From a diary of a working mum of one year old

5 am. Passionate babbling brutally brings my deep autumn sleep to an early end. Woof, woof, meow, meow, mooo – my little bundle of joy is revealing his impressive repertoire of animal sounds, mind you, acquired not without effort. To add to the show he claps and stomps enthusiastically. I raise one of my stone – heavy eyelids, but can see nothing but darkness (as you do at 5 am in November). With the last tiny streak of will power I drag myself out of bed. Today is my morning shift with Joseph, and there is no chance that I can get away from it. I’m busting for loo, but if only I try to sneak out to the bathroom he will turn on his very powerful alarm signal, that is sure to wake up the neighbours in at least couple of miles radius. I don’t want to take responsibility for mass sleep deprivation, low mood, failed exams, overdue reports and all its other possible consequences, so I just give in and take Joseph to the bathroom with me.

Anyway solo trips to the bathroom are pure luxury nowadays, like staying in One and only resort on some tropical island – both equally unachievable. Always together, because world ends when mum disappears behind bathroom door. Mum locked away in a bathroom is an object more desirable than Santa, Tooth Fairy, all the elves and Rudolph with Easter bunny put together, on a chocolate festival in Disneyland.

I pee. My one year old son is playing with domestos. Shower gels and shampoos noisily land one by one in the bathtub. In our unwritten manual of morning shift with Joseph there is a rule of reducing noise to a minimum, so trying to abide regulations I take him downstairs, so as not to wake up the rest of the family at this unbearable hour.

I put the kettle on, and Joseph starts his everyday ritual of throwing everything out of cupboards. I regret not putting the locks on them for the hundredth time (they leave marks on furniture + little one needs to explore, right?). And so the everyday mayhem begins. Spices, lids, ladles and teabags are flying across the kitchen. Two tins of mackerel make sound as powerful as drums (if you were ever after cheaper substitute).

As every new mum quickly discovers, little teddies like to be carried around, and can exercise really persuasive veto, if they don’t get what they want, and as I have to carry on with the day somehow, I just hold the baby with one hand, and do most morning chores with the other. I mastered that skill to the level I could probably join a circus as a one handed acrobat. I can make coffee, tidy up the kitchen (only level light though), wash the cup, unload the dishwasher and make a sandwich. And all of this with just one hand! Maybe it’s not a skill good enough to show on ‘Britain’s got talent’ and won’t get me a fortune, but you certainly can’t put price on it when you have an infant.

Right then, time for brushing teeth – only 4 that is, but the effort is proportionate to maintaining oral hygiene of a group of chimpanzees. He runs away, I run after him, I force toothbrush in his mouth, he takes it out and throws away. Deep breaths and counting to 10 (doesn’t work). There is no other bloody way to do it but pin him down, immobilise him and do it against his will. When I’ve done it properly, I let him try brushing (or rather sucking the toothpaste off the toothbrush) by himself, so that he gets used to the idea, that he will be doing that thing all his life. Plop, and toothbrush dripping with saliva makes white doodle on my black skirt. F*@^*, it’s my punishment for disregarding rule of getting dressed just 20 seconds before leaving the house. I wipe it with wet cloth, as dark wet patches are way more chic than white stains, obviously.

Finally we are out. White bits of fluff and hair on my black tights (despite actually putting them on right before leaving the house), that drive me mad so much and make even the most classy outfit looking scruffy.

Lots of pairs of immaculate black tights are passing me by, not a trace of dust or hair on them, and as always I can’t figure out how on earth do they do that? Is it some sort of a secret knowledge you can only acquire through the rite of passage or something, way more advanced and effective than lint roller from H&M?

Last bit of our route to nursery. It was fairly easy until now as it was Joseph’s nap time, and I used to just leave him fast asleep, blissfully unaware in the pushchair at nursery, and sneak out without my heart aching, but with not entirely clear conscience. But recently my little son outsmarted me and stays alert all the way, as if suspecting my deception. He looks around all the time and as soon as he sees nursery gate the hell breaks open. He screams, I unpack him from his pushchair and winter clothes, first drop of sweat trickling on my upper lip. We come inside, Joseph desperately clinging to me like little koala. The chorus of crying babies makes him wail even louder and I feel my heart sinking deep into my abdomen, and a bolt of stress striking right through me. Sweat is now literally pouring down my back and bottom. At last he is taken from me, kicking and screaming, never goes down without a fight. I take a sip of water to wash down this bitter mixture of adrenaline and guilt.

I drag myself to work way past 9 o’clock and I feel, as if I already worked at least half a day. How else could I feel, I’ve been up since 5 am. Just another day in mummy’s life.

That’s Joseph’s face when I pick him up from nursery :))) says everything, doesn’t it? Betrayed and ready for full on revenge 🙂

Dubai – skyscrapers in the middle of the desert

On New Year’s Day 2015 we arrived in Dubai from Sydney. It was middle of the night, we were exhausted from long flight and almost a month of travelling, and we entered this last phase of our trip with a mixture of relief, as it was going to be purely about chilling and resting, but also with sadness that the journey is almost finished.

When around 4 am we entered our room in Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, the images I had in mind of Dubai, as a hub of luxury and splendour couldn’t take more realistic shape. We entered – and the room came to life: the blinds opened, lights went on and the music started playing, and breakfast was such an abundance of delicacies, that we felt like kings, or at least high aristocracy. Every single detail, whether we talk cuisine or hotel décor, was mastered to perfection. In the hotel shops you could find antique furniture and iphone and ipads cases made of pure gold. Forgive my prolonged description of just the hotel, but really we were totally amazed, we’ve never stayed in a hotel this class, and probably never will, so it was an experience in itself for us. In the hotel price (also luxurious) we had access to private Jumeirah beach and to great water park – Wild Wadi, situated right next to Burj al Arab, Dubai’s famous and one of the few in the world 7 star hotel .

Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel


only in Dubai – gold ipad and iphone cases in a hotel shop (!)
who goes on holiday and doesn’t  buy antique furniture in a hotel shop? 🙂


Facts about Dubai

The main contributor to Dubai’s wealth is not oil trade, as it’s commonly believed, but tourism, real estate sector, airlines and transport development, and even though little black balls of oil are scattered on the beaches, Dubai isn’t in fact as rich as it looks like. New York and London for example are richer than Dubai, and there is more skyscrapers in New York and Hong Kong than here. What’s interesting, Abu Dhabi – the neighbouring emirate has far more oil resources and in general is a richer city. But the undeniable fact  is that Dubai is growing rapidly, new projects and impressive buildings are springing up like mushrooms after rain. Every 4th crane in the world is nowhere else, but  here, in Dubai, the police drive Ferrari and Lamborghini, there even are cash machines that dispense gold. 85% of population are foreigners, and it’s hardly surprising that so many people is drawn to this city – salaries are very attractive and there is no income tax (yep, it’s true).

But there are some less colourful sides to Dubai as well. The state law in some aspects is influenced by sharia, and in a way it gives green light to discrimination of women. And so flogging and even stoning to death can happen here, especially as a punishment for adultery, which is considered a terrible crime here.  Kissing or hugging in public, sex before marriage or living together without being married is strictly forbidden, and a woman, who wants to re – marry, must seek permission of her “male guardian”, whatever the heck that means. Men can have up to four wives, which is quite common in traditional Muslim countries.

