South France

South France

This year I wanted to try out Eurocamp, I already had booking with them but my friend who I was travel with found a deal on Groupon for Eurocamp. We looked into it and both said the only place we really wanted to visit was South France, that was an option. Not only that but, it was during the easter half term. We contemplated if we could afford everything and I just said the offer is too good to not go. The deal was for £150 for a mobile home in the South of France, we found £20 off so ended up paying £65 each! Bargin I know! How could we turn it down?!

When booking we saw that we could fly to Biezers which is close to the campsite with EasyJet but closer to time the fights disappeared. That’s when it became a bit of a headache. We decided to fly to Nimes which was cheaper but it was the furthest from the campsite. Transfer was £300 plus! There was no way I was paying that price so I looked into public transport. It was a Sunday we flew out so public transport was limited however when I checked Google Maps I saw two possible trains we could take. One at 1ish which meant we had 1 hour to get to the train station or the other one at 3.45 which meant we had 3 hours hanging about. I loved to be organised but sometimes I can be so spontaneous and love to take risks so just decided to figure it out when I got there. Our flight was delayed so of course we missed the train. I had hope though, we took a cab to the train station, I asked the man at the train station if there was another train we could take that would take us near to the campsite and there was a train due in the next 20 mins to Adge which was 10 mins away from the campsite and we took a cab from there. Overall it was a blessing we missed the train and was able to get a different train. The whole journey took about 1 hour 30 mins and cost roughly €50 which was much cheaper than transfer and we got to see so much more. The route was so simple.

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This was our mobile home for the week. We have stayed in a caravan before so I had an idea of what to expect. We had a 3 bedroom home complete with fully equipped kitchen, shower, decking and a gas BBQ. It was spacious and clean and very affordable. Before booking any questions we had Eurocamp was very friendly and helpful in answering our queries. We had to provide our own linen. There are two options for this, either hire linen or bring your own. We decided to bring our own as it was cheaper than buying a linen pack. I would also recommend a welcome pack which cost £4 it had everything you needed to settle down including washing up liquid, sponges, bin liner etc.

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The sunset outside the campsite was so beautiful. Eurocamp is not the only company who have mobile homes at the site. You can also bring your own caravan or tent there. The campsite itself was very big. It can accommodate up to 901 pitches. The pictures on the Eurocamp website is exactly what it looks like.

Pools

There was so much pools. We were lucky that we were able to visit 2 other camp resorts along with our own. Each resort had an outdoor pool and 4 different outdoor pools with different depths. We only visited Les Mediterranees Beach Garden which was our site and Les Mediterranees Charlemagne. Charlemagne was our favourite. I loved the indoor pool because it had a jacuzzi in the middle and I was able to watch both boys while I relax. The indoor pools all had different depths so there was something for everyone.

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We spent majority of the holiday in the pools. AHaziah hasn’t stopped talking about the four water slides. Even my youngest Micaiah who used to hate water would not get out. He literally spent hours in the pools and refused to leave. The outdoor pools were cold but that didn’t stop them going down the slides.

Marseillan Beach

Marseillan beach was truly breath-taking. People thought I was in the Caribbean when they saw pictures. What I loved the most was the depth of the water, it was so low even when Ahaziah was far out the water only came up to his hip. I found it to be very safe for children to play in.

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The resort was directly on the beach and had private access. We saw the sunset on the beach and the boys really enjoyed digging big holes to bury themselves in.

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Marseillan Plage

We set out for a walk and when we got to the top and I saw this strip I thought I was in LA. The view was amazing to say the least. They also have free wi-fi along that strip for 20 mins a day.

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There is also plenty of ice-cream shops along this strip. Ice creams of so many different flavours. They were yummy!

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Marseillan Port

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I love taking public transport in different countries, it is such a great, affordable experience. We took one day out to be tourist. We booked a bus to pick us up which took us to the port of Marseillan to see the yachts.

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Apparently this is the biggest port in Marseillan, don’t quote me though because it seemed quite small. We saw plenty of yachts, despite the weather looking so gloomy the area itself is picturesque. I can imagine during the summer this being very busy.

Bike Hire

The only thing we wanted to do but didn’t get to was cycle. There is a bike hire company who brings bikes to the resort for hire. The prices are affordable but the deposit is £200 per bike which I think is extortionate. We tried opting for scooters but he didn’t have enough for our whole party. So we had to give that one a miss unfortunately.

