April 30, 2013

Touring Barbados with Glory Tours

Canadian passport in a pocket

I remember touring through the winding countrysides of Italy and Greece, just hubby and I. We didn’t mind jostling along on a large bus and waiting around for the other passengers who just had to get one more keychain for their collection. However, when you have kids, your experience changes dramatically. You want to see the sights, but you are very much aware of the many, varied needs of your children. For example, are your kids fine in large groups or would they have a more positive vacation experience if they got to tour around with people who are more familiar to them? Do any of your children experience motion sickness and would prefer a more relaxed tour that would allow you to pull over and get out so they can walk around and regain some equilibrium? When you are touring a new country with your kids, it is helpful to think ahead of time about what they would need.

st.johns church flowers

With all of these concerns in consideration, I set out to find the best tour company to help us explore Barbados. So I hopped onto Trip advisor and cruise critic to find the right tour company for our family. After reading reviews of several tour companies and visiting their websites, I came across the perfect tour company to show us around the beautiful island of Barbados: Glory Tours.  Within hours, I was corresponding with the owner, Sarah, whose friendly and professional manner made the planning process effortless and fun.  She is from one of the oldest families on the island and is excited to share the history and beauty of her island with tourists.

st. johns church barbados

Before you knew it, we were docking in Barbados and on our way to find our Glory Tours representative. Quammie, our tour guide, was quite knowledgeable of his island and very friendly. He kept us entertained with his stories, riddles and fun facts about the island.   For example, some “fun facts” that we learned about the island of Barbados are that it is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. The Barbadian, or Bajan, people are friendly and hospitable. Their main language is English although the Bajan dialect is spoken throughout they island. The island is 166 square miles, divided into 11 parishes. He even showed us the stomping grounds of the rich and famous who visit the island.

hanging out at harrisons cave

Quammie has been with Glory Tours for the last 12 years and loves to interact with the people he meets. For our itinerary, he drove us over to the east coast of Barbados to visit Cherry Tree Hill, Morgan Lewis Windmill, Cattle Wash, Bathsheba and St Johns Church. On this tour we also went on a tram ride to explore Harrison’s Cave. It is one of the great wonders of Barbados and had us in awe of it’s natural beauty. We took pictures galore of this crystallized limestone cavern, it’s white flow stones and its remarkable speleothems. This landmark was mapped in 1974 by Ole Sorensen from Denmark and assisted by two Barbadian natives Tony Mason and Allison Thornhill.  Then after a morning of tropical beauty we made our way across country, traveling through the Garrisons Historic area built in 1806.

harrisons cave barbados

Although we started the day with rainy weather, by early afternoon it had cleared up completely to show us blue skies and hot sun, and we found ourselves ending our day at the Copacabana where we relaxed in beach chairs under umbrellas, watching the kids play in the sand, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Our only disappointment was not being able to stay longer and enjoy even more of the beautiful paradise of Barbados.

April 23, 2013

Awesome Heys Travel Tots Luggage Giveaway

As you know, I love to research extensively. So when it came time to buy my kids their first luggage set, I scoured through reviews of kids luggage like I was on a mission. I wanted something fun that they would be excited to pull through the airport. Something affordable, lightweight and functional, and which also would endure my little ones handling it. It had to be something that would appeal to my kiddies but which would not be too babyish. After combing through the internet, I finally found exactly what I was looking for:  the Heys Travel Tots 2pc. Kids Luggage & Backpack Set‘.  Check out the pictures and video further down in the post.

heys travel tots kids

Heys International Ltd. is a Canadian company that has made a name for itself by providing high quality luggage at affordable pricing. They offer the latest innovations in materials, design and structure and continue to be a catalyst for change in the luggage industry. The Heys brand is synonymous with travel. From check-in to final destination they’ve got you covered.

Today we are giving away one of these awesome ‘Travel Tots 2pc. Kids Luggage & Backpack Set‘. As you can see in the video below, it is the perfect travel companion for your little one. The Travel Tots collection was created by Heys with the unique characteristics of children in mind, incorporating several design features that benefit children.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my kids loved the product and didn’t want to let their Heys luggage out of their sights, taking their carry-on and backpack everywhere they went. It also helped to alleviate boredom for the kids because so many people commented on their cute luggage and struck up conversations with them about their Heys travel tots luggage sets. They didn’t have time to be bored while waiting in line at customs or when the plane was a bit delayed etc. since they were so thoroughly occupied with the attention they received from all the grandmas, grandpas, uncles and aunts asking about their penguin and ladybug luggage.

So treat your child to this great gift; enter to win a free Heys Travel Tots 2pc. Kids Luggage & Backpack Set today.

