Monday, 28 July 2014

Eurocamp camping holidays in France

We were so excited to be going back on another Eurocamp camping holiday in France this year but we knew Blondie Boy would only want to go to one parc: Le Brasilia. He's been talking about going back since our trip last September and he's now talking about when can we go back again!

This year we knew all the amazing amenities Le Brasilia had to offer but not how truly awesome Eurocamp's new Aspect holiday home is. The Aspect is brand new for 2014 and exclusive to Eurocamp. It represents the next generation of holiday home and has been designed to help you make the most of al fresco living, with no compromise on indoor comfort.

The first thing we noticed was its kerb appeal--call me shallow but the Aspect looks really good from the outside. Isn't she pretty?

Aspect holiday home Eurocamp

Pretty and functional; the extra large double decking is covered so if you have a translucent child like I do you can eat breakfast first thing without having to slather him in sunscreen first.  There are two sun loungers and a large wicker effect table with four chairs and four foot stools. Can I just say how amazing it was as a pregnant woman to be able to sit at the table with my feet up? Divine!

Comfortable Sun Loungers

Beautiful Patio Furniture

Did I mention the BBQ? It's a super nice, fancy pants gas BBQ. I think NotBlondeHusband's eyes lit up with glee when he saw it. Not that there is anything wrong with a charcoal BBQ but this was so easy to use and clean it made grilling out a treat. We ate every literally meal outside, from breakfast to dinner. We spend the bulk of our time outside on holiday so having a great space to eat, read, relax and play cards is essential and the Aspect more than delivered.

Dining al fresco in France

I know I just said we spend the bulk of our holiday outside but we were totally spoiled with the inside of the Aspect as well. The kitchen is high spec with a coffee maker, microwave, oven/stove, full size fridge/freezer and (wait for it) A DISHWASHER! The last thing I want to do on holiday is wash dishes so this totally won me over! 

There are three bedrooms: a bunk room, a room with two twin beds and the master bedroom. The master bedroom has a king size bed, a ridiculous amount of closet space and was just spacious in general. There would have been plenty of room for a cot and still freedom to move. All of the bedrooms have black out blinds in addition to curtains as well which is always a plus! I can't stress enough how spacious this bedroom was: it really feels more like a hotel room or home bedroom than a holiday home.

Eurocamp large bedroom

The bathroom is also much bigger than we were used to in a holiday home. The shower is just as big as our shower at home and there wis plenty of shelf space as well for all your toiletries.  There are tons of other great features like an iPod dock, free mobile wifi, air conditioning and the couches also fold out into beds so it can sleep 8 adults.

During our week we saw so many people come to look at the Aspects, both on their own and with Eurocamp staff, and you really can't blame them. All Eurocamp accommodation is clean and functional but the Aspect just takes it to a whole other level.

Even with such luxurious accommodation, the amenities of the park are still key to a great holiday and Le Brasilia has everything you could need. Blondie Boy loved walking up to the one site boulangerie to get fresh baguettes in the morning (is there anything better?) and practicing his French!

In addition to the boulangerie there is a fruit and vegetable store (with farm fresh produce), a deli, mini-mart, cave (you can bring your own containers for wine), tabac, laundromat, gift shop and even a hairdresser! That's all in addition to the restaurant, bar and pool snack shop. If you wanted to you really don't have to leave the site but there are large supermarkets nearby, too.

By far the best amenities on site are the swimming pool complex and the direct beach access.  I grew up as a total pool rat and Blondie Boy has inherited his mother's love of the water. With four pools, four water slides, two children's slides, a spa and plenty of sun loungers there really isn't more you can ask for. Blondie Boy loves it so much he'd barely pause to tell me about it!

Right behind the pool complex there is direct access to the beach. The beach is all white sand right until you reach the water where it is a bit pebbly. The sea itself is really shallow so perfect for children and you can go really far out without it going over your shoulders.

Best beach children france

You can borrow beach toys from Eurocamp and Blondie Boy loved digging and building sandcastles along the shore. Since it is so shallow it is also perfect for kids to body surf--basically you just float and wait for a wave and then surf in on your belly!

Having direct access to the beach is great because it means if Blondie Boy decides he's had enough after 15 minutes or is hungry or it is too hot we can just walk straight back to the holiday house no problem. No need to pack a massive bag for the day and spend ages looking for parking--just maximum beach fun!

sandy beaches france

The most fun though had to be watching Blondie Boy in the mini show. I wish I could share videos but there are so many other kids in it that I wouldn't feel right. Blondie Boy LOVES the mini show and we went every single night. Basically all the kids get on stage and put on a show by dancing to some Le Brasilia songs. He puts on little mini shows at home it was so cool to see how much better he was at picking up the choreography this year. I know that Le Brasilia had proper shows at night as well but the mini show was all I needed.