Dubai is full of paradoxes, on one hand we see modern, cosmopolitan and tourists friendly city, on the other – very strict and rigorous rules regarding acceptable behaviour, rules that discriminate women and limit their rights.

Dubai for kids

Apart from the sea and swimming pools there is lots other of attractions for kids, so it’s an excellent choice for family holidays. Just bear in mind that the city is massive, and there is no chance of walking from place to place. We used taxis all the time, but if you are brave enough you can rent a car of course:). At the moment number one attraction is Legoland, we missed that  – it was built in 2016, and we were there at the beginning of 2015. It’s got waterpark, rides, interactive rooms for bricks building, there is also a Miniland, which is a panoramic view of Dubai made of 20 millions of lego !

Apart from mentioned above waterpark Wild Wadi, there is also big Aquaventure waterpark on the famous palm next to Atlantis The Palm Resort.

Another awesome place for kids is IMG Worlds of Adventures, opened also in 2016, the biggest indoor theme park in the world, there are rides and other things with a theme of dinosaurs and Cartoon Network characters.

In Dubai Mall there is an Aquarium i Kidzania – ever so more popular concept of the city for kids, where in the mini versions of shops, banks, restaurants or police station little ones can try out their favourite roles and play grown ups.

As you can see Dubai has lots to offer and it’s very easy to smash your entire travel budget in a blink of an eye!

Jumeirah – private beach, 7 star hotel Burj al Arab in the background


Wild Wadi waterpark


swimming pool in a hotel


Dubai for grown ups

Number one must see in Dubai is of course Burj Khalifa – the highest skyscraper in the world, everyone goes to the top to take that Instagram perfect photo with the view of the city from high above. Well it’s hard to deny – it really is spectacular.

Another activity for which Dubai is literally made for is shopping of course. Everyone, who has a child knows, that a little retail therapy that used to be so exciting and pleasant once, in the company of a 4 year old often changes into pure torture, so we decided to give it a miss and not to expose ourselves to massive amount of stress, and save our last remaining pennies for just in case.

We went on a desert tour instead, they tend to be a bit extreme in Dubai, and include racing in a 4 x 4 at full speed through the dunes, so that your stomach jumps all over your body. You can of course tell your guide that you are not very keen on this kind of entertainment and ask him to go steady, or you can go sand boarding instead (it’s like snowboarding, just on the sand), or like me, just walk around, a little it further from the noise and lost yourself in this amazing, eternal and a bit ominous landscape and in absolute silence (I love deserts).

We also went to the old Dubai souk, you can get there by short boat taxi ride. There is practically everything in here: textiles, spices, perfumes, fine china, gold, and it’s a great place to buy traditional and affordable souvenirs. There is also fruit, veg and fish market just round the corner, which we visited, but very briefly as our daughter couldn’t bear fish odour, and was very close to making a scene, so we had to run.

If you are up for an adventure a little bit further afield, it’s really worth to go to Abu Dhabi and see the most famous building in the whole UAE – the splendid Great Mosque.


Dubai – old city


baby sharks
XXL size perfumes, not for me though, I get bored with scents too quickly 🙂

Other local specialties you can buy on the market:

Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth seen for the last time on our way to the airport
souvenirs from New Zealand, Australia and Dubai…
and our impressive seashells collection from those 3 places
night time entertainment: rearranging seashells at 3 am, hello jet lag 🙂

Australia: Darwin and Kakadu National Park

Outback and Northern Territory were the last stops on our Australian journey. As I mentioned in my previous post I so regretted not going to most famous Australian site Uluru, I thought it was very overrated, but when I fell in love with Kakadu, I realised what a chance I lost, as they are sort of like sister places. Oh, well, I guess there is no point crying over spilt milk. Maybe we will go there one day and will be sleeping at the desert and counting stars (doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon).

I thought Darwin was the place where the devil says goodnight. Kind of lethargic, it didn’t have the feel of a vibrant modern city, like Sydney for example. But there is nice complex of swimming pools and playgrounds, and also wide selection of restaurants ( lots of Asian), so you’ll definitely survive here, also with kids. After all we hadn’t come here for Darwin, but for one of the most amazing places on earth, which is Kakadu National Park.

Its rock formation called Ubirr is the second, after Uluru sacred place for Aboriginal people. The oldest rock art, which can be found here, is 20 000 years old. Aborigines inhabited this land for 65 000 years, they are the oldest culture present on earth. which makes it even more upsetting, that this minority, which makes only 3% of Australian population, lives on the outskirts of society. Unemployment amongst them is really high, alcohol abuse, crimes and domestic violence is also very common (Aboriginal women are hospitalised 34 times more than Australian women for that reason), and general feeling of lack of perspectives for the future.

It is all caused by decades of discrimination and racism, of which indigenous people were being victims since 1788, when the British first came here and the colonisation began. Similar story to American Indians; Aborigines were marginalised, were not allowed to perform some of their rituals, and for long time they were not considered Australian citizens.

Today the government is trying to reimburse them for all those years of suffering; there are some initiatives, which aim to include indigenous people and give them the equal rights and access to education and work, i.e. mortality rate in newborns has been significantly decreased. But of course it will take years to come, to fix something that was being destroyed for ages.

Kakadu National Park is simply amazing. I really can’t find better words to describe the feeling that comes with experiencing pristine, untouched nature, it’s like being guests in a bush – home of wild animals, who in their hospitality tolerate us – nosy visitors – sneak peeking at their everyday business. 10 000 crocodiles live here, which is approx. 1 croc per 2 square meters. The terrain is versatile and apart from rocks, there are lakes, forests, waterfalls, bushes, deserts and humid, lush green jungle. Evening cruise on Yellow Water Billabong was hands off one of the best experiences of a lifetime. It was such splendid display of nature’s wonders, that we were all swept off our feet, and even Lily, despite tiredness and heat, was excitedly jumping on the boat, when she spotted a croc first (these waters are packed with crocs by the way). Massive trees with twisted roots and rotten branches bend over in a dramatic and melancholic poses as if they were dancing, and the scenery is extraordinary in this theatre, like nowhere else. The evening sky changes from pinks, bold oranges to silver greys. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat faster (like a jungle drum).

But there were also moments of terror, like for example when Lily’s beloved mouse fell into the alligator river! Lily of course was in a total despair but thank goodness T. managed to rescue the mouse with the stick from a certain death in crocodile’s mouth (Lily’s face at that moment – priceless).

I was really proud of my 4,5 year old, she was doing really well, and everyone was shocked that such little girl has travelled to Kakadu already (we didn’t see any small children on these trips, just adults). The hardest bit was the heat and flies, which were literally all over you all the time, trying to enter your body through your nostrils, eyes and ears with a persistence, that could drive you insane. We saw that everyone here had net head covers, so we bought them as well. They kind of did the job, but it was a bit hard to breath through them.

Off course there were hard times as well, as Lily is not a fan of a real bush walking, so we had to piggyback her most of the time (bye bye spine, it was nice having you).

