I love Vienna. It has been voted to the most liveable city of the world for a reason. I’ve visited plenty of times, however, never with my children until a few weeks ago. Naturally, this time it was a completely different experience, just as we did expect it to be. Not so much of Aperol-Spritzing and Museum Quartier visiting. You can’t just drag your young children along whilst visiting galleries, markets and trendy restaurants. If you plan ahead though, everyone can get something of what they wanted. City tripping with a toddler and a baby sounds challenging but it it’s not impossible!
Start with booking the right accommodation. We stayed in serviced apartments this time, because we knew that we won’t be able to eat out in the evenings. That is one thing we needed to give up. Keeping their usual bedtime routine meant, that they were able to cope a lot better, it’s something they are both (all of us, in fact) heavily rely on. We also needed space, which an average hotel room just doesn’t provides. (The hotelier inside me is gasping in horror now.) So we booked Anyna Apartments, which was OK (price-wise and staff -wise good, but with some small security and other issues) and close to transport links, near a big park with playgrounds and supermarkets.
When the weather is nice, then of course there’s plenty to do. But when it’s raining or it’s too cold outside it can be a bit tricky to entertain small children. So, my list contains a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. However, avoid traveling in winter, as lots of outdoor attractions are closed. Also better to avoid places like Nashmarkt. Whilst it’s one of Vienna’s famous attractions and it’s great fun as a grown up, it’s most definitely no fun as as a parent of small children. It’s very busy, there are a lot of hot food stations, smokers and things to grab from the stalls. (Yes, the experience is talking.)
One if the oldest amusement parks in the world offers a lot of fun small rides for the minis. If they can’t ride on their own, because they are too young, parents can accompany them. There’s no entry fee to the Prater, you just need to pay for the rides (cash only). Plenty of options for food, from small kiosk-type street food to a proper restaurant. Open from March till October. The mini rides are relatively cheap: cost between EUR 2-4 each.
Vienna has lots of playgrounds, they are all very clean and well maintained, most of them has small swings, slides and sand pits for the littlest.
3. Zoom Children’s Museum
Zoom is quite big, suitable for children of all age. For the minis (8 months to 6 years) particularly, it has a play and adventure area called The Ocean, with a glittering water grotto, a mirror tunnel and a coral reel with tickly anemones. They can explore a ship deck and play role games, untie knots, turn the ship’s wheel or communicate with the lighthouse. Entry fee: EUR 3 for a child (free admission for one adult per child); extra adults pay EUR 5.
4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
Sitting on the top deck of the bus when the weather is sunny and pointing to all the exciting things to see is great fun for small children. (They are also prepared for the bad weather with a cover.) There are 6 routes and 50 stops. From EUR 22.50 per person.
5. Cake Time!
No Vienna experience is complete without a cafe house visit. And that means: it’s time for a cake! The traditional cafe houses are not exactly children friendly and booking is always required. Also, at some places smoking is still allowed (Austrians love their cigarettes.) and normally a separate room is dedicated to that, but obviously you can smell the smoke all over the cafe. However, places like Aida and Oberlaa are more relaxed and welcoming towards children. (No smoking is allowed at all, either.)
6. Schoenbrunn Zoo
Schoenbrunn Zoo is considered one of the best zoos in the world. The animal compounds have a decent sized living area and designed to imitate their natural habitat as much as possible. More than 700 kinds of animal live in the zoo. It’s a fun place for small and big children. There’s also a huge nature trail and an educational forest trail, which I really liked. Unfortunately, not too many options for buying food and drink once inside the zoo in April when we visited, more in summertime. The little train wasn’t operating either, which was a shame as my little boy is a huge fan of trains. Entry fee is EUR 18.50 for adults, free for children under 6.
7. Schoenbrunn Maze And Labyrinthikon Playground
Bobcat really liked both the maze and the playground. And watching the fantastic water fountain. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the palace park. The playground is really cool and it has unusual elements as well as classic toys: climbing poles with sounds, jumping station, puzzles and water gargoyles. He especially liked the water features and marvelled the huge eagle-shaped climbing frame, but he was too small to climb that. But there was plenty of other things for smaller children, so we spent a few hours there. Open from April till November. Entry fee: EUR 5.50 for adults and EUR 3.20 for children.