We were really lucky that this year Blondie Boy's Grandma got to come and spend the last few days of our holiday with us. My mother-in-law and her husband had been in Spain so they drove up and got to spend time at Le Brasilia with us.  Since they'd both visited French holiday parcs before I asked her what she though of Eurocamp from a grandparent's, and seasoned European traveller's, point of view:

When our son and daughter-in-law invited us to join them in France to share their Eurocamp holiday, we were delighted to be able to go although if I'm being honest, I have to say we also felt some trepidation. We had a fairly wide experience of holiday destinations in Europe from when our children were small and were confident about the level of service and the type of accommodation we could expect. However there was little resemblance between Le Brasilia and the barely adequate standards of our previous experiences.

Our accommodation was of a very high standard. Purpose built for the environment, with modern bathroom and shower, it also boasted a dishwasher and huge decked area with comfortable furniture. We loved sitting there in the evening, playing board games with our grandson. There was just so much space, inside and out, perfect for generations to holiday together.

grandparents on holiday

We were in a three bedroom home but we noticed that the touring pitches were generously proportioned and well-screened, not often the case in the South of France where spaces are often cramped and small.

The night before we left we agreed that while Eurocamp destinations are great for a family holiday, they would also be perfect for us on our own. Spacious and clean accommodation, the  beach, the pool, excellent shops with fresh produce, evening shows if you want or a quiet drink on your own deck. Eurocamp exceeded our expectations and we will definitely be back.

It's not easy to please three generations at the same time but Eurocamp certainly delivered again.  I know this won't be our last Eurocamp holiday and our next one we will have a baby! I don't know what to expect on a holiday with a baby but I know Eurocamp will be able to cater to whatever we need (they do free hire of baby and toddler essentials!)

Eurocamp deals offers 2015
Right now Eurocamp is running an early booking offer for 2015! Get up to 25% off when you book by October 31st and pay just a £99 deposit!

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Transatlantic Blonde's accommodation was provided for the purpose of this review but all travel and other costs on holiday were met by ourselves. All opinions are our own--do you think I could 3 generations to lie?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bump Watch 2014: 30 Weeks

Last week we were lucky enough to visit Babybond for a private pregnancy scan in Glasgow. Babybond 4D bonding scans are the original and most popular in the UK and include a growth report with estimated fetal weight and optional sexing at no extra charge.  All scans are performed by a qualified sonographer with diagnostic obstetric scanning experience and if your baby doesn't cooperate and they can't complete the primary purpose of the scan they may offer you the option of a free rescan appointment. Scans ranges from fast results like the £39 justgender scan to longer appointments which suit all budgets.

We headed to our local babybond clinic in Glasgow (there are 7 clinics in Scotland and over 60 UK wide!) on Saturday with Blondie Boy for a growth scan. For us the main purpose of the scan was for Blondie Boy to get to see the baby as he had not been to any of my hospital scans, since children are not allowed at NHS scans, and to also get a peek at the baby in 3D and see their facial features!

Our sonographer was lovely and really patient with Blondie Boy answering his questions and explaining everything as she went along. We had a 40 minute session where she checked the baby's measurements, sex and saved images for later. According to the measurements the baby has really long legs (like their Dad!) and was measuring two weeks ahead on their femur length! No wonder I feel like I've got feet jammed in my side constantly!

The baby totally has the same chubby cheeks that their brother had and we think from the images they will probably look a lot like Blondie Boy!

29 week baby 3d 4d scan ultrasound

The baby almost always had their hand up over their face but one of the coolest things was that they kept yawning throughout the scan! I'd never heard of a baby yawning on an ultrasound before. We got a CD of all our images, some print-outs and a DVD as well; I've edited it down from it's full length of over 6 minutes to just show a quick example and you'll see a yawn--and the baby's tongue!--right around 15 seconds in.

We had an amazing experience and it was a lot more personal and involved that the typical NHS scan. It was especially lovely for Blondie Boy to see there really was a baby in there and he has told all his friends and teachers at school about it. I'd highly recommend babybond to anyone looking for private pregnancy scans.

