Family Travel

My top tips for making sure you are Lapland ready

When we first booked Lapland almost a year ago I read a lot about going to Finnish Lapland. Knowing that the temperatures would be colder than we had ever experienced. So making sure we knew what to take with us was essential. I have put together a my top tips for making sure you are Lapland ready.

How to dress

Layers, get those layers on. The temperatures can drop to -30 so you will need a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer. I have bought us all thermal base layers, and in fact most of these came from Aldi during their ski week at the start of the year. Fleece tops for the mid layer and then included within the holiday package I added in our the snowsuits.

We made sure that the winter coats we bought were suitable for the snowy weather, for us to wear on the flights. I have bought the children snow boots, me and the hubby will be wearing our walking boots with an extra pair of socks to travel in. I also added snow boots to our holiday package when we booked it, so we will all be able to change into them when we arrive.

Socks, I have opted for ski socks for us all. Buying them from various places but Bridgedale kindly sent us some socks to take with us. They are alpine thermal ski socks, perfect for keeping your feet warm.

Cabin wear

All the reviews I read on the cabins we are staying in, and they all say they are really warm, so making sure you have light weight clothing with you. We are planning to just take our pj’s and onesies with us to wear in the cabin. Along with a couple of pairs of jeans and tops just encase we need them.

Accessories

So, not only do you need the basic hat, scarfs and gloves that you would use at home during the winter months. You will also need ski gloves, we have decided to for a light pair of wool gloves then a pair of ski mittens to go over the top for that extra layer to keep your hands nice and toasty warm. It also means that you are easily able to take off your mittens to do up your coat or pick something up while you are still keeping that of warmth on your hands. You will also need neck snoods or neck gaiters to help keep covered as much as possible and protected from the cold.

Believe it or not you will need sun glasses and sun lotion. Although it will be cold up on the mountains it can be sunny so stay safe and take some with you. Coola Sun Care kindly send us some items to take away to help keep us all sun safe while away. We might still buy the children some last minute ski googles to with us, but at the moment I have got their sun glasses ready to take.

We will be taking hand warmers and torches as they only have around 5 hours of day light during the winter months.

As I wear glasses and on occasion contact lenses, I was worried about my glasses either steaming up, freezing and me not being able to see. I then started to worry that my contact lenses would freeze to my eyes…. yeah I know crazy right! Well after doing a bit of research I found that using my contact lenses would be the best option.

Having read that the cabins wifi is very unreliable, we have just bought a little EE wifi puck to take with us. Although we are going to be out and about as much as possible, if the TV is not very child friendly, we will be able to watch things on their iPads if we need to. Plus I am able to do a bit of work if needed.

Food and Drink

From the people I have spoken to have said how expensive it is to eat out in Finland. As we do not have any food included within our trip, we plan to eat out quite a bit. However in Finland you are able to take food items with you in your suitcase. So we plan to take some basics with us, breakfast cereals, tea, coffee, snacks for the children just enough to keep us going and have something in the cabin.

I have read about the supermarkets selling items in bulk like dishwasher tablets or wash power, so I shall make sure we pack a few bits for just encase we need them.

Apparently the pizza’s in Levi are amazing, so that is one thing we will be trying out. Followed by some other local dishes, my Hubby is much more adventurous with foods than I am, so I am sure he will be trying whatever local items he can.

Flying to Finnland

Before we head away on 07:20 flight from Manchester airport we will be staying over at The Clayton hotel that also has secure parking. We shall travel up to Manchester the day before and enjoy a nice meal in the hotel before heading to bed early…. not sure I will be able to sleep I am just to excited. Plus we still haven’t told the children yet, so they are going to be so exited when we tell them, well I hope they will be.

On the flights, I shall be taking my beautiful Mia Tui flight bag, packed with all the essentials. Tickets, passports, snacks for the children, a book for me, wet wipes, a scarf and probably a range of other items I will not need but include anyway. Oh and make up… I shall be needing that.

I shall pack the children up an activity kit each, so they have some new bits to read and play with on the flights. My son will have a new book, a word search book, a magazine, also a drawing pad and pens. My daughter will have a colouring book, pens, a magazine, a book for us to read to her. They will both have a packet of sweets and we will be taking their headphones and iPads. All inside their own backpack, so they don’t fail out, along with a new blanket each and travel pillows. On the last flight we went on back in May we they both got a bit cold and would have benefited from travel pillows, so I thought I would get them one each.

My Hubby will also take a his back pack, again with a book, his reading glasses, snacks, and he will have everyones hat, scarfs and gloves.

Technology

Of course no holiday is complete without taking my camera and tripod. I will be taking an extra battery for my DSLR camera. I have read that with the temperatures getting down so low that the batteries do not last very long, so we shall be taking an extra one out and about with us at all times. Our iPhones batteries are also not expected to last very well, so I will also be taking my power banks with us. I just can’t bare the thought to missing out on some fabulous images. I shall also be taking my mac book so I can upload the photographs each night. The tripod will be coming with us for nights out in search of the Northern Lights.