We slept in two different camps, and our chill out dread head guide Kal had all kitchen equipment in his van, including portable gas hob, bowls and plates of a hygiene level, that would definitively raised some eyebrows in Food Standards Agency.

It’s definitely worth to browse through some basic info about climate, before booking your flights. It didn’t occurred to us that there are a couple of climate zones in Australia, and that in Kakadu it might be different than let’s say Sydney or Cairns. There are 2 distinctive seasons in Northern Territory: dry (August – October) and wet (January – March). We were here in  December, which is sort of a transitional month and it might rain quite a lot as well, so we were praying for the roads not to be flooded, which often happens. But thankfully we were lucky – the weather was great, it rained only at night a  couple of times, and there was one thunderstorm, and I swear I have never heard such thunders in my life – it could wake up the dead, and I thought it would shoot us to the moon, along with our tin camping hut.

Another moment I’ll never forget was our afternoon walk into the fields behind the camp, when we encountered a group of kangaroos. I often think about it, when I’m on my daily city stroll with my baby boy, and it seems so surreal, and evermore priceless.

BTW did you know that baby kangaroo is in its mother womb only for a month, and then they are born – 2 cm long, see through pink jelly, and climb up mother’s fur to get to the pouch, where they stay for next 10 months? How on earth do they know they need to climb, and where? Unbelievable.

While I’am at a nature wonders topic, here are some facts about koala. Would you guess, that it isn’t actually a bear, but marsupial? He spends 20 hours sleeping, and the remaining 4 eating his favourite eucalyptus, he doesn’t drink, he gets all the fluids from the leaves. The name comes from aboriginal language and means: the one that doesn’t drink.

The words can’t really do Kakadu a justice, so here are some photos – quite a lot, but how to choose from such amazingness?

we set off to Kakadu very early, it’s still dark, but Lily and Mouse are ready for an andevnture 🙂


Ubirr – ancient Aboriginal rock art


so fell in love with that place 🙂



mmm, can’t wait to eat food from such squeaky clean plates 🙂


Mouse recscue operation complete 🙂


is there anything lurking in the darkness?


this moment when we went for an afternoon walk and encountered a group of kangaroos behind our camp 🙂


cuddled up during thunderstorm


I’ve been enlighted (finally)


Lily is bravely following our guide (just for a moment obviously:)


termite mounds – like a graveyard


Didn’t I say it’s awesome? 🙂

Australia: Queensland and tropical Cairns

When you get off the plane in a completely different climate zone, this first breeze of hot and humid air is just the best. Especially if you come to the tropics in winter you may feel like being in a different world, when, sometimes still wearing winter clothes, you go down the steps right into the embrace of heat, and breathing feels like someone had pressed hot, wet towel against your face 😊

And that’s exactly what we’ve experienced when we landed in Cairns. As you would expect in a tropical state of Queensland, we were greeted by summer in full swing, so right after we checked in (Hilton Double Tree –  really nice hotel), we jumped in the pool and spent the whole day there (Lily was swimming even at 10 pm, which she was really excited about). The pool was surrounded by lush tropical trees and plants, and it felt like being in a jungle already.

There are some mango trees along the main street of Cairns, and there is so many fruit bats on them, that the trees aren’t green anymore, but black, and bats are so loud and screeching, that you can’t hear the person standing next to you.

Cairns Esplanade is also very popular attraction among locals and tourists – it’s a natural swimming pool / lagoon joined with the ocean, and basically the whole city come here for a paddle and splash around 😊.

There is this amazing restaurant – La Trattoria, also on one of the main streets (it’s all easy to find as centre of Cairns is quite small). We even came here for pizza and prawn and rocket salad on Christmas Eve. What else interesting is there to do? Just see below where we decided to go.


It’s Christmas Eve today and we have such untraditional but equally beautiful view from our room 🙂
mango tree covered in fruit bats

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is base for excursions to Great Barrier Reef, the biggest coral reef in the world. It’s bigger than Great Britain, Holland and Switzerland put together, and can even be seen from space. It’s a home to hundreds of underwater species and colourful and strange little creatures. We wanted to see some of these wonders, so we booked snorkeling trip, which turned out to be a total disaster. Motto of the companies organizing trips to the reef is “the more the better for us”. I absolutely hate this kind of attractions for the masses, and on that boat I literally felt like we were a cattle or sardines in a tin. Crowds and crowds of people on the boat, we even had some numbers, as I remember, by which we were called to go to the water. Nightmare. Spontaneous, unforgettable experience of having unspoiled contact with pristine nature at its best it was not. And despite that the reef really is beautiful, I just couldn’t appreciate it at all in those circumstances.

So if the reef is the place you want to see the most, do a bit more research and find excursions for smaller groups (might be expensive, even our pathetic tour costed 150 AUD pp). Another option is to go to Green Island, stay overnight and snorkel on the reef there. I wish I’d have done that, because the island is amazing like Bora Bora or the Maldives, but on the other hand it costs 400 £ per night, so the price is luxurious too.

I had a proper look at the tour operators and their offers, and if I were here between July and August, I would go whale watching to Withsundays, with company with great feedback called Ocean Dynamics. Withsundays is a group of 74 dream islands in the middle of the reef, with white powder sand, turquoise water and walking trails through in the rainforest. Most of them are uninhabited, but there are accommodation options on 4 of them. To get here, you need to fly to Hamilton Island (it’s 1.5 h flight from Cairns, cost around 200 AUD).

If you really want to feel the vibes of paradise island, the closest one to Cairns is Fitzroy Island, and it’s also much more affordable.

There are a lot more little islands on the reef: Lizard Island, Haggerstone Island, Heron Island, Orpheus Island, Pumpkin Island, to list just a few. Some are cheaper, some more expensive, you can choose one, according to your needs and snorkel or dive there for a couple of days.

Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation

Rainforest at its best, jungle with lush green plants, massive palm trees, rustling and crunching under your feet, constant buzzing and clothes so sticky and wet that it’s hard to put them on. Love it😊. Daintree is a perfrct place for a unique tropical adventure. We stayed at budget Cape Trib Beach House, which is a complex of huts spread around the jungle, pretty basic, but what more do you need in such fantastic and special place, where the rainforest meets the ocean, and on the giant, wild beach there is absolutely no one else but you, how cool is that? 🙂

If you can go a little crazy with accommodation, have a closer look at hotels and lodges options in Daintree and Cape Tribulation, because there are some you get goose bumps just by looking at them. My favourite is luxurious Silky Oaks Lodge, which are literally a tree houses, built on the high wooden poles in the tree crowns, connected with each other by narrow hanging bridges. And this name – silky oaks – captures so well how the trees look after rain, when wet, they’re smooth and shiny just like silk.

Ok, enough dreaming and back to the subject.

Cape Tribulation beach in Daintree is a place I’ll never forget. It’s long, vast, exotic and completely deserted. Because of potential crocodiles presence at this time of year it was not allowed to go in the water, but we had a swim later on in the pool, it was evening and the rain was pouring down (also unforgettable experience).

we stopped in a wildlife park on our way to Daintree


Cape Tribulation, means: the place where problems start.  The name was given by James Cook, who conquered Australia, because his expedition had some serious troubles here.


will it break…?
it’s a bit scary before the rain starts…
swimming in a hot rain 🙂
happy 🙂


Palm Cove

Takes about 45 minutes by bus from Sydney to get there, it’s worth the trip I assure you. The water here is unbelievably warm, like in the bath tub, with temperature of 29 °C it’s just ideal for me, as I absolutely hate cold water. I wasn’t even bother by jellyfish and crocs 😊. Jokes aside, there are restricted areas for swimming, surrounded by safety net. The beach is beautiful, big and also a bit deserted, at least it was when we where there.


