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Enjoying Outdoors with TOG24

Enjoying Outdoors with TOG24

Since having kids, I like to be out and about enjoying the nature, beach walks and easy hikes. The past year shown all of us that there is so much we can discover in our own backyard. Sometimes a walk with family or an adventure in […]

Bristol Street Art with Kids

Bristol Street Art with Kids

Bristol is a perfect weekend destination and one weekend will not be enough to explore everything that the city has to offer. There is a maritime history, a student city, Clifton village and walls and walls of the world famous street art. We visited just […]

Family Holiday in the Dominican Republic

Family Holiday in the Dominican Republic

When kids are small and parents need a holiday, an all inclusive option is a definite way to keep everyone happy. There is no need to think about cooking and cleaning and there are plenty of facilities to keep little ones entertained from dusk till dawn. It is also reassuring  that you wont need to spend any money on top of what you have already paid for your holiday, so budget is not going to stretch into an overdraft. When I think about all inclusive  breaks, such countries as Egypt, Turkey or Mexico come to mind. However, when my daughter was small I found a great  all inclusive deal in the Dominican Republic and it did not disappoint. 

We took a direct flight from London Gatwick to Punta Cana. With babies and toddlers, sometimes it is worth paying a bit extra for a direct flight to ensure that your holiday time is spent on the beach , rather than waiting at the airport lounges.  Kids are terrible at waiting, we all know that.  If you can get an overnight flight, this works best for little one’s routines, as they can rest and wake up in the sunshine.

Customs and passport control were a breeze and after a short transfer we found ourselves in a beautiful Royalton Punta Cana Resort and Casino. The nature in the Dominican Republic is breathtaking. Everywhere there was lush greenery, huge palm trees and the ocean as far as an eye can see. 

While our days were spent at the resort, there was no shortage of the activities.  There were plenty of classes for adults and kids, sport activities and dance classes. My daughter loved playing in the kids room when it was too hot outside, but the rest of the day was spent by the pool or in the ocean riding the waves and building sand castles. 

The hotel had endless grounds and some places could only be reached on a little resort train, which we loved using while going for dinner. The variety of restaurants was also great. There were Asian, Tapas,  Fish, Steak and Italian Restaurants to choose from. I was also impressed with the selection of food in the buffet restaurant. Everything was fresh, cooked to order, if you wanted to, and plenty of luxury choices like lobsters and oysters. My daughter loved the fact that she could have ice cream as many times a day as she wanted, while parents appreciated the opportunity to sip authentic Caribbean cocktails in the pool. 

The ocean and nature around the hotel grounds were an absolute delight. The weather was perfect, so we could spend majority of our time on the beach. The ocean was welcoming and the water was that magical azure colour you always see in the holiday brochures.

The sand was white and soft.  My daughter did not want to leave the beach,  playing there for hours and looking for crabs and small shells. I have to say this serenity and beauty took me by surprise, so if you have never been to the Dominican Republic,  definitely put it on your destination list. 

This all inclusive holiday was a first one for my mum, as she never experienced the concept before. She absolutely loved it and the resort was one of the best all-inclusive hotels I have ever stayed in before and after that holiday.  I was so impressed with the resort standard that I would not hesitate to book another Caribbean family holiday in the Dominican Republic, when we need to recharge our batteries. 

We met plenty of local people and they were friendly and loved to have a small talk.  When I got back to London after my vacation, I noticed that  majority of people were too busy to enjoy life. While in Punta Cana, life was more easy going, slow and filled with small joys, like a fresh coconut, dance lesson in the afternoon or a spectacular sunset by the ocean. I can guarantee  that you will come back refreshed and relaxed after your time in the Dominican Republic!

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with the Dominican Republic  godominicanrepublic.com

Athens with Kids: Museum of Illusions

Athens with Kids: Museum of Illusions

If your kids are tired from visiting all the ancient monuments in Athens, take a break and spend a fun afternoon in the Museum of Illusions. Newly opened in 2018, it boasts 2 floors of optical illusions and photo opportunities for a laugh.  Museum is […]

Must-visit Site in Athens: Panathenaic Stadium

Must-visit Site in Athens: Panathenaic Stadium

Every 2 years the world is watching best athletes competing to become next Olympic Champions. When in Athens,  do not miss the chance to touch history at Panathenaic Stadium, which started the tradition of modern Olympic Games in 1896.  At first, I thought that the […]

Vouliagmeni Lake : A Day Trip from Athens

Vouliagmeni Lake : A Day Trip from Athens

If you are visiting Athens and want to get away from city hustle for a day, I have just the ticket for you. Thermal Vouliagmeni Lake  is a mere 50 minutes away from the centre of Athens, Facilities at the lake are open all year round and the temperature of the water varies from 21C at its coldest to 29C at its warmest. Let me share with you how we spent a  day a at this beautiful nature reserve. 

Travelling to Lake Vouliagmeni is easy.  Get off at the Elleniko metro station and jump on the bus 122, which stops right opposite the lake entrance. Alternatively,  you can take a taxi, but bear in mind that city centre traffic can be an issue.