I am so excited about going on this trip, it has been planned for the last year and will be a magical trip for our family.

If you can think of anything we will need for our magical trip to Lapland, please let me know.

We are going to Lapland

That’s it I cannot keep it in any longer……. we are going to Lapland. Actual Lapland. I am so very excited I just had to share it with you all.

Going To Lapland

Although parenting things are not the normal find on my blog, this was just to exciting not to tell you about. Since having the children we like so many families visit Santa each year. We have for the last few years had a Christmas weekend at the start of December, we have visited some fabulous grottos, Christmas markets, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, The Polar Express on Weardale Railway and last year we visited Lapland UK. Lapland UK was the most amazing experience we had been on as a family from start to finish it was fabulous. But to top that we decided that the only way to do that was to go to actual Lapland in Finland.

Our trip to Finnish Lapland was booked almost a year ago and the children still don’t know we are going. I had spoken with a friend who had visited a couple of times when his children were younger, he gave me lots of advise about not going on a set Santa trip but to book it all separately. Which is exactly what we did, he also recommended that we used holiday company Inghams. He said they offered the best prices, he was not wrong.

Finding our perfect holiday

I had looked at a few options but we decided to book it all separately. Inghams offer Finnish Lapand trips to Ylläs, Saariselka and Levi, after reading about them we decided that Levi was the best place for us. Although Levi is the biggest of the ski resorts, it also offers the most for the children with extra activities, restaurants and supermarkets. It is also only a 20 minute transfer from Kittilä airport.

We already knew that we wanted to stay in a cabin, we wanted to be able to open the door and step onto the snow (eeek….. real thick magical snow). The cabins we chose were the Immelmokit Cabins they are a fairly basic 3 star cabin, however they offer everything we need, plus they have really good reviews with lots of returning customers.

The Immelmokit Cabins are about 400 meters out of the resort centre, they are on the edge of the resort. Just far enough away to be quiet yet close enough to get to everything we need. The other thing that drew my attention to these cabins was that they are set very near a Lake Immeljarvi and away from all of the light pollution of the resort, giving me the best chance to cross seeing the Northern Lights off my bucket list.

Our activities

Choosing out activities was the easy bit, there are a lots of different trips that you can choose, we decided to pick 4 different options. Knowing that during the week we would have some time playing in the snow. However should we decide to add another trip while there we could do with the Inghams reps.

The Reindeer Safari and Sámi Farm

The Reindeer Safari & Sámi Farm visit, this is a local trip only 15 minutes away. Where you get to feed the reindeer, learn about the Sámi farmers and their way of life, reindeer herding and lassoing. We opted for the 3km scenic sleigh ride costing from £45 an adult and £29 a child. After your sleigh ride you get to go back to the family house to enjoy coffee (I am hoping for tea) and cake.

The Husky Safari

The Husky Safari was our next pick, visiting the local husky farm. We get to drive the Husky pulled sleds before heading in to a Kammi hut for a hot drink and a snack. With prices starting from £35 for adults and £19 for children.

The Lainio Snow Hotel

I really wanted to visit a snow hotel, so we have booked a visit to Lainio Snow Hotel. It is an evening coach trip that gives you the chance of seeing the Northern Lights on the way. During this visit you get a guided tour of the snow village, seeing all of the ice sculptures and get to see the snow hotel bedrooms. Then you get the chance to have a drink in the ice bar. Although I would have loved to have had an over night stay, it is not really suitable for the children. Prices for the trip start at £25 for adults and £16 for children.

Santa’s Elves Hideaway

Of course with a 8 year old and a 4 year old a trip to see Santa was the top of the list. There are a couple of options but we choose the Santa’s Elves Hideaway, which is a 2.5 hour trip but it is only 15 minutes away from Levi. Santa’s Elves Hideaway is set in a the forest, we will get to meet the reindeer, attend Elf school, do some gingerbread baking before enjoying some snow fun and meeting the big man in red. Each family is given a private meeting with Santa. Prices start from £55 an adult and £45 per child.

The Aurora Cabins

Inghams have also kindly offered us an over night stay in one of their Aurora Cabins while we are away. We am so excited to be staying in one of these cabins with a glass roof so we can lay in bed and look up at the stars and fingers cross have the chance to see the Northern Lights.

I cannot wait to go, it’s going to be a trip of a life time. I cannot wait to tell the children, any idea’s on how best to surprise them please let me know.

 

My Top 5 UK City Breaks

top 5 uk city breaks

The Hubby and I love a UK city break. More often than not, its a family trip. However on the odd occasion, when we have a couple of child free nights, its great to get away. When we look for a couple of nights away we like to choose different cities. The UK has many stunning places to visit. The UK has some of the most culture rich cities in the world, each steeped in history.

We have chosen our top 5 UK cities to visit, York, Edinburgh, Bath, Cardiff and of course, our capital city, London.