The next and also the last post about Australia will be about Northern Territory and Kakadu National Park, with lots and lots of crocs pictures 😊 Stay tuned.

Australia: Sydney and Blue Mountains

Australia seems like a promised land to many, especially I think it appeals to Brits, which is hardly surprising, that, having such horrible weather most of the year, they dream about summer. How massive country it is I realised during domestic flights, when I watched thousands of km of untouched by human hand or foot fields, deserts and bushes passing underneath us. That what is so amazing in Australia – only big cities are densely populated, but other than that, it’s just vast, wild land, where you can drive for hours, without passing one single car!!!

We spent 2 weeks here, after also 2 weeks long trip to New Zealand. We bought domestic flights to 3 cities, which were our base for exploring national parks in the regions. First we’d visited Sydney and Blue Mountains, then we flew to Cairns in tropical state of Queensland, where the top attractions are probably Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Our last stop was Outback and Darwin in Northern Territory, where the heat was unbearable, and it was only a little taste of the burning sun that greeted us on the desert and in the bush of  Kakadu National Park. I didn’t want to end up writing a novel, so I divided Australia post into three parts, the next two will be about Cairns and Darwin.

My biggest mistake, which I regret to this day, was not going to Kata Tjuta National Park and to the most important place for Aboriginal people – Uluru, while we were in Northern Territory. Instead I decided to go to Kakadu National Park, of which rock formation called Ubirr is the second sacred Aboriginal site. I made this decision a bit out of ignorance (it’s just a big rock in the middle of the desert), and so not to be too cliché and touristy (everyone goes there, so I’ll go somewhere else). And only when I saw how amazing Kakadu is, I realised that Uluru is so much more than a massive bump in the red sand, and what a bad decision it was, as both places are similar in terms of cultural heritage and natural beauty. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are phenomenal too, oh well, maybe I’ll get to see it one day…


It’s a very international city, the biggest minorities here are Chinese, British, Irish and Scotish. It’s also the biggest city in Australia, with 4 million citizens, who can enjoy 240 sunny days a year. Completely opposite to Europe, summer here is from December to February, and winter from June to August, and we had just run away from our winter straight into glorious Australian summer (although you can’t tell from grim photos below, but it was just one day like that, seriously😊).


In Sydney we stayed in Meriton Apartments – highly recommended


Beaches in Sydney

Most popular beaches are located in the north of Sydney. Bondi is one of them, famous not only in Australia, but in the world. It’s wide and big, with massive waves and lots of surfers, who make incredible, cool and chill out atmosphere. There is 50 m salt water pool built at the edge of the ocean and conjoined with it, which is pretty cool.


Another beach which we visited – Bronte, has completely different character, is smaller, ideal for families with small children, because on a one part of the beach in the water there are rocks, which naturally stop waves and create shallow pools with lots of little white shells in the shape of stars (will keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours, proven 😊). This beach also has swimming pools in the ocean, which look just like normal pools in the city, with just this difference, that the water is coming straight from the ocean and not from the pipes. In the other part of this beach is just the open ocean with big waves and with surfers, just like at Bondi.

When you get bored with building sand castles and searching for the most perfect seashell, you can have a picnic one the grass. The picnic area is really big, there is also a playground and lots of cafes and restaurants, so it really is dream beach for families.

We were there in the last days of December, so there were barbecues everywhere, badmintons, frisbees, screams and laughter of children, the whole families came here to celebrate Christmas time, I couldn’t help smiling all the time looking at all this, really, tons of good vibes in the air.


2,5 km south from Bronte there another beach – Coogee, which is similar to Bondi, just with smaller waves, and also resembles polish seaside, just with much better weather 😊.


Walk from Bondi to Bronte is also a nice idea, it’s a popular walking route along the coast, views are great, only takes an hour, and it’s not too difficult. And I honestly think, that these two beaches are the best in Sydney, all other are just repetitive, and you won’t find anything new on Manly or Coogee beach. If you don’t have much time in Sydney, just take uber / go by car to Bondi, and then take a walk to Bronte.
There is another walking route – from Spit to Manly, but you need a whole day, it’s 10 km, so it’s rather for more experienced hikers. The views apparently are even better, but there is only one shop on the way, so remember to take water and snacks with you.

Blue mountains

These mountains, situated only 50 km north from the city are a must see if you are in Sydney. We went for one day tour, which we bought through (it’s a big and reliable website, you can book excursions all around the world here). It costs around 130 – 140 AUS $ per person, so it’s not cheap, but we decided it was the best option for us, traveling with a young child. We stopped in Featherdale Wildlife Park, where most of the native species of animals live. Park is involved in conservation projects and eco initiatives to save endangered species, they also look after sick or injured animals, so it’s very positive place and it’s really great here. Especially for kids, because they can stroke and feed kangaroos, wallabies and other animals, which are unapproachable in the wild.


she was so scared to touch them at first…
and look how proud and happy she is now:)


Blue mountains are truly incredible, and the views are out of this world. From higher points the forest looks like endless fluffy green carpet. Scenery is versatile and dramatic; steep edges and cliffs, waterfalls, sharp and bare rocks and lush eucalyptus trees.

We only went for a short hike (piggybacking Lily almost the whole time!), but you can come here for a couple of days for a true bushwalking, the area is enormous, with plenty of hiking trails.

You need to go on the steepest cable cars in the world while here, it’s almost completely vertical at times, and it’s so much fun! Lily absolutely loved it, and so did we, and it’s a quick and comfortable way of going down (or up), if the little one is too tired to walk anymore. You get off at the souvenir shop (obviously), where your child forces you to buy cuddly koala, kangaroo or boomerang, which btw doesn’t come from Australia at all, despite being its symbol. Boomerangs were present in many ancient cultures, even Tutanchamon had large collection of them, and the oldest boomerang surprisingly hadn’t been found in Australia, but…. in Poland.

Three peaks on the left are called Three Sisters


piggybacking level hard 🙂



Sydney was our first, but also the last stop in Australia, we came back here for the New Year’s Eve, after our trips to Cairns and Darwin. Just after New Year we were flying from Sydney to Dubai, which was the very last stop in our month long trip of a lifetime. New Year celebrations in Sydney are like nowhere else – Australians greet the new year as the first ones in the world, and also the most spectacular fireworks display on earth takes place right here. We had seriously been tempted to go and see it all live, but we were at the hotel near the airport, very far from city centre, and when we thought about crowds, no cabs, tired and whining Lily and very real possibility of being stuck there for hours, we decided that live tv broadcast was much better option😊.

We spent the last night (New Years’s Eve) in Stamford Plaza Hotel, near the airport


Now that’s what I call New Year’s Day!!!