Eurocamp Review

I found this holiday with Eurocamp amazing, it blew my expectations away. I am very happy and impressed at the camp itself. Being able to visit 2 other parks was definitely a bonus. It was clean, comfortable and affordable. Everyone was sad to leave. I loved the beach, indoor pools and palm trees. I already have another Eurocamp holiday booked for this year so I’m hoping it is a great as this. I will defiantly make Eurocamp one of my yearly traditions. The food out there is affordable, we ate at the same restaurant 6 days in a row! Everyone liked it so we stuck with it. One downfall I would say though was not being able to have a BBQ. We got there the day after the park opened so I’m assuming they didn’t get enough deliveries because the options for food to BBQ was very limited. I did notice though on the last day there was more of a selection. Despite that we still had a brilliant holiday.

Until next time Eurocamp!!!!!!!

Iceland 2017

Finally I made it to Iceland! I really want this to be a short blog about what to do in Iceland and top tips on how to save money. Before booking Iceland I heard it was expensive however, Iceland is not expensive it is day light robbery! It is a very beautiful city with so much to see and do but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune so heres how to do it on a budget.

Book a hotel which includes breakfast

If your like me and cannot justify paying £4.50 on one burnt croissant then I cannot stress how important it is to book a hotel with breakfast. We choose Fosshotel Reykjavik it was a beautiful hotel. The rooms were modern and clean. We were on 14th floor so the views were amazing. The breakfast was amazing! Usually buffet breakfast can be quite bland and cold but this was really nice. Cereals, eggs, bacon, vegetarian options, cheese, pastries hot drinks, cold drinks, fruit etc. It was really nice because we could make a hot drink to stay and to go.

We only stayed for 2 nights but if staying longer, I would suggest bringing a flask and filling it up so you can make hot meals and drinks during the days because the tours/ excursions can be long. For example the golden circle tour is 9 hours long. There is a clean kettle and fridge in the room so you can make sandwiches and have snacks etc to save money. We booked a flight and hotel package on Expedia.

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View from 14th floor

Book tours in advance

If you want to go to the Blue Lagoon book it on the website in advance, slots get booked up quickly. It is 15 mins drive from the airport so the best time to go is as soon as you land or on the way back.

The company we used for the Golden circle tour, Secret lagoon and Northern lights was Sterna Travel booked via Viator. My cousin who lives in the US booked all the excursions on her end and always found a discount code for each booking which helped save money.

Blue lagoon was booked with Gremlin transfers, they picked us up from our hotel, took us to the Blue lagoon then took us to the airport. They have a number of pick up and return times. Our transfer from the airport to our hotel was also with Greyline transfer.

Always shop around to look for the best deal at the time off booking and also look out for promo codes!

Food/ snack shop in Bonus

Bonus is a supermarket which was mentioned in the reviews on Trip advisor for Fosshotel. While walking through Reykjavik and seeing the prices in the shops and other supermarkets I didn’t have much hope for bonus but I was impressed. So a “big eat” pack of doretos was £6 or one pack and £8 in tourist areas but it is sold in bonus for £1.50. I got a big bottle of water, pringles and doretos. I also brought some go ahead biscuits from London and honestly for 3 days thats all the snacks I needed after a massive breakfast.

Reykjavik

Reykjavik town is beautiful. There is plenty to see, souvenir shops, places to eat, museums and churches. A lady gave us an Icelandic coupon booklet which had coupons for restaurants in Reykjavik. This was very handy because it gave us 20% off our meals at dinner time.

20170204_14145520170204_114039The street art in Reykjavik is beautiful, there is so much pretty images to see while walking along.

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Rainbows everywhere, it was so beautiful. I would turn around and see a rainbow it was amazing. We did experience all the seasons in the space of 1 hour which explained the constant rainbows.

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I took a picture of Mount Esja every opportunity I got. I was obsessed, I honestly could spend all day looking at them.

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Hallgrimur Church

You can go to the top of this church and see views over Reykjavik but we didn’t because we didn’t have the time. Plus we could see everything from our hotel.

Golden Circle Tour

An amazing 9 hour tour, the bus has Wifi to keep you connected. The guide was really good and gave a lot of useful information. During the tour we saw Icelandic ponies, they are so cute. They stay outside for the whole of winter but they are hairy which keeps them warm. They are kept outside because if they are brought in they would loose their hair and would not be able to survive the winter.

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Thingvellir National Park

First stop was Thingvellir National Park. We didn’t spend much time here although it is beautiful. There is a lot of hiking involved if you get to spend longer.

The next stop was Geysir Hot Springs. This was such a breath taking experience. Seeing the geysir’s and the Stroker explode 30 meters into the air. It explodes every 5-7 minutes. It was a bucket list moment.

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Strokkur beginning to explode 

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Strokkur at highest point

Glad I was able to experience something like this.

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The next stop was Gullfoss Waterfall. We saw it from two viewing points, above and below. It was beautiful another place I just look at all day.