30 week baby size

*How far along?: 30 weeks
*How big is baby?: Cucumber (I assume some sort of genetically mutated, antibiotic fed cucumber because cucumbers aren't that big normally)
*Maternity clothes?: Yes; although I've been wearing some XL tank tops in this heat. No bump pic this week because I've be a hot, sweaty mess.
*Sleep?: Yes, but waking up around 5:30 for a bathroom break
*Best moment this week?: The amazing weather we have been having--it is actually like summer. Yes I'm melting in the heat but we've had 4 days in a row of gorgeous sunshine!
*Movement?: Yes and it is really sore. I think my kid might have super strength.
*Food cravings?: No.
*Labor signs?: No
*Belly button in or out?: Innie but I took out my belly bar because it was sore.
*What I miss: Air conditioning.
*What I'm looking forward to: Fancy pants dinner (that I won!) with NBH next Thursday.
*Milestone: 9 weeks left....

If you like to compare/contrast here is Blondie Boy's 30 week update from 2009.

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Transatlantic Blonde was provided a growth scan for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What I Wore Wednesday: MuradSpace Debenhams Glasgow

Last Thursday Steph and I were invited to learn more about the launch of MuradSpace at Debenhams Glasgow.  MuradSpace is a unique retail environment designed by Murad, Inc., America’s most respected modern clinical doctor’s brand synonymous with high performance, science-based products and services. MuradSpace offers Glasgow the opportunity to experience a skin health assessment inspired by the consultations world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad gives his patients.

Clients who visit MuradSpace will receive a complimentary Skin Health Assessment featuring YouthCam, a state-of-the-art skin analysis system. YouthCam’s proprietary software is based upon over 40 years of research by Dr. Murad and measures 5 key skin health markers: fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, redness, inflammation and pores. The end result is a personalised product recommendation that addresses both the customer’s concerns as well as those identified by YouthCam, providing a scientifically-backed path to restoring youthful beauty. 

MuradSpace counters will also carry all of Murad’s 12 solution-based skincare categories, specifically formulated with the Murad recipe of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators, to deliver glowing, healthy and hydrated skin. 

I was treated to a pomegranate facial at the event and my skin felt amazing afterwards.

Murad takes a holistic approach to skincare looking at your skin from the inside out and taking diet and emotional health into your skin care, too. I love Dr. Murad's approach and especially love his inspirational quotes! If this one is true I'm going to live a long ass time!

MuradSpace counters carry all of Murad’s 12 solution-based skincare categories, specifically formulated with the Murad recipe of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators, to deliver glowing, healthy and hydrated skin. The 12 categories are: Blemish Control; Anti-Aging Blemish Control, Resurgence®, Age Reform®, Environmental Shield®, Redness Therapy®, Bodycare, Murad Man, Age-Proof Suncare, White Brilliance®, Hybrids® and Pore Reform®.

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Bump Watch 2014: 29 Weeks

striped high low maternity dress

First how fab is that Dr. Murad quote? I'll be living a long ass time! I've just noticed that the dress in the above photo is the same length all the way around--it's a high-low sundress. So the back should be longer than the front but my massive bump just decided to even it all out for me.

I had a midwife and physio appointment this week. The MW appointment was fairly uneventful; she took blood to test my iron and Rh and all the other regular stuff. She said baby is measuring a little bit ahead but doesn't feel fat, rather just a bit long maybe. Since NotBlondeHusband is 6'3" this isn't surprising and I think I remember them saying Blondie Boy felt long, too.  I had to schedule my whopping cough vaccine and then they said they'd bring me back again in 8 weeks. I feel like the MW is seeing me A LOT less than my first pregnancy and I kind of find that strange especially since I thought they see you more in 3rd trimester. Oh well.

Today I went to the physio and discovered that the right side of my pelvis had not only slipped out of place again but now was completely rotated-FUN! So I had it manipulated back in to place again (not fun) and am now the proud owner of a pair of shiny crutches. I'm open to suggestions on how I can dress them up for the next 10 weeks so send in your answer on a postcard (or just comment). I'm also on the look-out for a cute, but comfy backpack if you've seen any.