Best apple pie in the world


Now prepare yourself for a taste buds blowing experience, because this will be the best apple pie you’ve eaten (and ever will) in your entire life 🙂 This recipe comes from popular polish food blog called Kwestia smaku, I just slightly modified it ( i.e. skipped raisins, which appear in original recipe with apples, which of course you can add if you’re big fan).

I don’t know where the deliciousness of this cake lies, but I suspect it might be in the pan fried apple filling, which makes it juicy, aromatic and soft, and a spot on apple filling is crucial for our pie to be a success.

I sometimes had pies with sort of cold raw apples and it ruins everything, even the classic method of baking the whole pie with the filling, but not preparing and frying apples beforehand won’t give you the same results as this one.

I must say we made this pie probably around 10 times just in a first couple of months of my maternity leave. I had enormous sugar cravings and this thing I could eat for breakfast, dinner and supper, in fact, I could manage the entire pie in one go (well I didn’t actually do it thank godness, but I could 🙂

So enough advertising, let’s get to work 🙂


For the pastry

3 glasses of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 glass of caster sugar

1 sachet of vanilla sugar (if you can’t get hold of it, just add some vanilla pod)

250 g of unsalted butter

4 eggs


2 kg of apples

12 teaspoons of sugar

1 sachet of vanilla sugar (or vanilla pod)

2 teaspoons of cinnamon


Peel apples and cut them in small pieces, add regular sugar, vanilla sugar and cinnamon, and fry it in a pan until soft and juicy (and smelling gorgeous) for 5 – 10 minutes. Leave it to cool.

Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl, add 3/4 glass of sugar, vanilla sugar and roughly chopped butter, then add 3 yolks and 1 whole egg. Now work the dough into a ball, then half it and wrap separately in cling film, and chill for 1 hour.

Place one of your dough ball into lined and greased baking tin (approx. 20×30 cm), and work it with your fingers to fill the tray, it will be the bottom layer, you can use rolling pin if you prefer. Put it back in the fridge.

Beat 3 egg whites, add the remaining 1/4 glass of sugar spoon by spoon while still beating, until it’s shiny and stiff.

Preheat oven to 175 °C, roll your second part of dough into a rectangle the same size as the first one. Place apples over the bottom layer, spread eggs and sugar foam over it, and cover with top layer of dough.

Bake for 1 hour, if the top starts to get too brown, just cover with tin foil. Let it cool off completely and sprinkle with icing sugar for fairy tale look.

Long and cold months are just round the corner and I can’t think of a better way to face them than wrapped in a blanket with a warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream,  watching my favourite tv show (although breastfeeding and maternity leave are over, so don’t really have excuse to do it as often as I want! 🙂



Top places in New Zealand

I love traveling more than anything in the world. It makes me happy and sets free all my emotions, which just fly away like butterflies that escaped the net. When I travel I live deeper, routine is abandoned, every day brings something new, and nothing is 100 % predictable. Focus and senses sharpen in contact with new things, blood runs faster, heart beats stronger. When i travel I feel as if I was given second life. The most amazing is that feeling of being detached from the reality, opportunity to get a bird’s eye view on everyday life, seeing problems in new perspective, and an energy and inspiration boost for the future.

It’s got me thinking, as I read this now, that this must be pretty much like an addict would describe his desperate urges to drink or get a shot 😀 Well, there must be something in it, cause as soon as I get back from one trip, I start planning the next one. Travel high kind of thing 😊

In New Zealand we spent 2 glorious weeks, it was the first stop in our month long trip (there was Australia and Dubai after). It was an adventure of a lifetime and I feel great deal of nostalgy just thinking about all those amazing places. There were lots of challenges: 23 hours long flight (with transit in Dubai), with a 4,5 year old, jet lag, unbearable heat and thousands of flies in the jungle, to mention just a few. But I would have done it again, even tomorrow, even if I only had 15 minutes to pack (kind of task you sometimes see in tv shows), because what is all the hardship compared to what remains? 😊

It all started when T found super cheap tickets to Australia on (great website, you can find deals on practically anything). 750£ return for the three of us, it’s just doesn’t happen. We flew to Sydney, and back to England from here as well, but started our trip from New Zealand, we just bought additional tickets to Auckland. We planned and organised the whole thing ourselves, travelled by planes (total of 13 times on the plane during a month, including all domestic flights). Shorter distances we made by buses. A month is not a lot to explore such massive land and so many unique spots, so I think the plane was most reasonable, comfortable and quickest option.

So first I found places that we wanted to see, printed out big calendar and marked where and for how long we would stay, and according to this we bought all the flights. The last thing to sort out were hotels, which, as always, we chosed based on tripadvisor reviews. It’s always good to check the hotel you want to book on different websites, such as i.e., or expedia, to get the best price. We also booked some of the excursions in advance, if we were somewhere just for few days, to make sure we don’t miss it (i.e. 3 day trip to Kakadu National Park in Australia). We used to book most of the excursions.

That’s how it looked from the admin side, many, many hours we spent scribbling on our plan, erasing and making changes. I marked all our hotels in this post, they were all very good and I recommend them in case you’re planning your own trip.


At first our trip was dominated by mega jet lag ( time difference between UK and New Zealand is 13 hours!), so we’d been waking up at night, and wanted to sleep during the day (just look at nightime colouring session below 🙂 Lily was only 4,5 year old and we had to carry her a lot, major crisis came upon us right at the beggining, in Hobbiton, where she cried and was carried all the time (she got her spirit back pretty quickly, when we bought ice creams at the exit).

colouring at 2 am, because why not?
first morning in first hotel – Fenton Motel Rotorua

Rotorua, Te Puia and the geysers

NZ consists of two islands – north and south. We picked places we wanted to visit on both islands and mapped out our route. Rotorua, situated on the north island is famous for its geothermal activity and Pohutu – the main geyser of the area, that spurts out up to 20 times a day. There is Maori centre here, where you can learn about culture of Maori – indigenous people of NZ.

As for the attractions for kids, there is a sheep shearing display, big playground and park of native animals of NZ. By the way, did you know that the symbol of New Zealand is cute little Kiwi bird? That’s why people of NZ are often referred to as Kiwi people or Kiwis, and it’s not considered offensive but full of pride and endearment. Also most of the names of places originate from Maori language, they sound very exotic and are proper tongue twisters 🙂.


The Hobbiton in Matamata village

I’m not particularly into Tolkien and his books, of course I watched The Lord of the rings and The Hobbit, as did everyone, but I was simply stunned and excited by this place like the biggest fan. It’s pure magic, honestly. Meat drying at the front garden, tablecloth and jug on a tiny table, vegetable basket and flowers blooming around every hobbit hole – everything is so beautifully made it’s impossible not to feel like in the actual Shire. If I loved it so much, just imagine what it must be like for real fans!

Most of the houses are just a facades – front door and garden, interiors are only in those, where action took place, like Bilbo Baggins’s house. Peter Jackson, the director of both movies had abnormal attention to details and was crazy about  every tiny piece of scenery to be exact same as in Tolkien’s descriptions. He thought local sheep with white heads and legs were not very authentic, so they were temporary transferred, and black headed and legged ones were brought instead. Also some of the trees didn’t quite resemble those in the books, so thousands of handmade, painted leaves and fruits were sticked to them, and the tree above Bilbo’s house is completely artificial. There is a famous anecdote about really loud frogs, which made filming impossible, so again Jackson had them all caught up and driven away (they came back after the filming was over 🙂

Admission is 75 NZ dollars (roughly 44 £), in the shop you can buy beer and lots of other stuff that looks like taken straight from hobbit world 🙂.