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We then headed to the secret lagoon which was included in our tour package which I will talk about in the next section. After the that he drove us through the mountains, you know the mountains I am obsessed with. Mount Esja, it was crazy because there was no snow in town but so much snow up in the mountains. After the tour they took us back to our hotels.

Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon

Blue lagoon is a must in Iceland and should be pre booked. For such a busy place they don’t have enough toilets. It is so windy because it is by the sea. The day we visited there was sleet, it was cold and so windy, it felt like a tornado. Never the less we still went in. Parts of the water was warm and some parts were luke warm. The mud masks were really good, when I took it off I could feel my face was tighter.

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The Blue Lagoon is very big and there is a lot of space to walk around so you can easily spend hours here. There is a bar in the water to keep hydrated and you have a wristband which will get charged at the end so you don’t need to carry cash with you. It was so windy so once I found a nice warm part in to sit in and wind blew the water it felt like being in a jacuzzi.

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Brave face

I thought I would add this picture of how the security guard was dressed. He was fully wrapped up and there I am trying to brave a face for the photo. Honestly it wasn’t that bad once you found a warm part and your shoulders was in the water. However this opinion is based on bad weather conditions.

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Security

 

I was also suggested putting loads of conditioner in your hair before entering the pool even if you don’t intend on getting your hair wet. I didn’t plan to get my hair wet but it did. When I tried to rinse it out the next day it still felt like wire.

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One tip I would recommend is not bringing a towel outside with you especially if it is windy and can get wet. Its best to leave it in the locker and walk through the side which takes you straight out into the pool.

Now on to Secret Lagoon

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The secret lagoon was included at the end of our golden circle package and what a wonderful way to end a brilliant and full on day. The secret lagoon is cheaper than the blue lagoon and is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The hot springs built around it keeps the water hot. The water in the secret lagoon was very hot 40 degrees to be exact. There are little Geysir which erupts every 5 minutes which keeps the water warm. It was the best feeling ever but  at times it was a bit too hot. We were able to spend 90 minutes in here and I feel like that was enough.

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The secret lagoon is much smaller than the blue lagoon so not much space to wander too but there was a number people there but we all had enough personal space. The secret lagoon is the perfect place to visit if you want to relax without the hustle and bustle of all the tourist. If you can do both I would definitely recommend.

Northern Lights

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I was seeing the northern lights on this short visit to Iceland and nature was not getting in my way. It was very cloudy and you can only see them when the sky is clear. I was speaking the northern lights into existence. The night we arrived was the night we were suppose to go out on the tour but it was cancelled. The last tour went out 3 days before we arrived and before that they hadn’t been out for 3 weeks! This was a little worrying but I was still speaking it into existence. When I found out the tour was cancelled I said it’s OK because we were tired due to having a early flight, walking around Reykjavik and we really needed a good night sleep for the the next day.

We did the northern lights tour with the same company that we did the golden circle tour with so I got so excited on the way back when they said they had a tour to go on at 8pm. We set out for the tour and they mentioned that the city council will be turning off the lights for one hour so the northern lights could be seen. We went to the first location and could not see anything. The guide said they stay at a location for about 20 mins if not they move to another. On the way to the next location the guide glimpsed a faint line off the lights so the driver pulled over the coach on the side of the road.

It was at that moment we saw the lights dancing in the sky. It was very faint and still a bit cloudy but at least we saw them! I am now on the hunt to see them again…. Finland maybe. The great thing about this company is they cancel the tour if the forecast predicts fog therefore you don’t have to go out and waste your time. If the tour gets cancelled for the duration of your holiday you will get a refund. If you go on the tour but don’t see the lights you don’t get a refund.

Conclude

Iceland was a breathtaking and amazing experience and I am so glad I went. I ticked a few things off my bucket list. I learnt so much history about the country. We travelled during the winter so it was cold but not as cold as expected. It was there mildest winter in years so that was good for me because the weather was similar to London. Iceland I will be back for a few days with the boys because Ahaziah saw the pictures and said it looks amazing!

If you have any questions or want to know more leave a comment.

Until the next travel blog……

Nahdz_Adventures xxxx

City break in Amsterdam

For my friends birthday she wanted to go to Amsterdam for a few days, Ive never been and it has always been somewhere i’ve wanted to go so thought why not. We went mid week, Wednesday to Friday and we got a really good deal. We paid about £50 for flights and we stayed in Meininger Hotel in Amsterdam, it was affordable, clean and comfortable, just what we needed for 2 nights.

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When we got to Amsterdam Schiphol airport we had to take a picture with the I Am Amsterdam sign of course. We then brought a 3 day travel card which allowed unlimited travel on the train, bus and tram. I love travelling on public transport in other countries I think it is the best way to see the country, and of course it is affordable.

