When I had finished booking our holiday to Albufeira in Portugal the first thing I looked up was ‘is there an Albufeira tourist train?’.  My kids love the land trains that you find a lot in Europe and they are often a fun activity for families that help with sightseeing too.    It turns out there is an Albufeira tourist train but there’s very little information on the internet about it. Even when I asked at our hotel, they didn’t have any leaflets and didn’t really know much about it

A road trip through the UK sounds like a wonderful idea, but you need to prepared. You need to have some sort of idea about where you are going, staying, activities you’re going to be doing, etc. There are going to be some essentials that you must have before you set off on your next adventure.  If you don’t know what these are, keep reading because we are going to talk about them in this article. A Dashboard Camera Image Credit The first thing that you need is a dashboard

Teaching children about money is one of the most important life skills you can pass on to your kids.  I had a really poor example set to me about money, and in all honesty it took years to undo.  My parents were quick to use credit cards and didn’t save for things that they couldn’t afford.  As a result, debt was a normal part of life, and I didn’t fully understand the costs involved in borrowing money until much later in life. Teaching kids about money and setting a better

When we were asked to review the Karcher K7 Full Control Plus Pressure Washer I had a feeling it was going to be the solution to the majority of our outdoor cleaning problems.  This is our first time owning a pressure washer so I had no idea how to use it or if in fact it would be up to the job of cleaning things like our decking and our car.  Read our full Kärcher k7 review to see how we got on: Karcher K7 Full Control Plus Pressure Washer Review

Washington DC is very much a place we want to visit when our travels take us back to the USA.  If we head back to New York as a family, I would certainly consider a day trip to Washington DC.  Ideally though, I would like to spend longer in the city to give us the time to enjoy all the things to do in Washington DC with kids. I know that we would find some fun and educational things for the kids to do in DC, and I also think that

Where on earth did December go? One minute we were cracking open the advent calendar and the next minute it’s like 3 sleeps before we will be tracking the big man doing his rounds on the Santa tracker. I’m putting it down to it being a really busy month.  I’ve had lots to sort out from work deadlines, the occasional life curveballs and everything else that goes with family life.  It’s not left a lot of time to feel Christmassy,  and that’s something I’m determined to change. I love the

If you’re a seasoned traveller, the likelihood is that you’ve seen it all. From downmarket hostel dormitories, to great hotels that took you by surprise, you’ve probably stayed in a whole host of different accommodation types. On top of this, you’re likely to have visited some landmarks that were recommended to you, only to find that they were actually awful. When it comes to splashing the cash abroad, there are a few ways to always get it right, so make sure you check these things out before you book! Image

If you are looking for things to do in Lisbon, I promise you that you are not going to be disappointed.  Lisbon is one of the most interesting and vibrant cities to visit in Europe making it not to be missed.  We are going to talk about where to go and what to do so you can have the very best cultural experience during your visit to Portugal’s capital. If you love experiencing new cultures and have a passion for European history, you might be interested to know that Lisbon’s

Fossil hunting is such a fun holiday activity for kids visiting the Jurassic Coast.  When we spent time in Devon, we visited Seaton beach with the girls.  We didn’t really have a plan for our fossil hunting but we ended up finding a rock full of fossils.  It was a large rock full of small molluscs that must have died at the same time.  The girls were so excited to find it, it was like they had struck gold. It got me thinking that if we had a plan or

Hello readers! How are you?  Welcome back to my ‘Win a Holiday’ feature!  I hope you have had a great week and you are looking forward to Christmas. I’ll be honest, December has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me and I’m really ready for a break with my family.  When I was feeling a little bit low last week, I wanted to do something to cheer myself up.  Nothing makes me happier than helping Zena’s Suitcase readers and the first ‘holiday giveaways‘ post was published. The holiday competitions

We are huge fans of the Lakeside Arts Djanogly Theatre in Nottingham so we couldn’t wait to see this year’s Christmas performance, Red Riding Hood.  Going to the theatre at this time of year is one of our favourite family Christmas traditions.  When the weather is cold and damp, and the days are cold and dark there’s no better way to lift the spirits in my book. The Djanogly Theatre at Lakeside Arts is a lovely venue perfect for family friendly theatre.  It’s small and intimate which means there really are

Let’s talk about dolls for a second.  When I found out I was going to have daughters I made a decision not to encourage them having dolls for toys.  I soon came to realise that I was breaking one of my own golden rules of parenting.  Restriction is a tricky path to go down if that is all you rely on.  Teaching balance and how to make informed choices will stand any child in much better stead than restriction in the long run. So hang on a minute, I thought

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about Christmas presents as it always cheers me up.  I love helping Brook and Indie write their letter to Santa and asking them what is on their Christmas list this time of year.  They are 4 and 6 years old, but I think buying presents for young children is a really magical thing.  As you might already know if you follow this blog I have a much older son, and I one of the things I noticed was how Christmas presents change over

With Brook starting school this year we are super keen to find as many fun toys that aid her learning journey as possible.  That’s why we were all very excited when the LeapFrog LeapStart Electronic Book arrived with a copy of the Trolls activity book – Solve it all with Poppy & Branch. LeapFrog LeapStart Electronic Book Helps Early Years Learning The LeapFrog LeapStart interactive book is an electronic book that helps kids with reading, but lots of other skills too.  There is a stylus that they use with the book

Who doesn’t want to win a holiday or some cool travel gear? If you sad yes, then you are absolutely in the right place.  I stumbled across a new travel website yesterday and they were giving away £18,000 worth of holidays during December.  Well, of course I entered and I thought Zena’s Suitcase might like to read about other great holiday competitions on the internet. If that’s something you would like to know about, it could well become a regular feature. All the holiday giveaways in this list will be

