skill together.

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

After we had Henry we did a little traveling in North America, however latterly our adventures have been constrained to the UK. You see traveling with children isn’t quite what it used to be. Gone are the spontaneous weekends away, jumping on the Eurostar a distant memory. Our Top 10 holiday essentials are not quite what they used to be.

I thought I would share my top 10 travel must-haves…Now if you’re a parent also you’ll know that packing isn’t quite the same post children, so I wanted to share my top 10 holiday essentials – before and after kids!

TOP 10 HOLIDAY MUST-HAVES BEFORE KIDS….

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

 

  1. Outfits. 3 per day. Hiking in the morning, perusing the town’s market in the afternoon, not forgetting a special dress for each evening to wear to a fancy restaurant.
  2. Bikinis. 7 in total. Well I can’t be seen in the same one in each photo?!?
  3. Books. Plenty of them and as many magazines. Hours spent reading, lounging by the pool ordering cocktails and nachos.
  4. Factor 6 tanning oil. No responsibilities and no apparent awareness for sun safety!
  5. Cocktails!! See points 1 and 3. Time to drink and party and roll in at 4am...well we wont be getting up ’til noon anyway so we can worry about the hangover tomorrow…
  6. Make Up. Lots of it. A bag full! Nights out are prefixed by 2 hours blissfully getting ready by myself.
  7. Sun bathing. Not a must have, but certainly a must-do. To be done at our leisure. Hot? Take a dip in the pool or a trip to the swim-up bar…
  8. Accessories. Planning outfits months in advance and making sure I have just the right fedora to compliment that new Maxi dress of mine.
  9. Hair dryer, straighteners, tongs, curling iron…Did I mention I have 2 hours to get ready each night??
  10. The Spa. Ahhh, the spa. Couples massage? Go on then, we’re on holiday after all…

TOP 10 HOLIDAY MUST-HAVES AFTER KIDS….

 

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

  1. Outfits. 3 in total for the week including something I can be comfortable in whilst cosying up on the sofa once the children are down to sleep.
  2. Bikinis. High-waisted essential to hide inevitable mum-tum. In fact a swimsuit would be best. There’s a whole lot of bending down involved when looking after children by the pool.
  3. Books. Hmm, I had one of those once. It was replaced with an iPad, pre-loaded with the CBeeBies App.
  4. Factor 50 sun block. To be frantically applied 6 times a day, attempting to avoid mixing with sand, dodging imminent toddler meltdown.
  5. Juice…Squash. Water. Ice Pops. Anything to make sure little one is hydrated and won’t suffer from heat exhaustion when all they want to do is play. Repeat hourly.
  6. CC Cream. Store by the front door so you can apply quickly on your way down to breakfast (after having packed 4 beach bags full of stuff, wrestled toddlers to get dressed, yawned 3,000 times)
  7. Bucket and spade, frisbee, skittles. Anything to entertain the children with. Why not build a huge sandcastle with big windows for you to look out of over at the couples sunbathing, carefree, cocktail in hand.
  8. Accessories. 12 children’s sun hats – ensuring you have at least 1 that doesn’t get lost throughout the week.
  9. Dry Shampoo. You may, if you’re lucky, have time for at least one shower without a small visitor or 2 tugging at the shower curtain. Maybe take a couple of cans just in case.
  10. Baby Wipes. Ever been at a spa where they bring round cold cloths for your hot brow? I have and it was bloody glorious. Well that you can forget that. Instead bring 247 packs of wipes for all those baby related spills, scrapes and sick.

Check out my Pinterest Board for more Travel must-haves and holiday Pins!

I hope our passion for travel is passed down to the children. There really is so much to see in this world and I love showing the boys the beauty that travel has to offer. As part of our application I’ve made a little vlog of our travels in 2016, we would love it if we could make a very special one for 2017!

 

#nofilter – have you ever seen a more incredible sunset?!

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

I’d love to know how your must have holiday items have changed since having children – let me know below!

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

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I love the planning that goes into organising a romantic weekend away. The anticipation, the excitement of escaping the ordinary. Before we had children we used to book a weekend at a spa or jump in the car to another city every couple of months. Being based in the South of England, we’re lucky to have lots of beautiful places within a couple of hours drive away and equally just on our doorstep. I love getting lost in beautiful surroundings, learning things about the places we go and I’m passionate about exploring close to home as well as further afield.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

It is especially exciting planning a weekend away now, because since becoming parents they are understandably rare. In fact I think we have only done one or two so far, but as the boys are getting older, in turn they are getting (slightly) easier to send to doting grandparents. Equally we love to show the boys the adventures we can have as a family, hopping in the car and going off on a road trip together. Although it has to be said it’s not quite as spontaneous as it once was when we only had to think of our own needs.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

As Valentine’s Day approaches I’m sure many couples are planning romantic ventures, be it at home or away. There’s a certain pressure that comes with a weekend spent with a new partner, a relationship in its infancy is put to the test when trying to plan for a weekend away together. It can certainly be a deal breaker. It’s probably a good idea to have spent a couple of nights together before putting your relationship to the test of a full weekend away. There’s nothing quite as awkward as realising actually you’re not the match you thought you were, when 300 miles from home and have 2 days to get through.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

I love the spontaneity of a loosely organised trip. Not knowing exactly what lies ahead provides extra excitement and adventure to your weekend. Showing your partner how you can be flexible can be an endearing quality, especially if you have children who don’t normally allow for such impulsive freedom. Getting insider tips from the hotel staff for the best brunch in town, or the secret spots they don’t show you in the guide book can be exciting and a fun way of getting to know each other. It’s great to discover the places on foot too if you have the time to meander through village streets without time constraints.