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We then headed to the hotel which was 3 stops from the station. We put our bags down and went out. Amsterdam central station was one stop away from the hotel so it was very convenient. We went to get something to eat then we went on a boat trip along the canal which was really nice and informative. The Amsterdam Light festival takes place during the winter so if you visit during the winter be sure to check it out.

These bikes are real bikes which was rescued from the canal. The waterfalls and the colours looked so pretty the way it reflected into the water.

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The Bulldog coffee shop is very popular in Amsterdam. After the canal we went back to the hotel to get changed for the evening. We went back to Amsterdam central and of course we had to visit the bulldog to get the full Amsterdam experience. We then headed to a club but because it was midweek the club was not that great. I have heard great things about Amsterdam night life so I would go back again.

Day 2

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Sex Museum 

A very eventful and busy day. We started off by going to breakfast and heading to the sex museum. It was about 4 euros and I did find it very interesting surprisingly. There was a lot to see. We then got a combo ticket deal for Red Light Secrets which is the museum of prostitution and Amsterdam Ice Bar.

We walked along the Red Light district during the day, we saw a few women at first I found it exciting because Ive always heard about the Red Light District, it was a new and an experience. We then went inside Red Light Secrets which was mind blowing. You was able to see videos of how it would feel like to be in a window and men approaching you. There was rooms so you felt like you was there. But there was confessions and history of why some of the women went into prostitution. Some women were brought over via trafficking, promised a life and were thrown into it. It was so sad because for some women it was not there choice.

We left there and found Primark. Now guys I don’t know which was the highlight the Primark or Red Light Secrets. The Primark was amazing there was so much and so many floors.

We then went to Glow Golf which was good fun, you get 3D glasses which I found a bit annoying, I don’t like 3d movies but other that that it was a good activity to kill a few hours.

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We then went back to the hotel and got ready for the evening, we headed to Ice Bar and took the tram from Amsterdam Central station. In the ticket we brought it included 1 cocktail and 2 shots which was good value for money. We then left, got something to eat then went back to the Red Light District. It was a real eye opener, it was so sad and I wanted to take all the women out, they were so pretty and deserve so much more. It made me count my blessings.

Day 3

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We didn’t do much this last day but here I am admiring the Dutch culture and lifestyle. They ride bikes everywhere, one thing I would have loved to do is cycle but I don’t think my heart can take it right now. Hopefully when I go back I will give it a go. Another thing I found amazing was the fact that there was no railings along the canal, pretty scary but the Dutch children are used to it.

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Souvenirs, not real cannabis but good for tourist.

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Overall Amsterdam was a brilliant experience, I learnt a lot and enjoyed myself. It was definitely a well deserved break away. Until next time

 

Dealing with a child with severe Eczema

Recently I was looking through old photos and I came across some of Micaiah when he was suffering with eczema. It really made me realise how much progress his skin has made, it also make me realise how much he was suffering. I started a Insta Story video and shared a few photos and my experience in dealing with eczema. I was shocked that people reached out and was glad I spoke about it. I decided that this week my blog will be about dealing with eczema to help other parents who may also be suffering.

I will share some images of Micaiah’s skin when it was at its worst state, I will talk about creams I’ve used, steroids and diet. So if you have a child with eczema continue reading or share this post with someone who may benefit from it.

So a quick family background history, I suffered with eczema, so did my partner and Ahaziah. However, I never seen or heard of eczema like Micaiah’s. At 3 months he was diagnosed with eczema. The doctor prescribed hydrocortisone which is a mild steroid, he didn’t suggest any emollient or anything to put in the bath straight to a steroid at 3 months which I thought was strange. The eczema would clear up then flare back up and it began to spread all over his body.

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Micaiah was a clingy baby, he was breastfed and I could not leave him with anyone because he would cry till he would work up himself, get hot, start scratching then bleed. It was a loose loose situation. His eczema used to weap, it would get infected, it would wake him up at nights and it was draining for both of us.

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Micaiah has so many different forms of eczema and some I had never seen before and it was all over this body, head to toe. After weeks and weeks of going to the GP they finally referred me to a GP Dermatologist. In the next section I will talk about some of the emollients I have used. It is important to remember though, every child is different and what may have worked for me may not work for you but trail and error is worth trying.

Emollient

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This cream was really good for about 7 months then after that his skin got used to it and it was no longer effective.

 

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I love the smell of Aveeno, it worked wonders on Ahaziah’s eczema. Unfortunately Micaiah hated it, he would cry each time I put it on him. I even tried again a few months later and he still hated it.

 

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This was really good as well. It is very thick and greasy this is what I was given once seen by dermatologist. This is also when I realised thats for Micaiah’s skin ointments are better than creams.