29 week baby size squash

*How far along?: 29 weeks 

*How big is baby?: Acorn squash
*Maternity clothes?: I had on a pink shirt my mom got when I was pregnant with BB and it was borderline short already. Oy vey.
*Sleep?: I'm not sleeping in, but I'm not up all the time
*Best moment this week?: My pregnancy pampering pedicure courtesy of my MIL
*Movement?: Yes. I've had a foot stuck in my side for the past few days and you can totally see the baby shape shifting underneath my skin/through my shirt. I think I traumatized my friend Steph for life last night.
*Food cravings?: I'm more struggling to find anything I really would like if I'm honest
*Labor signs?: No 
*Belly button in or out?: Innie; my belly button is fairly deep I don't think it will pop out. Popped out belly buttons skieve me out so it better not. 
*What I miss: Sitting, laying or standing comfortably 
*What I'm looking forward to: We're having a 3D/4D scan with Babybond tomorrow! Blondie Boy seemed really excited so hopefully he'll like seeing his sibling.
*Milestone: I have 10 weeks until my c-section.

Like to compare/contrast? Here's Blondie Boy's 29 week update from 2009.

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What I Wore Wednesday: Manicures and Pedicures

Last week I got a text from my Mother in Law saying she'd just read my bump update and that based off my update from 2009 she owed me a pedicure! Not one to turn down a pedi I took her up on her offer and officially made the 28 week pregnancy pedicure a thing!

We went to Revival Retreat on Byres Road in Glasgow where I'd not been before but they have proper spa pedicure thrones (not common here) and we got the works. It was very relaxing and if I'm honest I don't think I can comfortably reach my toes now myself! Obviously y'all know I'm digging on neon this summer so I immediately was drawn to OPI's neon collection. I try to get colours in a salon that I don't have at home so I chose You're So Outta Lime.

Neon Green Pedicure

Ignore my fat pregnant feet (see I told you I like Old Navy flip flops) but isn't it a fun shade of green? I was slightly worried it would look like I have a fungus or something but I think it is bright, fun and super summery!

I asked a few of my fellow Scottish bloggers to share some of their summer manicures so you aren't just starting at my swollen tootsies!  First up is Lori, also known as Glasgow Beauty Blogger, who got this fab hosiery inspired Calgel manicure from Swoon Nails in Glasgow.

Next up I had an amazing selection to choose from since Forever Yours, Betty loves to experiment with nail art but since we'll be getting 250 new emjoiis in the next few weeks (is anyone else excited or is it just me?) I had to go with this Emoji manicure by Nancy Mc in London.

Emoji Nail Art

Finally I'm in love with Amanda's, who blogs at Honey Pop, white and glitter manicure. I'm a sucker for glitter and I love how it's subtle in this reverse French manicure with an added statement nail.

Glitter French Manicure

Which nails are your favourite? Do you tend to go for a traditional one colour manicure or do you like to play around with nail art?

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Bump Watch 2014: 28 Weeks

So I'm keeping it real with my bump pic this week. I look a hot mess but this is how I look when I work from home whatcha gonna do--at least I put a bra on for y'all. The truth is if I'm working from home I have no make-up, my hair is in some semblance of a bun and I'm in the most comfortable clothing I can find (hence no bra).  It was another gorgeous day in Glasgow so I took my laptop outside and worked al fresco.

It was a downright tropical 73F in Glasgow and I didn't want to miss out. Emma was feeling the sunshine too. She's gotten exponentially more cuddly the more pregnant I get. Either she knows there will be two things terrorizing her soon or she's just mellowing in her old age (she turns 10 next week). She was on my lap outside most of the afternoon until she got to hot and went underneath a beach chair to hide int he shade.

*How far along?: 28 weeks
*How big is baby?: An eggplant or if you're feeling European an Aubergine.
*Maternity clothes?: How many times do I have to say yes? I do have a non-maternity maxi dress on today but I'm bumming around the house working from home.
*Sleep?: I slept pretty well last night but I was exhausted
*Best moment this week?: We let Blondie Boy play hookey yesterday as it was gorgeous and we went to the outdoor swimming pool in Gourock and then strawberry, raspberry and pea picking at East Yonderton farm. Then we rounded it off with a BBQ in the backyard.
*Movement?: Yes and I'm pretty sure there is some sort or appendage stuck in my side.
*Food cravings?: I've really been wanting a slushie but it is a tropical 73 in Glasgow.
*Labor signs?: No but I had my first Braxton Hicks after our adventures yesterday.
*Belly button in or out?: Innie
*What I miss: living in a country that has outdoor pools all over the place
*What I'm looking forward to: World Cup final on Sunday. I'm not the biggest fan but Blondie Boy has really gotten in to it and loves watching with NBH.
*Milestone: I'm in my 3rd trimester now. WTF.
If you like to compare/contrast here is Blondie Boy's 28 week update from 2009.

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