Heys Travel Tots1

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+. The winner gets to choose which of these travel sets would be the perfect gift for the little one in their life! Good Luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!

April 22, 2013

Flying with kids

This past weekend was the first time in two years that we’ve flown with our kids and the top thing we took away from the experience was: It’s helpful to fly with other family members. If you have to go to the bathroom there’s always someone else there who’s happy to sit next to your little one and keep them company. It helps to have an extra person around to break up the monotony of your kids sitting in their seats for long stretches of time, so why not play musical chairs with other family members and give your kids a chance to visit with some of their other favourite people.

Flying with kids epic

Another thing we took away from the experience is that safety sets your mind at ease.  We rented a CARES harness and borrowed another one from a mommy friend in a moms group that I belong to.  This one little item set my mind at ease when we encountered turbulence since the kids were strapped into a five point harness.  Just a little information for those who have never heard of it, the CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds, who can’t withstand the jolts that are common in routine air travel, much less emergency situations, and which can cause them to flail forward or slide beneath the seat belt if they are not held securely in place.  I felt more comfortable knowing the kids had it on and the kids seemed comfortable too because it was reminiscent of their car seat buckle system.  Funny enough, even our flight attendants were impressed with it and kept bringing their fellow flight attendants from the other sections of the plane to have a look at it.  As you can tell, I am a big fan of the [amazon_link id=”B004ECL4XM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]CARES harness[/amazon_link].

epic CARES

Something else that we learned is that headphones are our best friend. We went with the [amazon_link id=”B0067U2FLE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Safe Soundz Kids Headphones[/amazon_link] with Volume Control, for ages 3-5 and they were wonderful. My kids could watch the cartoons on the plane, listen to their music or play games on my iPod Touch.  My daughter kept hers on and listened to nothing for a good length of time just to dull the noise around her. Actually it was funny to see her walking around with her funky headphones plugged into her pants pocket.  I had a strong vision of her as a teenager in those moments.

YummyearthOrganicLollipop

Another thing that we were glad we did was bring lollipops for take off and landing. Before we left, I knew they needed something to suck on but I also knew that I didn’t want to pump them full of sugar so I opted for [amazon_link id=”B000HDK0DC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Yummy Earth organic lollipop[/amazon_link] with vitamin C.  These lollies are gluten free, nut free and free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes.  They were so tasty; even the adults in our group kept asking for more.

activities kids

In order to keep the kids occupied I packed both of their carry-on bags with home made pre-packaged activity kits. In the kits I had colouring sheets, goldfish and graham cracker snacks, easter eggs filled with candy beads and string to make bracelets, a painting sheet with q tips to use as paintbrushes and a little travel puzzle. Their carry-ons also had their very own travel sized blanket and blow up pillow. Both kids had a blast doing their activities and the great thing is, I didn’t have to break the bank because I got everything at the dollar store for under $15.

Finally, the big hit of our trip was the kid’s luggage. If you want your kids to carry their own bags, then you’ve got to make sure it’s super cute. My kiddies didn’t want to let their luggage out of their sights. They carried their carry-on and backpack everywhere they went. It also helped to alleviate boredom for the kids because so many people commented on their cute luggage and struck up conversations with the kids about their Heys travel tots luggage sets.  They didn’t have time to be bored while waiting in line at customs or when the plane was a bit delayed etc. since they were thoroughly occupied with the attention they received from all the grandmas and grandpas asking about their penguin and ladybug luggage.

epic Heys luggage

All in all, what I learned from flying with my kids is that you should come prepared. I let them know ahead of time what to expect, we talked them through every new experience, we stayed close and gave them lots of hugs and kisses so they’d feel comforted; we allowed them to safely explore their surroundings and gave them the autonomy to manage their own time. They enjoyed setting their own schedule for activities, snack time, watching tv or listening to music, cuddling with mom, dad or grandparents, having a book read to them or having some quiet time with their headphones on. The entire family had a wonderful experience flying and would do it again in a heartbeat. Every time my little guy sees a plane now he asks, “Mommy when do we get to go on a plane again?” It looks like my kids have inherited our love of travel and I am super excited to be able to walk along side them and help them to discover some of the many treasures our wonderful world has to offer.

April 16, 2013

Southern Caribbean Flowers

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, medicine and food for the soul”  – Luther Burbank.  I hope these beautiful Southern Caribbean blooms help to brighten your day.

tropical flowers

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tropical flowers4

April 3, 2013

Vacation jams playlist

I’ve been working on my playlist for the last few hours and these are some of the songs I came up with.  I’d love some suggestions, so leave a comment below and let me know what songs you think I should add to my vacation jams playlist.

Thanks dudes 🙂