how to plan a romantic weekend away

It’s especially important to make time for a romantic weekend away if you have children and rarely spend time together as a couple. Even just to give yourself that time, have a bubble bath without interruptions, to take things slowly, enjoy each other’s company like you used to be able to without having to think of your children first. Rediscover each other, remember what made you fall in love with one another in the first place. It’s so so hard to make time for yourselves in day to day life amidst the school run, the food shop and the daily battles with getting children to eat their dinner. Each day ending with falling into bed, your head hitting the pillow desperately hoping for a few straight hours of shut eye and any thoughts of intimacy as distant as the memory of a full nights sleep. We’ve all been there and it’s only natural to put yourself and each other last.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Finding the perfect spot for your weekend of romance is key to getting the mood right. Whether that’s a weekend of escaping to the countryside to an exquisite peaceful retreat where you can spend the whole weekend soaking up the splendour of the romantic setting, walking amongst stunning gardens and taking time over afternoon tea. A weekend in the City, shopping all day, fine dining and taking in a show by night. Or perhaps an action packed weekend of fun and mayhem, jumping on the Eurostar and picking a destination as you get to the station. It’s important to choose something that you would both enjoy and that is an escape from the norm. Personally I like to make sure I get as much from the weekend as possible, which means the less travel the better – there’s not much point flying to New York if you only have 48 hours to enjoy your adventure.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire  Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Packing for a weekend away needs to start with the bag. Nothing too big so that you have to check it in for a flight, nothing too small so you have to scrimp on outfit options. I found the perfect bag whilst scouring one of my favourite websites, where I often get lost scrolling through their pages of beautiful homewares, iconic designers and luxury gifts. It’s just one of those sites where you want everything. I knew I wanted to get something uber stylish and special for a weekend bag because it will be something I use time and time again. This beautiful Ted Baker weekend holdall is a definite investment piece and one that I think will see me through years of adventures.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall HampshireValentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

What ever you do, wherever you go, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourselves to be romantic, just relax, enjoy the time do something fun together.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

What’s your favourite kind of adventure?

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“Outside

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With thanks to Tylney Hall for the use of their stunning hotel in rural Hampshire.

I love living so close to London, it’s just a quick 45 minute train to get to the city and each time I go I try to find new places to explore. Many of my school friends have settled in London so it’s always nice to pop up and visit. but having to make a quick dash for that last train is always a stressful experience. Sometimes it’s so much more convenient to stay up there, so when I was invited by Novotel to check out their stylish and contemporary hotel in the Royal borough of Greenwich I was really pleased.

Novotel #1000 stories blog

Sadly I didn’t get to the hotel until pretty late, so I didn’t utilise all of the facilities such as the stylish bar, pool or international cuisine restaurant. I did, however, very much enjoy a full night’s sleep in the super comfortable bed dressed in eco-designed “LIVE N DREAM” comfort bedding and pillows – a real treat which anyone with young children will agree!

Nespresso with Novotel #1000 stories

#1000 stories with Novotel

#1000 stories with Novotel

Any hotel which offers Nespresso on tap is a winner for me. I love being able to have a strong coffee in the comfort of my pyjamas before heading down to breakfast.

nespresso with Novotel #1000 stories

I was racing out the door first thing the next day on my way to Blogfest so I just had enough time to grab a quick bite to eat from the breakfast buffet which included a nice selection of continental and cooked options. I probably should have loaded up more but I was, of course, being characteristically late!

Breakfast was served with view. The cosy cobbled streets and iconic red telephone box set the scene for a traditional London landscape. Morning was rising with a cool dampness to the air and I was excited for the day ahead meeting lots of fellow bloggers. It was such a shame I couldn’t explore the area as from what I had seen it had so much to offer. I’d love to go back again with the boy’s when I had more time to take a look around the area; especially as they offer great facilities for families. The hotel was so close to the train station it was really convenient to navigate to despite feeling quite far out initially.

#1000 stories with Novotel

Greenwich has a unique village feel to it, home to a World Herritige site, a Prime Meridian and where hemispheres meet. It’s so easy to get to out of central London, and the over ground train takes you through the winding tracks above Canary Wharf’s waterways which is never something I’ve seen from such a perspective.

I loved that all the toiletries were Fairtrade. Novotel is committed to PLANET 21, the sustainable development programme of the AccorHotels and there are many eco friendly materials used throughout the hotel.

Novotel #1000 stories blog 

Thanks to Novotel, Greenwich for inviting me to stay. You can take a further look at my stay at over on my YouTube 

If you stay with Novotel make sure you tag #1000stories on social media to share your story.

 

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Last week we were invited along to Bluestone Wales and during our time there we went along to the Kingdom Of The Elves attraction – a must if you are visiting at Christmas. Our mission was to find Rudolph who had gone missing – the adventure took us around a series of magical rooms accompanied by several different characters to help us find our way through.

Kingdom Of The Elves at Bluestone Wales a must see Christmas attraction for all the family

Each room in the Kingdom Of the Elves was magical and all the Elves were engaging and energetic and the boys had the most amazing time running around trying to find Rudolph.

Kingdom Of The Elves at Bluestone Wales a must see Christmas attraction for all the family

Our Elf Mission was to track down Rudolph following a series of clues – Equipped with a Super Cloak and Tracker Cuff we had to help the Elf Reindeer Ranger to find Rudolph and get him back into his stable. Pop over to my YouTube channel to take a look at the full video of our experience – I’d love it if you took a look!

Kingdom Of The Elves at Bluestone Wales a must see Christmas attraction for all the family

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