Bilbo Baggins house


tired level hard 🙂


The Green Dragon Inn


Waiting for the bus back from Matamata



Lovely little city surrounded by mountains on the south island, we came here by plane from north island, stayed in Novotel and after 2 days we drove higher into the mountains – to Te Anau, which is a base for excursions to Milford Sound, the most famous fiord of New Zealand.


Te Anau

We stayed in Lakeview Motel, I completely forgot that we were in the mountains, and that sun is burning even if it doesn’t seem particularly warm, so we ended up with red patches here and there.


Milford Sound

Famous fiord and very popular tourist attraction, and it’s hardly surprising as the place is just beautiful. Wonderful nature, mountains, seals and dolphins chasing our boat, we played a game with Lily, who will spot the most of them 🙂


I haven’t added any filters to this photo, it’s just so naturally gorgeous there 🙂




This little town of a crazy name is a starting point for exploring Abel Tasman National Park.

Torlesse Motel in Kaiteriteri and mandatory jumping on the bed in every hotel we’ve been 🙂


Abel Tasman National Park

It’s a tour on the boat, because this park is an incredible selection of beaches and bays, illuminating all shades of blues and turquoises.


Murderers Bay, it was named after violent encounter between Maori and Europeans, when they first came here in 1642


I’ve never seen this many shells anywhere else in my entire life 🙂


my little trip planner 🙂

As for the places we didn’t get to see but are awesome too, Tongariro National Park makes top of the list. It boasts three active volcanoes, and some scenes of The Lord of the rings were filmed on one of them.

We skipped Tongariro, because it’s a mountain terrain and requires some intense hiking, which our child hates.

Those of you, who unlike my daughter, love climbing, can also try your skills on Franz Josef or Fox glacier.

And if you are adrenaline junkie level hard, try bungee jumping here! Why in New Zealand? Because that’s where it was invented, and the first bungee jump ever took place right here. I know I could never do it, although I skydived from 4000 m, but bungee seems to me…too brutal and bones pulling, I don’t know, maybe it’s not like that at all 🙂.

One of the best things about New Zealand is that it’s the least populated country in the world. On both islands, which are the size of Japan, live only 4.7 m people. There is no crowd anywhere, and we felt so special everywhere we went. Peace and lack of ques and no masses of tourists everywhere was exactly what I dreamed about.

The weather in December was splendid, summer but without unbearable heat, the nature is fantastic, crystal clear water in the lakes and rivers, lush green hills decorated with hundreds of fluffy sheep, and lots of awesome places to see. I’m eternally thankful that we got to be here.

Is Malta good choice for family holiday?

This time for spring half term we decided to go to Malta. I haven’t quite mentally recovered yet from our recent flight to Dominican Republic so 3,5 hours on the plane was just what I’d have been able to survive. The weather is really nice in the end of May, with average 28°C it’s perfect for swimming in the sea, but also not too hot for exploring cities, like in the full summer, when heat is just unbearable. Malta immediately reminded me of Cyprus and Greece with its buildings and architecture, and it also has rich history going thousands of years back. The sea, as I mentioned before was ideal for swimming, with pleasant, not freezing cold water, as in many European holiday destinations at this time of year. Many beaches are located in bays, that’s why water is rather shallow and with no waves, just perfect for children. Everyone here speaks English and it’s close everywhere, as Malta is a small island and you can get pretty much everywhere within half an hour by car. Public transport is well developed, buses run frequently between major cities. It’s also not as expensive as in i.e. Italy or France. So given all that it looks like a dream holiday choice, relaxing and without too many challenges. And I have already answered the question in the title so it’s probably time to wrap up this post 🙂 Seriously I need to work on building some kind of suspense in my writing. Now it’s time for a bit of practical info about some pretty cool places in Malta.

Golden Bay

It was our first stop. Golden Bay is considered the best beach in the whole Malta, and it’s hard to disagree. The sea is smooth all day long with just lazy little waves, and blues and turquoises just change saturation and intensity depending on the time of the day. We stayed in Radisson Blue Golden Sands located on the hill overlooking the beach, with such fantastic view:


Hotel itself doesn’t look pretty from the outside I’m afraid, something like a blocks of a massive old warehouse, but the interior is a whole different story, it’s modern, and you can feel breeze of luxury when walking through tastefully decorated corridors. Rooms are very comfortable, there is a living room with bed and with fully equipped kitchen, large bathroom, and a bedroom, so it’s more like a flat than just a room 🙂 Food is really good, dishes served in the bar down at the beach were also yummy and looked divine.

There are some places that just have something special, once you’re there you can feel this good vibe that brings smile on your face. I’ve seen some stunning beaches and have been to pretty amazing hotels, but this place just makes you not want to leave, I really felt just wonderful there.

First thing I saw when I’d opened my eyes in the morning was this splendid image of the light blue sea and rocks, I watched people, who went for an early swim as they where getting further and further until all I could see were small dots disappearing on the horizon. We so fell in love with this place, that when after 2 days, following our plan we went to another hotel in St. George’s Bay, we decided to cancel it (not without difficulties) and go back to Radisson and Golden Bay for another couple of days. If I ever go to Malta again I will stay here, no doubt, and if you’re planning to go, look no further, it doesn’t get better than this 🙂


There is a water sports centre on the beach, you can go kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, paddle boarding or pedal boating. I was finally able to fulfill my wish and try paddle boarding, and I’m telling you, it’s just the best 🙂 Just me, shimmering sea and magnificent rocks, and in such calm water I could go really far which was so exhilarating! Lily liked it as much as I did, and either wanted to go with me all the time, or was stealing my board and was going by herself 🙂

IMG_6537IMG_6538IMG_1949IMG_1932IMG_1928And here is couple of more photos from Radisson Blu:IMG_1972IMG_1970

Morning coffee, unfortunately I couldn’t drink it in peace, but with what view! 🙂


Mdina – The Silent City

Medieval capital of Malta, the history of this remarmable city goes back 8000 years BC. The walk through its narrow quiet streets with a mix of middle ages and baroque architecture is truly unforgettable.




Picturesque little fishing village with characteristic luzzu boats alongside the promenade. Every Sunday there is a market here, with variety of local produce. Palm trees, old houses, market stalls and colourful boats create unique scenery for some brilliant photos. You can buy pretty much everything here: fish, fruit, veg, clothes, toys, but number 1 bestseller here is honey and bee’s wax.


Comino and The Blue Lagoon

This is the most popular excursion in Malta. It’s also available as a half day tour, which is convenient option for families with small children. The water is clear and beautiful, you can snorkel or admire the world above the water surface, almost untouched by human hand. The air is scented with thyme and other wild growing herbs. Pure nirvana for body and soul, although everpresent crowds can make it difficult to reach.