8. Family Fun
It’s a huge amusement park for children, with a section called Kiddyworld, where even the smallest kids can enjoy themselves too. There’s trampolines, ball pools, a magic climbing tree, and some more. I’d say it’s probably from 1 year up, depending on the child’s capabilities. The toddlers will love it. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.90, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 3.50
9. Riding An Old Tram
Simply 🙂 Very old, vintage trams are still in every day use in Vienna. Some of them are more than 50-60 years old with wooden benches. They are one of the coolest things to see, so don’t miss our on a Ring-ride, especially if you have a transport and vehicle maniac 3 years old, like us. Just buy a ticket and complete a whole Ring loop, it’s really good fun.
10. Bogi Park
It’s a huge indoor playground for children aged between 1 and 12. Again, I’m sure even some active babies can enjoy it, and recently they started to do Baby Mondays. For very small children, they have bouncy castles, slides, ball pools, small climbing installations. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.50, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 4
11. Donau Insel
The Danube Island is very popular amongst the locals, there’s so much to see and do for the whole family! There’s a family beach, which is protected by a number of small islands surrounding the beach and the water no more than one meter deep. Absolutely fantastic in summertime. There’s also a free water playground with a separate splashing area for under 3’s and a trampoline center. Free entry.
12. Horse carriege ride (fiaker)
One of the tourists favourites, an absolute must do. The children loved it, it’s a leisurely ride (really slow, very safe with being small children on board) around the historic inner city area. You can find them parking all around the old town, just hop on one. It’s normally a half an hour and prices vary, around EUR 50.
13. Cobenzl City Farm
Meet and get to know the farm animals at a working farm producing organic goods. You’ve got pony rides, a nature trail and yummy cakes to buy. Entry fee: EUR 18 for kids and EUR 28 for adults.
14. Danube Boat Tour
The shortest tour takes around 1.5 hours, it’s a lovely, cultured thing to sit on the top deck in the sunshine. Waiving to the other boats and to people strolling at the river bank, it’s a relaxing cruise on the river. It’s operating from April till October (with the heating on when needed). There’s also a restaurant or bar on all the cruise ships. Prices vary.
15. Inner City Parks
When everything fails, just let them run around in a lovely, well manicured, safe park. There are plenty of them: the Stadtpark, the Volksgarten, the Burggarten, the Sigmund Freud Park and more.
I love milestone cards and the ones from Tantrum XYZ are just so cute, that I thought I have to share them with you. Great little find. And they are free!
Simply navigate to the website, pick your card, then select your photo, drag it to the desired position and done! Save it or share it straight on social media.
Not only milestone cards, but other funny photo filters are available. You’ve got the choice of the colour or the black and white designs. (I think the black and white photos with the colourful stickers look slightly better than the other way around.) They are the work of Giles and Cecilie Studio and absolutely adorable!
Tantrum.xyz is actually a parenting site, an online platform with articles, apps, products, videos, tools and widgets that are loved by parents.
I have thousands of photos of the little ones. Who hasn’t? Yes, I also share them on social media. I’m proud of them. Who doesn’t? They are so cute I just can’t keep all this cuteness to myself, can I? 🙂 But hey, I also enjoy looking at photos of my friends’ babies and yes, hate to listen to people moaning about how pictures of children and weddings are flooding their newsfeeds. Really? Get a grip. That’s life.
So I was invited to review an application called First Baby Moments, which creates cute stickers for your mobile photos. You can label them by age or by milestones.
They look like these:
Quite cute 🙂
The app has a very simple and clean layout, there’s only a few options so it’s easy to follow the instructions. It does what it promises: you select the photo, then select the sticker card, stick it wherever you prefer on the photo and just save it or post it instantly to your social media accounts. Easy. There’s 83 very cute cards to choose from and on the app’s homepage you’ll find some printable post cards.