Once you arrive, you can select the area where you would like to stay.  There is a larger sitting area with chairs and parasols and a private zone called “Prive” with sunbeds and table service. We enjoyed hospitality in the Prive area, it was serene and peaceful. 

Both areas are absolutely gorgeous and there is plenty of space even with the social distancing requirements. Prive area  has table service, but if you want , you can go to the bar or restaurant for drinks and food. 

The main attraction is, of course, the lake. Vouliagmeni Lake has been formed around 320B.C, so keep this in mind when you are swimming in such a historic place. 

It is believe that a big volume of hot water was running inside a cave and eroded the walls.  The roof of the cave collapsed and submerged, which in turn created the lake. The name  “Vouliagmeni” ,  from the Greek word ‘’vouliazw’’, means to submerge. The lake’s depth is about 20 to 100 meters.

Current research still struggles to identify where the water, which fills the lake, comes from. The lake is fed by both thermal waters and the sea, which makes it a very special body of water.

The landscape around the lake is amazing, I literally lay on my sun lounger and stared at the rock formations and how sun was changing the colours of the rock.

It has to be said that design team at Vouliagmeni  Lake  have done a fantastic job at enhancing the environment with tasteful furniture and calm colours. The result is that there are plenty of amenities to make your stay at the lake comfortable, and you don’t feel distracted from the natural beauty of the lake.

Another attraction is the Spa fish, which will come to nibble on your skin as soon as you enter the water. It felt extremely ticklish at first, but after a couple of swims I got used to the sensation.

My daughter Letitia loved the fish and she did not want to leave the lake because of them. Th Spa fish are not afraid and will readily come and nibble on any part of the body, which is submerged. If you can bear the sensation, you can watch them having their lunch on your feet or hands close up. 

We visited Lake Vouliagmeni  at the end of October and while the sea was already too cool to swim in, the lake waters were the perfect temperature. It was still quite warm outside with temperatures reaching 26-28 C in the middle of the day, so a dip in the lake was a great refreshment and an unusual way to spend a day in Athens. 

As I mentioned, the lake is  deep and its waters are crystal clear. The plants are left growing inside the lake to allow for natural environment to develop. The lake is quite long, so you never feel like there is no space to swim freely. Life guards are constantly  on duty, so it feels safe.

During the day, I chatted to a few members of staff  and they all came across as extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the lake. This made me think that they genuinely care about their place of work, which results in excellent customer service. 

If you want to book a space in Prive area, I recommend making your reservations in advance at Lake Vouliagmeni website , but if you are happy to use the chairs, there should be enough spaces.

When we visited at the end of October, there were plenty of people enjoying sunny weather and beautiful waters. The entrance costs the same as renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach. I can definitely recommend Lake Vouliagmeni as a family outing, as the place is looked after extremely well and kids can run about,  enjoy the Spa fish or play in the water.  If everyone is tired of seeing ancient sites in Athens, Lake Vouliagmeni is a welcome distraction and great day out in the fresh air. 

Our visit was hosted by Lake Vouliagmeni, but all opinions are my own.

Athens Food Guide: 8 Must-Try Dishes

Athens Food Guide: 8 Must-Try Dishes

I was beyond happy to discover that Athens was on par with Istanbul, Rome and Lisbon for amazing street food and delicious dishes. It is also a very affordable city in terms of food. While you have your usual restaurants. there are plenty of tavernas, […]

Exploring Athens with Greeking.me

Exploring Athens with Greeking.me

Athens is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and layers of history definitely require a professional to guide you through its rich heritage. Archaic and Ancient Periods,  Byzantium Kingdom and Ottoman rule. Finally, Athens reemerges as part of an First Hellenic Republic […]

Fun Lunch with Trunki

Fun Lunch with Trunki

The schools are back and so are the school lunches. Somehow, every year in August, I find myself looking for a new lunchbox and a packing set, as the one from the previous school year never survives.

This year I decided to try TRUNKI range, as we already have their suitcase and a car seat. I find that Trunki offers durable quality alongside fun designs.

The lunchbox can be used as a bag or as a rucksack for smaller kids, who are just starting on their first year at school. Inside, the lunchbox is lined with wipe clean material and have a handy pocket for cutlery or tasty treats. It is quite spacious, so we are able to fill it up with sandwiches, yogurt and some fruit – perfect for a full school day!

The lunchbag can be complimented with stackable boxes, which are great for little fingers and come in fantastic animal designs. The sizes are also great for smaller portions, for example, if you want to use them for nuts or pieces of fruit.

All the products can be ordered HERE and delivered to your home. I am sure kids of any age are going to love the designs!  Our lunchbox and a stackable set now complete our collection of Trunki’s wonderful creatures.

Disclaimer: The set was provided to me by Trunki for the purposes of the review. All opinions are my own. 

Family Day Out with Narrow Boat

Family Day Out with Narrow Boat

As many families during this summer, we were looking for ways to spend time outdoors. There are several canals within 30 minutes drive and during lockdown we were enjoying numerous walks along the water. Another way to enjoy the canals is to hire a narrow […]