Small island with an area of only 8×16 km. Gorgeous landscape, peace, quiet, and way less people than in Malta. Its mountain terrain is great for hiking lovers. It’s really worth a visit, just to take a deep breath and appreciate the nature without having to rub elbows with other tourists. You can get here by ferry from Cirkewwa to Mgarr.


It’s the smallest capital in the world. History meets modern here, and old buildings are competing with high street shops to get more visitors. One of the famous places here is Grand Master Palace, which was the administrative centre of Malta for almost three and a half centuries. There is a vast collection of armouries, sculpture and paintings here, so if you’re passionate about history and art, the visit is a must. Apart from cultural heritage, Valletta also has to offer great shopping opportunities and some delicious ice cream 🙂


Grand Master Palace


We had planned to stay for 2 days in the area of Malta called St. Julian’s, in Marina Hotel Corinthia, right next to the beach called St. George’s Bay, but when we arrived I couldn’t help feeling disappointed. The hotel itself was nice, but the beach in the middle of the city is not my dream set up, so as I’ve already mentioned, we cancelled this hotel after one night (it was booked for another two) and booked Radisson in our paradise in Golden Bay again 🙂 The areas of St. Julian’s, Paceville, Pembroke are main party destinations in Malta, so if you want peace and quiet, better keep away from here.

There are also regularly run trips from Malta to Sicily by boat, but it’s a long and exhausting day, so we gave it a miss. Anyway I think one day in Sicily would be so not enough, it’s the place I’d rather go for the whole holiday to really appreciate it.

St. Julians, St. George’s Bay


Mellieha Bay

It was our last stop in Malta, this time we stayed in all inclusive hotel db Seabank in Mellieha Bay, which is also high on the list of top beaches in Malta, but in my opinion it’s nowhere near Golden Bay. Besides, the hotel itself was overcrowded and had a mass feel to it, and that’s why I wouldn’t stay here again.


As for the attractions for children in Malta – there is a waterpark and an aquarium, but after a thorough research I decided not to go to any of them. The waterpark has unusually bad reviews, everyone says that it’s dirty, neglected, even dangerous. About the aquarium; most people were saying there is not too many fish, and after 15 minutes you’re done here, and that it’s not very impressive, especially if you’ve been to some cool aquariums before.

So to sum up, Radisson Blu Golden Bay is my number one in Malta, but when I was preparing for that trip I’ve found some other interesting hotels, so I share it with you as I know how time consuming it is to find something worth recommending.

Where to stay:

Gozo: There is truly amazing hotel here in Gozo, called Kempinski San Lawrenz, it’s not located directly on the beach, but it’s close to Dwejra Bay, where until recent years you could have admired famous rock formation – Azure window, which collapsed in 2017. Visit the hotel’s website to see for yourself how beautiful it is, shame there weren’t any rooms available when we where there. Another popular sandy beach in Gozo is Ramla l-Hamra, it’s vast and there is not as many people here as on Malta beaches.

St. Julians: Radisson Blu Malta, Hilton Malta, Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay, Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort, Westin Dragonara

Valletta: Domus Zamitello, Grand Hotel Excelsior

How to survive sightseeing with kids

Our traveling adventures started almost 11 years ago. It’s hard for me to believe that this much time had passed since our first city break in Amsterdam, visiting Rembrandt’s house, and Anna Frank’s house, where she and her family were hiding during the World War II, buying colourful wooden clogs and tulips – the top Dutch souvenirs. Then it was Milan in December and Nutcracker in La Scala as my birthday treat, and admiring Last Supper on the wall of Santa Maria della Grazie. We had all the time in the world and the luxury of being able to do whatever we wanted with it, whether it meant hiking in the Pyrenees or staring at paintings in Louvre or Vatican Museum for hours. We could do crazy things, get knackered, knowing that in the evening we can just hit the bed and sleep the whole night undisturbed and get a good rest for the next ultra active day. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Since we had Lily everything changed of course, and also our traveling style has also evolved for those 8 years since we became parents. First time we traveled as family of 3 when Lily was 9 months old, in the last days of December we went to Spain, staying for a couple of days in Malaga, Cordoba and Granada. When I think about it now, it seems that traveling with a baby is in some ways easier than with 2, 3 or 4 year old. Ok, changing nappies in public places with no facilities, or attempts of feeding screaming baby in a kilometre long que to Alhambra can prove a hard test for even most relaxed parents. But once these obstacles are overcome, and naps and feeds are taken into account, we can risk a statement that it’s still us, parents who rule and decide about plan of the trip. Just put the baby in a carrier or pushchair and we can set off wherever we want. And how does it look with a child a bit older? Rather correctly assuming that he won’t be fascinated by Bosch’s or Caravaggio’s paintings strongly enough to spend more than 3 seconds in front of it (in front of just one that is, by no means not in front of every on of them in 40 rooms that you were hoping to see 🙂 , it’s time to admit that times of parent’s absolute monarchy are over. Now it’s compromising time, so that smaller participants are reasonably happy too, otherwise they’ll do everything thay can for you to question your own sanity and asking yourself what the hell were you thinking going further than 1 km away from favourite toys and Cbeebies, and for more than couple of hours!!! I’ll give you couple of hints that will make your life easier during city break but not only 🙂

1. Sightseeing with kids is all about compromise and if your kids are old enough, ask them about their expectations and let them plan the route with you

As we’ve already established, times, when you managed to visit 5 museums in one day, and pop in to a famous cathedral on your way back, and also stopping for a contemplative latte in a near cafe are long gone. Now you need to consider the needs of all travellers and if you don’t want those with shorter legs to make a hell out of your holiday, you stop at every playground and street stall with rubbish plastic stuff that no one ever needed. Set the rules first and explain to your child, that you’ll go to places and do things he wants, if he tries his best and goes where you want first. This way you’ll probably see less than you’d have before, but at least it will be reasonably pleasant and there is a chance your nervous system will be intact. If despite all your effort and encouragement your little one stomps his feet and refuses to go one step further, there is nothing else left but turn to final resort, very effective and tested by generations of parents child disciplining method, that is bribe. We’ll go for an ice cream after we visit this castle, and we’ll buy sparkly Elsa necklace tomorrow evening, after a whole day of fascinating city walks. Win – win situation 🙂

2. The itinerary for the day can’t be too packed

You need to be realistic and spread the activities evenly in time, setting aside breaks for meals, play, rest. It’s the quality, not quantity that counts, so even if you don’t get to see all the top sights, at least you won’t be running from one to one like a headless chicken in a fumes of madness, remembering completely nothing from them – waste of time, nerves and lots of new grey hair.

3. Be flexible and ready to change your plan on the spot

The best thing about kids is their ability to see wonders in ordinary things, so just chill and spare a moment to chase pigeons, watch man making giant bubbles, stare at changing colours lights in shopping centre, listen to the accordeonist playning on the sidewalk, pop in to playground and chocolate shop you accidentally ran into. Don’t feel you’re wasting time – these will be some of the most precious moments of the trip, and memories to treasure for years.