What I love the most are the milestone and age category stickers. The other day, I was trying to find Bobcat’s first smiley photos and this sticker would have made it a lot easier to find them.
You can also print them for an album or send a monthly pic to the grandparents.
Ibiza is forever in my heart since I lived there for a few years. Forget about the notorious party island fame, you can take children and they will love there!
The sandy beaches are very safe for children: they are clean, the water is shallow and warm, and most of them has at least one small beach bar (chiringuito) serving fresh food. Small towns like Santa Eulalia, San Rafael or Santa Gertrudis are especially perfect for families being a bit away from the hustle and bustle, but they still provide you with everything: great restaurants, folklore, markets, beaches. Spain is famous for being family and children friendly: you will see a lot of small children eating out till quite late, running on the promenade or visiting the night market at Las Dalias with the parents.
By booking a villa with The Villa Shop you get the best of everything. You can find a villa of 2-3 bedrooms to 6-7 bedrooms and the villa portfolio stretches across the island. It’s a small island, so luckily nothing is too far from the sea.
Their experts will help you to find the best fit for you in terms of budget (with price match guarantee), location and anything you might find important. It’s a tailored customer service which will enable you to enjoy your holiday and not to worry about thing. The Concierge360 service is there for you to if you need a baby sitter, a car to rent (you will need a car on the island) someone to cook (either every meal or just an occasional), a driver for a night out or if you want to go for a boat trip. Just to mention a few. The concierge service is available 24/7.
The company also keeps a few villas in the portfolio on the island of Formentera. The tiny island is one of the most beautiful gems of the world. In my humble view, you can compare its sparkling clean water and white sandy beaches to the Maldives. It’s just a lot more private, a lot less well-known and it isn’t rammed with tourists. If you are staying on Ibiza island, it is still worth to take a boat trip and visit Formentera, you won’t regret it.
There’s a lot to do on the island with children. Check out Aquarium Cap Blanc which is great entertainment for the whole family, equally perfect for small and big people. More water fun available at AguaMar Water Park For bigger children (8 years old onwards) Arcobosc Ibiza could be a great adventure located in a natural park in the region of Es Canar. The famous Las Dalias Market is open every day in summertime and they also do night markets (from 7pm). The original hippy market of the island offers lots of fun for children and adults too. If you are after more modern and quirky things to buy, visit Sluiz Ibiza, it’s a great concept shopping experience for the children too and they also run a restaurant which is worth a try. There’s a lot of cute and chain stores too in Ibiza town. Food wise, in Ibiza, you can’t go wrong. Let it be a chiringuito on the beach, a famous beach bar, a Spanish restaurant in Dalt Vila (old town of Ibiza) you’ll find great food, prepared with love and passion everywhere. Everyone’s favourite is La Paloma near Santa Gertrudis, is famous for its organic, healthy and new wave kitchen, in a picturesque setting. Or try Pura Vida near Santa Eulaila.
We travel to Barcelona every year or two because I love there, it’s one of my favourite places in Europe. I lived in Spain for a few years, it feels like home 🙂 It’s always good fun, very child-friendly and a lot warmer in March than in London.
This time we wanted to be near the beach but still close to town and just go for long walks and relax. A long weekend with spa experience and great Spanish food. So we booked SB Hotel Diagonal Barcelona Zero which was very convenient for the beach, as it’s just on the other side of the road. Not too bad transport links, tram stops just outside the hotel. They also booked us a travel cot (nearly new, good quality) free of charge. We were very impressed with the breakfast: from grilled vegetables for your scrambled eggs to churros with chocolate sauce they had everything. They even had a dedicated kids’ breakfast section – unfortunately, mainly with stuff which would exceed an adult’s daily sugar intake: pink sugar coated doughnuts, sugary cereal and yogurt, chocolate pastries, chocolate pretzel sticks etc. So cover those little eyes when entering the breakfast room. Two things we were really unhappy with: firstly, that we couldn’t enter the spa with Bobcat being under 14 years old. The information they have provided to Hotels.com is deliberately misleading: Hotel Information on Hotels.com, not saying a word about extra fees (not only the treatments cost money which is normal, but just to enter the spa too) or the age limit (14 years old. Really???). So, there goes our getaway spa experience out the window. When telling this to the receptionist she simply replied: apart from the age rules, I can’t use it anyway, because I’m pregnant and the chemicals in the water might be harmful. And it’s just a jacuzzi anyway. If we’ve known about this, we would not have booked this place. The other thing was that the door lock was broken and the door didn’t close properly. So they sent a handyman to fix it. On the photo below you can see the AFTER repair state.