York

top 5 uk city breaks

York is my most favourite place to visit. Having stayed on many occasion both with and without children. Each visit we find a new corner of this amazing city we haven’t yet explored or a new favourite thing to do. This city is packed with history, visiting the Jorvik centre is a great way to learn about Yorks Viking history. It’s not just somewhere for children but great for adults as well. We have visited alone and with the children.

Walking though the shambles, seeing all the old shop fronts, popping in and out of the little shops. Just watch out for the cobbles. There are also lots of lovely antiques shops to wonder around. York Minister is a beautiful thing just to look at, even if you don’t go inside. However if you do, make sure you ‘climb the central tower’ it takes you up on to the roof walk, so gives you the best views of the city.

York is packed full of places to visit, restaurants, bars, unique shops. Not forgetting the famous afternoon teas at Bettys.

York is well worth a visit.

Edinburgh

top 5 uk city breaks

Edinburgh is a beautiful old city, full of cobbled streets and little alleys full of stylish boutiques. One thing I just love about Edinburgh is it’s city centre. It’s quite small so you can easily walk everywhere. Not having to jump on a tube or bus to see something new. Edinburgh has recently been named the UK’s Greenest City. You’re never far from rolling hills and lush inner city parks.

If you want to make the most of your trip to Edinburgh why not book a personal city guide, they will help you explore the city and fill you in on its rich history. Just make sure you visit Edinburgh castle, it dominates the city sky line and gives you some of the best views of the city.

No trip to Scotland is complete without Whisky (not Whiskey!), luckily there are lots of Whisky bars to choose from while you are there. Plus there are lots of different hotels and accommodation options to pick.

Bath

top 5 uk city breaks

Bath is another of the UK’s most beautiful cities. In fact it is the only entire city to have been awarded the accolade of World Heritage Site. Bath is the only place in the UK you can bathe in naturally hot spa water and home to the Roman Baths. People have been visiting Bath for over a thousand years just to experience the naturally warm, mineral rich waters.

The City of Bath is famous for its Cresent’s, housing the most in the UK. The Royal Cresent is beautiful to visit, showing off the largest collection of Georgian architecture in the UK.

If you are wanting a relaxing trip to Bath, you should visit the Thermae Bath Spa in the city centre. Relax in the thermal waters and enjoy the roof top swimming pool, that gives you great views of the city. Something that I would love to do, but haven’t been able to just yet… one day.

There are many other fabulous places to visit, including Bath Abbey, or take a walk around the city on the National Trust Sky Walk Trail.

Of course, shopping is brilliant in Bath, with local boutiques and high street stores set within Georgian buildings. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels so Bath has something for everyone. Having written this post I cant wait to start planning our next trip to Bath.

Cardiff

top 5 uk city breaks

 

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. Home to many historic houses, Dr Who, the Millennium Stadium and the newly developed Bay area. The National Opera house is meant to be an amazing place to visit, so it is on the list for our next trip to Cardiff.  Cardiff Bay is the largest water front development in Europe, which has transformed the dockland into an attraction all on its own.

Full of great restaurants and little bars, there is something for everyone in Cardiff. There are also plenty of hotels and B & B’s to cover all price ranges. The National Museum and Art Gallery is free to enter and has a stunning room of rocks and minerals, just amazing. There is also the Royal Mint experience, great for families too.

Cardiff is full of history. There are lots of Ghost walks all around the city, allowing you to have some fun but also learn about the history along the way. If you are planning a city break, Cardiff should be at the top of your list.

London

top 5 uk city breaks

London is our capital city, the hub of British history, fashion, business and tourism. Not forgetting our Royal Family. London is busy, but amazing. I have loved every trip we have made to London. Being a day trip on the train or a couple of nights staying in a cute boutique hotel in Covent Garden.

One thing we haven’t done is a open bus tour, which is the plan for our next visit. They take you around to all of the major sights: Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Big Ben, West Minster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, London Bridge… the list is endless. It’s a great way of taking in the sights. But that isn’t all London has to offer, with the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and The London Dungeons there is so much to do in London with or without children.

Shopping is just brilliant in London. If you can’t find something in London, it’s unlikely you will find it on any other high street. Designer shops, boutiques, vintage shops and high street stores can all be found on the streets of London. Not forgetting the vibrant, multicultural markets.

Food is at the heart of life in London, with some of the most renowned restaurants in the country. So finding a great place to eat isn’t a problem, just make sure you book a table. There are clubs and bars are all over the city so night life in London is always exciting. Don’t forget to book in for afternoon tea in one of the many hotels in London, I love afternoon tea anyway but afternoon tea in London just seems more special.

London is a wonderful place to visit, it’s something that people either love to do or hate. I love it and would highly recommend that everyone goes at least once to see our capital city.

So there are my top picks for UK city breaks, York, Bath, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London.

What’s your favourite city in the UK to visit?