 

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This is very good as a soap substitute and a daily moisturiser.

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Currently this is what we have been using for well over a year now. This was recommended when he started seeing dermatologist and Kings.

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This is what I use to wash him with in the bath. The regime of washing with this, applying an emollient, then steroids really help.

As you can see we have been through a range of creams and these were the best ones that worked with Micaiah’s skin.

Steroids

Unfortunately steroids is one of the best ways to deal with eczema. Steroids are not good for the skin, they thin it out and for the long term it is not safe to use. However the pain eczema causes sufferers need it. Just imagine a child in pain due to eczema and they can’t tell you. When my eczema flares up as an adult its an irritable uncomforable pain. Micaiah was on steroids for at least 1.5 years non stop. However he hasn’t used any steroids for months, even though he still has bad eczema he doesn’t need it.

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Weakest strength steroid

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Medium strength, general use/ flare up

betnovate-ointment

Very strong

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Very strong

 

The idea of prolonged use of steroids scare me and I hate the effects it eventually have. However when seeing your child suffering you really want to do anything to take it away. I learnt how to use steroids safely by using the fingertip method based on the age of the child which is reassuring. Its also important not to stop steroid applications suddenly. Slowly wean off, so reducing the strength first, then once a day, then every other day etc. If you stop treatment of steroids suddenly it means the bottom half of the skin hasn’t healed and will flare up which will mean longer use of steroids. Micaiah was using steroids daily for a solid year then after a while he didn’t need it. I haven’t applied steroids in months. His skin is not the best but it doesn’t need it. His hands are still the worst area.

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The dermatologist prescribed these ointments to wean him off the steroids but when I found out they were stronger than steroids I stopped using them.

Natural Remedies

I did try natural remedies and they did help but it was a very slow progress I feel this was because his skin was so severe at the time. It wasn’t fair on him to continue with natural remedies when his skin was so bad. These are some of the natural things I tried.

I went to the health food shop and brought oats and use to make him a oat bath. I would put a handful of oats in a sock and let the bath water run though the sock. This would help soften the water.

10137404I also brought this product which was good and gentle on his face. I also picked up some sunflower oil.

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I ordered these products which were really good swell. The daily nourishing spray smells beautiful and you can spray it over the skin. I tried the outbreak repair cream but he didn’t like it. He would cry when I applied it and he had a bit of a reaction.

My cousin made him a cream using coconut oil, lavender oil, olive oil and shea butter. Again it was really good but a slow progress. After that I started experimenting with different oils and making my own creams but his skin was not repairing and it was causing discomfort.

 

Wrapping

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Finally the GP dermatologist referred him to Kings dermatologist department. He had medications for allergies, he had a allergy test and when they saw his skin they decided he should be wrapped. Wrapping is a process that involves applying emollient, steroids then a cotton bandage to hold the moisture for longer. This really made a big difference and helped clear up his eczema.

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 Diet

Due to Micaiah’s skin being so bad her was offered a blood test as oppose to a skin test to test for allergies. The results came back and he was allergic to everything. Dairy, gluten, wheat, nut, oat. They decided to eliminate a few things from his diet at a time. Started off with dairy and no tomatoes. Micaiah used to flare up after eating cooked or raw tomatoes. For about 4 months he was on this diet and his skin was Okay, it wasn’t getting better but it wasn’t getting worse, he then got an ear infection and then flared up. At that point I just got annoyed and said I will give him whatever he wants. I decided to give him oat milk and he was fine. After 1 year and a half at a follow up appointment I was told that if a child has eczema they test positive for everything anyway.

After trial and error and taking things away from his diet I noticed Micaiah hated having different food from anyone. He would take food out his brothers plate and eat what he wanted to eat so then I decided to give him whatever, if/ when he flares up I will just treat with steroids. Tomatoes and dairy was something he struggled with but now his body stopped rejecting it.

Now Micaiah eats and drinks everything. I don’t give him cows milk as it is something we have decided to give up collectively as a family. Now he drinks almond and coconut milk. Micaiah loves cheese and yoghurt. He eats raw and cooked tomatoes. Now Micaiah is happier than ever. The only thing Micaiah does not eat is egg but he will eat baked eggs.

Jamaica

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There is something about sweet Jamaica that worked wonders for his skin. The sun, the heat, the sea water. He came back after 10 days and his skin was beautiful. It wasn’t gone but there was a significant difference. While in Jamaica I used to aloe vera and rubbed in his scalp and skin. 2 days after returning from Jamaica his skin went back to square one!