Apart from having nice walks down at the beach and stopping at every single playground (Barcelona has loads of playgrounds and they are great), this occasion we went to Barcelona Zoo, where Bobcat had some fun with feeding goats. It was just very sad to see how small space the animals get in a small European zoo. Not only in Barcelona. They are just old, founded in the 19th century, and in those days no one cared about animal rights. It was heartbreaking to see the cheetach walking up and down in its cage, seemingly beyond stressed.
The City Park though, never dissappoints. We went for a walk after the zoo, stopped at the playground again of course.
Barcelona is always a great getaway choice with kids. From early spring the weather is very plesant.
Have you ever tried to go on a ski holiday with small kids or babies? If you have then you’ll know that you usually need to take everything with you. It can take a lot of time to research and plan childcare, family-friendly restaurants and the best ski schools for you and your family.
Le Chardon Val d’Isere have everything you need for a perfect, stress-free family ski holiday. The 5 traditionally designed ski in / ski out luxury ski chalets located in Val d’Isere in the French Alps are easily accessible from Chambery, Geneva or Lyon airports. All major European cities also have trains going to Bourg St. Maurice, which is just 19 miles from beautiful Val d’Isere.
The smallest chalet has 5 en-suite rooms and the largest has 10 rooms, so you can plan your holiday for small or big families. Each luxury ski chalet is individually and tastefully designed and equipped with everything you need for a relaxing holiday.
They offer a 5* concierge service who can arrange highly qualified nannies for babies and toddlers so for a change, mummy can ski too and just pop back to the chalet for feedings. All the chalets have sledges, high chairs, cots, DVDs and games. Private or group ski lessons and ski hire for the older children and family can be arranged with the option of boot fittings done in your own chalet. When you’re not on the slopes, there’s plenty of family fun activities such as husky rides, ice karting, ice skating or a visit to the Aquasportif Centre in the village is always a popular choice. All chalets are equipped with a sauna or outdoor hot tub and you can also book in a massage with Le Chardon’s very own wellness therapists.
I think the best feature is the 5* dining with every meal prepared by your own chalet chef. Using the finest local produce, your chef will create a bespoke menu especially for you and your family. Each chalet also operates an open bar policy including fine wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. So, you don’t have to worry about finding child friendly restaurants that will suit your children’s daily meal schedules. You don’t have to drive to get to a restaurant or waste your precious time with cooking. You don’t have to worry about the menu and whether picky toddlers will eat it or not. They can go to bed at the usual time and have breakfast in their pyjamas!
Their concierge service will provide everything you may need from airport transfers including champagne picnics to ski hire. If you wanted a private flight to Geneva Airport and back – that’s not a problem either.
The French Alps are also beautiful after the snow has melted and a popular destination for active families. The area provides wonderful mountain walking routes, mountain biking possibilities, hiking, trekking, via ferratas, rafting or even glacier skiing.
If you’d like to find out more about Le Chardon Mountain Lodges for your next luxury ski holiday then check their availability and prices. Most chalets are booked on a chalet basis, however shared chalets options are occasionally available.
And to celebrate Easter, Le Chardon are running a competition until 21 March ’16 to win a fabulous Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Truffles gift. To be in with a chance of winning, head to http://www.lechardonvaldisere.com/fortnum-mason-easter-giveaway/to enter.