Barcelona 2013
playing with birdies in front of El Prado museum, Madrid 2013

4. Find out what are the best local attractions for children

In every big European city there are museums for children, or those with some exhibitions that they will find interesting. Natural history museums are always a good choice, kids will stare with their jaws dropped at giant dinosaur’s skeleton, crocodile or mamooth. When we were in Vienna, we signed up for clay modelling class in museum for children Zoom, and it was great fun, especially that Lily has never done it before, and there were tons of clay in the room and you had to wear special suits. Check if there is any waterpark or theme park near by and spend the day there. Kids will be thrilled and after such fun day, they will be more willing to go where you want next (hopefully 🙂

Zoom – museum for children in Vienna, 2015


Natural History Museum, Vienna 2015


zbieranie gladziutkich kamyczkow (ulubione zajecie w kazdym miejscu)
Schönbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna 2015, looking for perfectly smooth pebbles 🙂
Schönbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna 2015


Bibiana – museum for children in Bratislava, 2015


5. Book a hotel with swimming pool

There is nothing better after long day of walking and sightseeing than an evening dip in a dim lighted swimming pool, or even better – relaxing your aching muscles in sauna and jacuzzi. Kids will have something to look forward to and it will make sightseeing more bearable 🙂

in a hotel in Bratislava, 2015

6. Take pushchair, carrier, sling, scooter, or any other thing that your child likes to move around in with you

Car hire is a comfortable option, but there are places you can’t drive into, and you need to think what’s best to take to make your life on the trip easier. On our city break to Santorini, Vienna and Bratislava we had Lily’s beloved scooter Micro. For younger children you need equipment appropriate for their age obviously. I always take stroller with me, when buying, because of our travelling I was specifically looking for a big and comfortable, but also compact one, fully reclinable and with a wide canopy giving a good shade. I used to take little pillow, blanket, raincover and sun umbrella as well, and with this I felt safe going away for a whole day, because when Lily got tired, she just napped in her stroller and we could carry on walking. We even had pushchair in the Maldives, which seems quite funny when I think about it now, but believe me, it came handy there as well, because in the evenings we could go for a walk on the beach around the island, when our then 3 year old was fast asleep and cosy in her buggy. Besides, the Maldives was the last stop on our trip, we visited couple of cities before, so we had to take pushchair with us anyway.

Here are my photo illustrations of some of the ways of traveling / sightseeing with kiddos, of which undoubtedly the most popular is piggybacking or carrying, and it’s as certain as day coming after night, that sooner rather than later your tired bundle of joy will end up either on your neck, back or in your arms 🙂

in a carrier, Malaga 2010
piggybacking, Australia 2014
piggybacking level hard 🙂 Australia 2014
being carried by mummy 🙂 New Zealand 2014
on the scooter, Vienna 2015


in a pushchair, everywhere

7. Taking turns in sightseeing

Holiday is the time we want to spend together with family, but sometimes there are places you really want to see, but your kids not so much, especially, when he is little and prone to making scenes from hell. Our well tested model of exploring in those tricky circumstances is just splitting. One person is going to the museum (or wherever) enjoying peace and quiet, while other stays in a hotel with baby, or somewhere else where the baby want to be, and then swap. Believe me, it’s a win – win, and it works perfect for us. I know there are people, who don’t like to go to new places on their own, but I don’t mind in the slightest, quite the opposite, I often dream about being alone for a moment or two 🙂

8. Be spontaneous and just chill

How about putting plans and schedules in the bin, so they don’t pressurise and stress you out on your holiday, and just go wherever your legs take you? Hmm I need to try this option next time ( I don’t know if I can function without a plan !)

Here is couple more of our photos from cities:

on a train to Cordoba, Spain 2010
in Alhambra castle, Granada, Spain 2010
Budapest 2012
Budapest 2012
Edinburgh 2012
Edinburgh 2012
Tunisia 2012
Tunisia 2012
Tunisia 2012
El Prado, Madrid 2013
Istanbul, 2013
Istanbul 2013
Istanbul 2013
Istanbul 2013
Istanbul 2013
Te Anau, New Zealand 2014
on the road, New Zealand 2014
Sydney 2014
Dubai 2015
Dubai 2015
Oia, near Santorini, 2015

Nut bark, popular Polish cake with lots going on inside

No matter what’s your taste preferences, one thing you cannot say about this cake is that it is boring. There is so much different stuff in it, that you kind of worry how it will turn out, with all these things put together into one cake. But there is no need to worry, let me assure you, this cake is as good as it gets, interesting, intriguing, not too sweet, with peaches, jaffa cakes, nuts and vanilla cream all covered by jelly. This cake is a party for your taste buds and it’s also visually enticing. In Poland it often accompanies family gatherings and celebrations like birthdays or first communions. It requires a bit of time, and it’s not the cheapest one, but don’t get discouraged by this, and by lengthy recipe, there is a wow factor at the end which makes it all worth it 🙂


8 egg whites (put 5 yolks aside for the cream)

200 g of caster sugar

3 yolks

200 of g of ground walnuts or hazelnuts, or both

3 spoons of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

100 g of raisins

100 g of desiccated coconut

Peach cream

Juice from 2 x 400 g tins of peaches

5 spoons of sugar

300 ml of water

5 egg yolks

1 spoon of flour

300 g of butter

2 sachets of custard powder ( standard size approx. 75g of powder per 450 ml of water)

You will also need:

2 packs of jaffa cakes

2 sachets of orange or peach jelly powder ( again standard size sachet dissolvable in approx. 500 ml of water )

1/4 glass of coffee and 1/4 glass of spirit (optional) to soak jaffa cakes in.



Mix together all dry ingredients: coconut, nuts, raisins, flour with baking powder and put it aside. Separate eggs whites from yolks and beat the whites until set and stiff, still beating, add sugar in couple of portions, then egg yolks. Next add all dry ingredients to your batter and mix them in delicately, using spatula.

Split your nutty batter in half and pour it into greased and lined 2 tin cakes (roughly 25 x 35 cm), or do 1 at the time if you just have 1 tin. Bake in 160ºC for 35 minutes until crisp and crunchy. Leave one in the tin for the base.

Peach cream:

Bring peach juice to the boil, add 5 spoons of sugar and 3/4 glass of water (you should have approx. 400 ml of peach juice from 2 tins, if you have less, just add more water).

Mix your custards with 1 spoon of flour and dissolve it in 3/4 glass of water, then mix it with remaining 5 egg yolks and pour it into your boiling peach juice. Let it boil a little bit longer and stir continuously, then turn off and allow to cool off completely.

Dissolve your 2 sachets of jelly in 750 ml of water ( so approx. 250 ml less than it says on the instruction), cool off and wait for them to start setting.

Lightly beat the butter for around 3 minutes until soft and fluffy and still beating, start adding in your cool custard, portion by portion.

Spread half of the cream on bottom cake layer in the tin. Soak the bottom, spongy part of jaffa cakes in coffee and spirit and place them in rows on top of the cream (chocolate part down).

Put a few spoons of the second half of the cream aside, and spread the rest on top of your jaffa cakes layer. Now cover it with second cake layer and spread the remaining spoons of cream on top of it. Place slices of peaches on it and pour jelly over it ( it needs to be still setting, but not too stiff or liquidish, if you want jelly to set quicker, put it in the fridge).

This is it really, now sit back, relax and enjoy your cake!!!