How I coped as a parent

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This is Micaiah in hospital after a flare up from drinking cows milk. He is just so happy, and that was what got me through, the fact that he smiled through the worse times. As long as he had me he was fine. A lot of times I felt discouraged because anything can cause a flare up, he skin would do so well then all of a sudden weather would change then back to square one. I had weekly appointments at dermatologist and I would always be worried what they would say. People used to come up to me in the street and would recommend different products. I understand they all had good intentions but as a parent it can make you feel like your not doing enough.

Note to parents

Don’t feel discouraged, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Micaiah is 3 years old now and his skin is manageable. He doesn’t use steroids but I have them just as a back up. He continues to use emulsifying ointment and dermal 500 in the bath and I cream him twice a day. Weather change can cause his skin to flare. Heat can cause a flare so I generally keep the house cool and during the summer I strip him down. I thought I would share my experience because I went to hell and back battling with it and hopefully if you are struggling with dealing with a child with severe eczema you now know that you are not alone.

 

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Here are some recent pictures I took this morning to show the progress. It took a while but we got here.

 

2016 Review

What an amazing year!

2016 flew by so fast I didn’t get a chance to sit down and reflect. I achieved so much I didn’t even realise. It was only once I go through my pictures to make my flipagram I was able to look at all the wonderful memories and moments I was blessed to capture. Im going to share a memory from each month which I hope will inspire you to have something to look forward to every month as a goal for 2017. That includes time for yourself, time with your children and time with your partner.

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Colour Run

January

January is always a long month for me because its the month I save the most and just get back into routine after the Christmas holiday.

February

I planned by partners surprise birthday. It was a success, he was surprised and all his friends enjoyed. I then travelled to Cyprus with a few friends during the half term. Check out my Cyprus blog Cyprus February 2016 .

March

On Mothers day I went to my mums for dinner which was lovely. I baked her a cupcake bouquet which was cute. We also went to London Transport Museum in March, which reminds me you get free entry for a year so I should go back for a visit.

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Mothers day bouquet

April

We travelled to Corfu check out the blog here Corfu April 2016. We also celebrated my grandparents 60th Wedding Anniversary. It is such a blessing to be apart of something so special. The gathering they had was amazing and they had a wonderful time. I love family gatherings.

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Grandparents 6oth Anniversary

 May

We Celebrated Ahaziah’s 6th birthday party, he had a Sonic the head hog themed party and had so much fun. I also done the colour run in that month it was fun, tiring and messy. I think it is so important to try things you haven’t tried before.

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London Transport Museum

June

Travelled to New York! My first time in the United States, it was brilliant check out the blog here 3 Days in New York. I also celebrated my birthday in June and had a pole dancing party. It was so much fun, girls, drink and a pole.

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Ahaziah’s 6th Birthday

July

Started off the summer holiday by travelling to Great Yarmouth for a few days. We watched a rock making demonstration which the boys saw how to make rock from scratch.I also done paint balling for the first time, it is painful.

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Great Yarmouth

August

The summer holiday, the most active time of the year for me other than Christmas. The highlights for me this summer was experiencing camping which is now a new tradition, check out the blog here Camping Summer 2016. I also enjoyed seeing how confident Ahaziah was completing Go Ape in Battersea park. I really liked Woburn Safari Park.

September

We celebrated Micaiah’s 3rd birthday. He had a Lion Guard themed arts and craft party which was so much fun preparing. I also went to a cocktail masterclass which was really good, we played games and made cocktails.

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Micaiah’s 3rd Birthday

October

Going to Ireland and staying in a cottage, it was such a peaceful and relaxing experience, check out the blog here Ireland. We also picked our own pumpkins from a pumpkin patch which the boys really enjoyed, check out the blog here Foxes Farm Produce.

 

November

Celebrated 10 years with my partner and started the festive activities!

December

Travelled to Amsterdam for a quick city break with my girls and also travelled to Paris and spent a few days just before christmas in disneyland check out the blog if your planning a cheap getaway to Paris Christmas in Paris.

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Disneyland Paris

 

This year has been a really good year because I made sure we had something to look forward to every month. Being organised is the key, planning your week and month in advance and of course having fun. You only have one life, make it one worth living.

Christmas in Paris

Right, a lot of people have asked, where did you stay? How much did it cost? How did you travel around? Did you take Eurostar or fly? So in this blog I will explain everything so if you decided to go yourself you can get some tips.

First of all I thought about spending Christmas in Disneyland a year in advance. I took the boys to Disney on Ice last Christmas Eve and thought it would be amazing to spend a day in Disneyland Paris so from January 2016 I knew that is what I was going to do. Originally I was only going to spend one day in Disneyland and the other day exploring Paris but the lady who I was travelling with hadn’t been before and wanted to spend two days in the the park instead of one so we went for an extra day.