Sure enough, I’m not alone with my mum telling me that baby powder is a must. I should use it after bath in the evening and in the morning to help to maintain dry skin and avoid rashes. Especially in the summer months. And the wonderful “baby” smell of it! Throughout decades the baby powder’s smell was the very definition how an actual baby smells. And I obediently used it for a little while with Bobcat. Until I’ve learned, that almost all my mum’s (and my mother-in-law’s, who’s a trained midwife btw) advises can go straight to the bin from putting babies down to sleep on their tummy to using baby powder.
So I’ve done my own research and here’s what I found
The short answer is: no, you should better not. There’s no need for it anyway. If you want to know why, keep reading. Let’s talk about first that we can differentiate talc based baby powder and corn starch based baby powder. And some others too, but let’s stick to these two. In light of the recent news about the Johnson&Johnson Talcum Powder Scandal let’s see why talc is dangerous. (Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy. Which I’m sure will eventually do a huge damage for the brand itself. Understandably.) And this isn’t a new thing! Check out this NHS page from 2008: Talcum Powder And Ovarian Cancer
Talc is a mineral containing elements of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. We know it as a crushed version, powder and it absorbs moisture and helps cut down on friction, so it keeps skin dry and helps prevent rashes. (It is also widely used in other cosmetic products like facial powder and eyeshadow just to name a few.) Talc that contain asbestos can cause cancer if it is inhaled. All talcum products have been (should be) asbestos-free since the 1970s. There is less clear evidence about the asbestos-free talc. Turns out, that inhaling it, just one form of damaging yours and the baby’s health. It has been suggested that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. (According to the American Cancer Society) However, experts argue over the potential risk is being small.
There is still a lot of research going on. But I, for one rather ditch talcum powder. The other option is cornstarch based baby powder, or any other talc-free baby powder. But these ones can also be inhaled and like any concentration of the finest particles in the air, can cause breathing trouble and lung damage if we inhale the particles. It’s also hard to keep them out of the air during use. Also, yeast (which can cause nappy rash) feed on corn starch.
In case you decide to use baby powder, go for the talc-free ones. Still, use it sparingly. First, put the powder on your hands, then apply it. Never put it directly on your baby by squeezing the tub. Keep the powder container well out of reach of children. To prevent skin irritation, don’t allow powder to build up. If your baby’s face does become covered in talc, take her to the A&E. No brainers, I know.
As Ob-gyn Dr. Carmit Archibald, M.D., co-owner of Upper East Side Gynecology and an assistant clinical professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said it in this Vogue interview recently: “Powders should really only be used in preventing or treating specific conditions if directed by a doctor; they are not otherwise recommended as part of a daily hygiene routine.” (Vouge: Could Talcum Powder Cause Cancer? Here’s What You Need to Know )
Bottomline? The good news is you don’t need them. Drying well with a towel will do. In case of rashes you will need to use a cream based product anyway and not powder. Bobcat has a sensitive skin, can go dry very easily so that’s another reason for me not use any.
What do you use? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
The Gro Company sent me one of their fabulous Grobags to review it. It is quite an easy task: I know and use their products since Bobcat was born (I mean, Bobcat uses them), and I am very pleased with them.
I picked this cute nautical design wich goes well with Bobcat’s room decor: True Blue Stripes 18-36m 2.5 Tog Grobag This sleeping bag is the usual great Grobag quality, super soft cotton, 2,5 tog for the recent cold nights. It’s been washed already, still like new, but I expect that it will not bobble or fade for a long time (just like the previous ones didn’t).
We started to use sleeping bags soon after his birth, as he always hated to be swaddled. All babies are different. But what’s a new mum got to do when her 10 days old child screams his head off when being swaddled? So I bought sleeping bags and he was perfectly fine with it from day one. He always slept on his back as a young baby, so no problem there. In the sleeping bag he could freely move his legs but it still kept him nice and warm, but not too warm. The tog rating is a great indicator and I used a Gro Egg thermometer to monitor the room temperature. As a first time mum you worry a lot (basically all the time), but at least one item is off of your worry-list when you use Grobag and Gro Egg thermometer. I then later bought different make of sleeping bags too, but never one came close to the quality of the Gro products. I especially liked their summer lightweight sleeping bags of 0,5 and 1 tog, what we used on summer holiday. And they are so cute too!