You can never quite say what you want in 240 characters on Twitter so I wanted to share my full apology on the blog today. I am so incredibly sorry to anyone who has been offended by anything that has appeared on my blog or timeline.  I would never intentionally publish anything here that I thought was going to upset anybody.  That is the furthest from what I am about or this blog. I have taken my eye off the ball and for that I’m incredibly sorry.  The post in

Dear son, How on earth are you turning 21 years old this week.  I have no idea where the years have gone, yet here we are and you are all grown up and not even living at home that much anymore. It goes without saying that I want to wish you a very Happy 21st Birthday and I hope you have an amazing day.  This is now the 3rd birthday we haven’t spent with you and to be honest it doesn’t get any easier.  We miss you so much while

Nothing says Christmas quite like a festive hamper. They make great gifts for friends and family who, for one reason or another, deserve an extra special treat this year.  My friends at Prezzybox heard that we loved a good Christmas hamper, and they asked if we would take a look at their Personalised Festive Food & Drink Hamper to see what we thought. After taking a quick peek at the Christmas hamper online, I couldn’t wait to accept.  Their Christmas hamper looked like it ticked a lot of boxes and

Travel for me is about visiting incredible new places. In the early part of my life I really didn’t travel very far, but I had this burning desire to see more of the world.  The first time I stepped on a plane and left the UK was a life changing moment for me.  I really didn’t know what I was going to find at the other end, but I knew it was going to be good. In all honestly we were heading to Spain for a beach holiday, so I

Hello Friends! Did you enjoy my Disney Princess Sing and Sparkle Ariel Doll Review yesterday? Well, I’ve got even more things Disney to share today.  If you follow me on Instagram you might have spotted that we went to the latest Disney on Ice show to arrive at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.  I shared a lot on Instagram stories that day because it was a lovely show,  if you go and have a look at my Disney on Ice highlights, you can still see some of my favourite moments. The girls were so

Ariel from the Little Mermaid is one of the girls favourite Disney characters by far, so when the Disney Princess Sing and Sparkle Ariel Doll arrived at our house there was a huge amount of excitement.  As always when a Disney Princess doll arrives in our house, I could not get it out of the packet fast enough for them. They were very excited to start playing with Ariel straight away which is always a good sign with children’s toys isn’t it. There are lots of lovely features to the Disney Princess

‘Luxury’ and ‘family’ travel are not two things you often put together – in fact, it’s quite difficult to imagine how it would work! However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy luxury family travel from jetting off to exotic locations to staying in world-class accommodation. Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons If you want to break away from the typical family-friendly resorts and enjoy something a little more upmarket for your family holiday, then you’ve come to the right place. The following tips can help you plan the perfect

Family Day Out at Twinlakes Last half term the girls had an inset day following the week off.  I went online and had a look at Twinlakes ticket prices, and because it was ‘off peak’ to them it was just £8.50 a ticket.  It was a no brainer really, I booked tickets for Indie, Brook and I and had my fingers crossed for a blue sky day for our family day out. How to Find Twinlakes Twinlakes is just 45 minutes from Nottingham, just outside Melton Mowbray.  It’s now in

When I travel to London with kids I know that at some point we are all going to need a little pick me up.  On my recent trip with Indie I new the perfect place for us to go.  I booked us a table for a visit to Choccywoccydoodah in Seven Dials, near Covent Garden as I thought it would make for a lovely pitstop for us both.  It is the most famous chocolate cafe London has to offer after all. We had been up very early that morning so I

We all love a good holiday, but sometimes the amount of planning that goes into a successful trip abroad can take away from the fun. To avoid letting any logistical issues put a dampener on the whole thing, make sure you’ve organised the most important aspects of your vacay before you hop on a plane.  A great place to start is how you plan to get around your destination of choice. Will you be zipping about in a hire car, or navigating the local public transport system? We’ve put together

Are you looking for places to visit Father Christmas in Nottinghamshire? If that is the case this is a great list to visit Santa near me.  Going to Santa’s Grotto is one of my favourite Christmas traditions and I find it’s a lovely way to keep the festive magic alive.  So if you want the best Santa experience you are going to find exactly what you are looking for in the list below. Where To See Santa in Nottinghamshire Santa Specials with the Great Central Railway Great Central Railway’s “Santa”

If you are about to have a new kitchen it’s a fantastic time to bring your love of travel into the home. Food is such an important part of travel for me that the kitchen seems the most obvious place to add some cultural inspiration from your holiday adventures. I’ve picked out 3 kitchen designs that really inspire me. I hope you can imagine cooking locally inspired dishes here but most importantly they will add a unique feel to your new room. Even if you are looking for cheap kitchens,

Not only is Dubrovnik a stunningly beautiful tourist destination but it’s also a fascinating place to visit with children.  If you have realised that this part of Croatia ticks a lot of boxes for families then you are going to love these things to do in Dubrovnik with kids. The historic buildings and crystal clear waters really do set the scene for the most incredible family holiday experience.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of exploring to be done and children can find a visit here tiring but if you

Family travel is a whole different ball game to life before kids isn’t it? When it was just you finding the money for one or two flights and a room that was adequate for sleeping in the costs were a lot more manageable.  This is why I want to talk about how to save money for family travel. When you have children, and you have to pay for their own seat on a plane, all of a sudden the price of family travel really jumps up.  Family trips can cost

Drayton Manor’s Magical Christmas is back for 2018 and it’s the perfect day out for the festive season. We took Indie, 6 years old, and Brook, 4 years old, back to Drayton Manor Park after a 2 year break. I’m really not sure why we left it so long as it’s always been one of our favourite days out in the East Midlands. Indie and Brook were beyond excited about their day out before they even got through the turnstiles. There was a lot of singing, dancing and running and

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