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In front of the Disneyland Paris Hotel

Hotel

I went to Disneyland Paris when I was about 14 and stayed in the Disneyland Paris hotel and to be honest I don’t even remember it. I remember the corridor and the food and briefly remember characters in the hotel but that is about it. When I took Ahaziah for his birthday we stayed in Kyriad it was a 3 star Disney hotel with a free shuttle to and from the park. The hotel was clean and comfortable and just what we needed for our trip. I booked a hotel and Eurostar deal with Eurostar.

This time we stayed in Kyriad Marne- La- Vallee Torcy it was 3 stops away from Disneyland Paris on train. The room was a bit on the small side but it was clean and comfortable and all we needed for a quick break during Christmas. When I travel I hardly spend any time in the hotel especially for somewhere like Disneyland. So as long as the bathroom and the beds are clean thats all I need. The train station was a 5 min walk from the hotel. There is a massive shopping centre and supermarket 5 mins walk from the hotel. On the first day we went to the supermarket and brought water and snacks so we didn’t have to spend extortionate prices in the park. We also would go to the shopping centre in the mornings for breakfast.

When I book short breaks away I usually use booking.com and use the book now pay later option. That way I know the hotel is secure and I have time to save for it. I book this hotel in January and for 3 nights it cost £209 including city tax.

Eurostar or Flights

Some people say flying into Paris is inconvenient especially if you have children and to be honest it is not that bad. We flew this time because it was cheaper than the Eurostar. Bear in mind if you want to travel by Eurostar it only goes straight into the park on particular days. If you take the Eurostar it takes you straight to Marne- La- Vallee Chessy train station which is a 2 minute walk from the park. So if you plan to go to the park on the same day plan in advance where you will leave your luggage.

We flew from London Heathrow into Charles de Gaulle. We booked the flights in March and it cost £220 for 1 adult 2 children. I usually use sky scanner to find cheap flights and I think this was a good deal. When coming out the station there are tourist guides who will sell train cards, skip the queue Eiffel Tower tickets and other excursions avoid them at all cost! The lady who was helping us did advice us to get tickets from the train station as it would be cheaper. Our hotel, Disneyland Paris and the airport were is zone 5. Paris is in zone 1 so we would need a travel card zones 1-5 for 4 days. The price they were charging was 70 or 90 euros for 1 adult. At that point I had already decided there was no way I was getting Ahaziah a ticket.

We walked towards the train station. It was a 15 minute walk away and they charged 25 euros for 5 days zones 1-5 bargin! We had to take photos in a Photo Booth which did take up a lot of time so if you do plan to get a travel card you can save time by bringing your own passport photo. Ahaziah enjoyed having his own travel card and was able to use it independently with ease. The train journey took under 1 hour and had 1 change.

Disneyland Park Tickets

Its always a good idea to shop around at the time of booking to ensure the best deal for your party. The websites I would recommend is Travel Republic , Attraction- Tickets and 365 Tickets. This year we used 365 tickets as it had the best deal. We got 3 days 2 parks for the price of 2.

Travelling around Paris

Travelling around Paris is very easy and simple. You can get a travel card or daily metro cards for single use depending on how much travelling you decide to do. Most of the stations are accessible for wheelchairs or buggy. Majority stations have escalators or lifts.Travelling around Paris is very similar to travelling around London. You can’t get lost. I love using public transport in other countries and cities, it is the most cost effective and you get to see so much.

Excursions 

Louvre Museum

We went into Paris for the the morning, we went to Galeries Lafayette then after we headed to the Louvere Museum. We didn’t go inside because the boys wasn’t interested plus re really wanted to see it at night. However, the journey into Paris takes under 1 hour and we didn’t think it would be fair on the children. Whenever I see pictures I always see one so I was surprised to see so many pyramids.

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Eiffel Tower 1st floor 

 

Eiffel Tower

I have seen the Eiffel Tower during the day so I really wanted to see it at night. I was so surprised that there was no queue. When I went for my birthday during the day I queued for at least 2 hours so I was surprised to go straight through, especially as it was raining. The Eiffel Tower has an Ice rink inside it during Christmas so if you visit and its not raining I can imagine it being an amazing experience. Bucket List adventure right there.

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River Seine Cruise

We went on a boat along river Seine at night, it was amazing! We used Bateaux Parisians cruise company. The boats run every 30 minutes. The boats are beautiful, there is an open deck upstairs where I was able to get this shot of the boys next to the Eiffel Tower. The cruise provided a commentary in different languages so I was able to hear the history of each landmark in English. Everything looks beautiful at night. We saw the ferris wheel lit up in the colours of the French flag. The Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour for 5 minutes and looks very pretty.