We still use sleeping bags with Bobcat being 23 months old now. He doesn’t like pillows and he keeps kicking the blanket off. He tosses and turns a lot during the night. Here’s a few pics about his normal sleeping positions. You can see my point about still using Grobags.
Also, I’m pretty sure it helped him to build a good sleeping routine, because he’s never too cold or hot and can sleep in whatever position he finds comfortable. He sleeps through the night since his first birthday, lucky us. We also travel quite frequently and all we need is the cot arranged by the hotel. We take his sleeping bag with us, a piece of home, and he has no problem with sleeping at a new place.
I’ll be getting some lovely ones for my new arrival too, for sure!
With Bobcat we use cloth diaper most of the time, I’d say 90% of the time. We only use disposable (bio-degradable) nappies during the night and when we’re out and about for a longer time (longer than half a day).
The 2 main reasons we switched to reusable diapers are: they helped him with his eczema. Essentially, we reduced allergens getting in contact with his skin. The other reason is that I’m a mama with a green heart, so it was very important for me.
But there’s some other known and less known advantages. So here are the reasons why you should do the switch too:
- Environmental impact. Yeah, we all heard about that one. But let the numbers talk. An average child undergoes approximately 6.500 nappy changes by the time of turning two and a half years old. Over 8.000.000 nappies are thrown away daily in the UK. It will take 200 to 500 years to decompose a branded disposable nappy. (The bio-degradable nappy decomposes in 50 years.) They produce 2.3 times more waste water and 60 times more solid waste than real nappies.
- Impact on baby’s health. TBT, a chemical compound which is known to disrupt sex hormones, has been found in disposable nappies. It is something which should not being in contact with babies’ skin. Not to mention the super absorbent chemicals, paper pulp and adhesives. Other bleaches, colorants and fragrances also increases the chance for allergy – just like in Bobcat’s case. (Eczema)
- Impact on your wallet. Reusable nappies can save parents up to£600 per child. If you use the nappies for another child too, that’s £1.200. These savings can be greatly increased if you don’t tumble dry them, wash them on 60 degrees only and without fabric softener.
- Impact on potty training. Bobcat is a late talker. But since we’re using cloth diapers, he lets me know when he’s done a poo. Or when he feels too wet. That slight discomfort well worth it: whilst earlier he avoided to be changed, now he takes my hand, leads me to his changing mat and “asks” to be changed. That’s a step closer to potty training. With reusable nappies babies tend to potty train much earlier.
- Great absorbance. Even with really explosive poo, the cloth nappy performs better. It’s easier to detect when a nappy needs changing as disposable nappies bulk up and draw moisture away, so that you’d think the nappy was dry.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
To start with: I’m a huge fan of Tiffany Rose, since I bought my wedding dress from them, when I was expectant with Bobcat. But there’s plenty of other reasons.
I was lucky enough to be invited to their sample sale held in their workshop. Since I’m pregnant with my second child, the timing couldn’t be any more perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, not only because I found fabulous dresses for the rest of my pregnancy to wear (especially, that spring and summer are around the corner along with all the wedding season and birthday parties) but because I got to see their workshop where these gorgeous dresses are getting ready for manufacturing. And the ladies working there are just so sweet and friendly, very much in love with the products and the concept. The dresses are designed and manufactured in England meeting with the highest standards of quality. They are ethically produced and the fabrics are sourced from British mills. I love the quality of their jersey and the elastic lace dresses. They won the Queen’s Award in 2013, which is the UK’s highest accolade of business success.
I also found it great, that the sizes refer to the pre-pregnancy sizes, so no need to guess your current size. Nor you are going to get 2 sizes bigger dress when you order your regular size. I’m size 8 and Tiffany Rose’s size 1 fits perfectly. I bought some maternity wear lately and I found it quite annoying that size small is more like a size 12 or medium, when it comes to maternity wear.
In the end of course I ended up with a few dresses – it was so hard to choose!
To win this Tiffany Rose dress enter here and good luck! (UK entries only)