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In front of the Eiffel Tower 

 

Arc de Triomphe 

Sight seeing in Paris. The buildings are so big and beautiful. We saw this monument by chance as we got out the station when we were heading to the Eiffel Tower. It was on our list to do if we had time and initially we wanted to go to the the top. We decided to just walk around it instead.

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Galeries Lafayette 

Is a large department store in Paris. At Christmas they decorate there stores with animation in works of art. Along with Christmas trees and lights the shop windows put on an amazing show featuring animated figures and magical decor. Ahaziah really enjoyed looking at the interactive displays. It is a Parisian tradition to do so it was interesting to participate.

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Galeries Lafayette 

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Cafe Mickey

Cafe Mickey

We wanted to visit Cafe Mickey on Christmas eve and have breakfast with the characters as a pre Christmas treat. I tried to book it in advance but they only take reservations over the phone so we decided to risk it and book when we got there. On the first day we went to the park we went to make a reservation they didn’t have any availability for Christmas eve so we decided to go the day before. Cafe Mickey has a set menu and the food is not the greatest but it is an experience definitely worth doing. The boys created so much memories in here. When we came for Ahaziah’s birthday he had his dinner here, all the characters made a fuss over him and sang to him which bringing out his cake. It is definitely a magical experience.

 

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Every time Micaiah sees a picture of Tigga he says “That tiger was jumping on the table”. The characters stayed in character and was very interactive with the children. Tigga was bouncing over the tables and chairs, it was funny.

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Mickey Mouse

Oh hey Mickey! The star of the show. I was a little bit upset that Minnie was not there this time. I feel like Minnie and Mickey are a pair and should come out together. You wouldn’t have Donald without Daisy would you?

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Eeyore

Eeyore was really in character, he was walking around with the world on his shoulders so sad and hopeless. He did keep himself in character because it would be strange to see him running from table to table.

 

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Pluto

Cheeky Pluto, he kept putting our ears in our faces so we couldn’t take a good photo. Micaiah keeps telling me Pluto rubbed him whiskers on his cheek.

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Goofy

Goofy kept going behind people and scaring them. He was very funny.

Disneyland Paris

Character Meet and Greet

The queues to meet the characters are not that long, 10- 20 minutes. They do go on breaks but they usually come back with 5 minutes. If you  have an autograph book they will sign it for you. We didn’t bring an autograph book this year because last time we didn’t see much characters so I didn’t think it was worth it but it would have been. They take official Disneyland Paris photos of you along with taking pictures with your own camera.

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Woody

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The boys will not stop stroking there chin like Jafar was. They loved him.

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Buzz Lightyear 

 

Disney Park

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One of my highlights of Disneyland. The Christmas Disney Dreams is amazing! The fireworks, the water, the lasers projected onto sleeping beauty’s castle. You cannot go to disneyland and not stay for disney dreams. It is on everyday make sure you see it!

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Toy Story Parachute drop

 

There are plenty of rides for Micaiah to go on. With our tickets it included fast pass which we didn’t get a chance to use but it is a great way to plan an effective day at disney. You can use fast pass for popular rides and get 30 min slots to return to ride. You can only get 1 fast pass every hour. Queue times reduces drastically when the park is due to close so we would go to Walt Disney Studios 1 hour or so before closing and wait 15 minutes max for one ride.

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The decor at Christmas is beautiful. It looks amazing during the day and breath taking at night. Everything is so magical.

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Disney Parade

The Disney Parade is another highlight of Disneyland. You get to see all your famous disney characters as they come round on the float they wave and smile at you. At Christmas they have the normal parade plus they have a Christmas parade which is on twice a day. It is amazing! It blew my expectations away. All the characters floats have christmas decor and the characters have christmas attire. Santa, Gingerbread men, Reindeers and Elf’s also have a float.

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle all lit up

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Sleeping Beauty castle during the day

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Christmas Decor in Disney Park

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Christmas decor in Disney Village

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Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Overall we had a brilliant time in Paris during Christmas. It was a nice cheap and cheerful trip. There was so much to do and see and we managed to do so much. I heard there is a Lapland in Paris so I’m sure we will be back soon. Christmas in Paris, you have been good to us! Until next time….

Bucket List 2017

Places to Visit

Cuba

Croatia

Iceland

Toronto

Scotland

Switzerland

Cornwall

Wales

Antigua

Barbados

Florida

Tanzania

Morocco

Sainte Martine

Santorini

Dubai

Things to Do

Swim with Dolphins

Indoor Skydiving

Abseiling

Fly in a hot air balloon

Visit Taj Mahal

Visit the Grand Canyon

Ride a camel through the desert

Horseback riding

Swim with turtles

Stay in a igloo

Skydive

Visit Egyptian pyramids

Swim with elephants

Ride an elephant

Road trip through Europe

Escape room experience

Jet packing