Monday 25 July 2016

How EasyJet terrified my child *updated*

Please see bottom of the post for an update.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you will know that as a family we love traveling. We have flown all all over the world with our children and Eva took her first flight at 6 months old. She adores flying and normally relishes in the experience. However, what happened on our flight last week has tarnished her enjoyment. She was left absolutely distraught which was distressing for all of us.

We booked our flights to Turkey with EasyJet a few months ago for myself, hubby, Eva who is 3.5, Ophelia who is 8 months old and my dad. We hadn't given sitting together a second thought as EasyJet say they seat families together. It's the first time we have booked with EasyJet as a family.
The following is copied from EasyJet's website: It’s important that we know if you have children in your booking in order to make sure they get allocated an appropriate seat and are seated with you. When you make your booking for your family, please make sure you clearly identify any children in the booking. Just add the number of children and infants in your party in the relevant section and include their ages when prompted. 
We had provided all the information that was required from us when booking and then received email confirmation to say that everything was booked and that our seats were auto allocated. To me that reads that they have allocated us seats together (I was clearly wrong).

It was only when we decided to check in online that we noticed that our seats were all separate. None of us were sat anywhere near each other. Not even on the same rows. Again we thought this must be some sort of mistake as surely a 3 year old wouldn't be placed in a row on her own, separated from family members. We decided to phone EasyJet to double check. 

The first phone call was with a gentleman who was very blunt, very rude, very obnoxious and very unhelpful. He told us that those were our seats and that if we wanted to sit together we should have paid. He said he couldn't do anything about it and that it would have to be dealt with once we got to the airport. He also decided to point out to us that it is illegal for a 3 year old to sit alone on a flight and therefore if they can't place her next to us, we wouldn't be able to fly. This was obviously not what we wanted to hear and it started to cause us a lot of stress and worry.
I then decided to call twice more to see if someone else would be a bit more helpful and sympathetic but once again I was met with the same nonchalant response from them. I was getting very stressed about this situation. I also tweeted EasyJet a few times and I had no response. 

The day came for us to go on our holiday. Eva was beside herself with excitement. We headed over to Bristol airport and waited in the bag drop queue. At that point my husband approached the EasyJet customer service desk to try and resolve our problem there. Once again he was brushed off and told they would sort it out for us at the bag drop.

I was still hopeful that this would be resolved (how silly was I for being so positive?). The woman at the bag drop told us she also couldn't resolve the problem and that it would have to be dealt with at the gate. She said that she couldn't see anyway that they could sit us together but they would try. Once again it seemed like the problem was being brushed off and left for someone else to deal with it.

We arrived at the gate and were then told that the cabin crew would have to try and seat us together. I said I did not want to get on a plane and have my daughter sat in a row on her own whilst they tried to find seats for us but we were told this was the only option.

We entered the plane and the cabin crew knew nothing about the fact that we weren't sat together. It was the first they had heard of it. We were told to take our seats and then they would sort something out. I sat down in mine. My dad then went to his row. As you can imagine Eva did not want to sit on her own next to two strangers and therefore stood in the aisle with her dad. Even though she is only 3, she is not stupid. She could understand everything that was being said and started to get very distressed. She stood there crying.

After about 15 minutes the cabin crew made an announcement and said that they had a child who was separated from a parent and can anybody swap seats. As you can imagine that was met with total utter silence (other than Eva still crying). They then had to inform the pilot as we were late taking off. A following announcement came over and said that we would be unable to take off until somebody moved. Again nobody moved. My poor daughter heard all of this and was distraught. This then made me very upset. It was truly a horrifying experience. 

Someone eventually swapped seats with me which meant that a seat was free next to my dad. Hubby and Eva sat in those seats and myself and my dad went to the other two seats that were allocated to us (in separate rows). Eva was still hysterically crying as she now realised that she wouldn't be sat with her mum and sister. I went to take my seat in-between two older people. They had booked a window seat and an aisle seat even though they were travelling together, which I think is ridiculous and shouldn't be allowed. I went to get in and was told that they did not want to sit by a baby. They were not happy to have as sat by them (more fool them as little did they know that she was a frequent flyer and therefore was actually the best behaved child on the plane). I was totally humiliated. The cabin crew didn't stick up for me at all and allowed these people to speak to me like that after already experiencing half an hour of hell. 

I took the other available seat which was in-between two men. This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily but I breastfeed Ophelia so I found that very uncomfortable. Eva was still crying and still very shaken up and terrified. She actually wet herself through fear and distress. She has been potty trained for a long time, so this is totally out of character for her. After we took off a lovely lady saw that I was breastfeeding and asked her daughter to swap seats with me (I was sat by her dad). I was so relieved as at least I could breastfeed next to a woman, rather than being sandwiched between two men.

As a family we have never experienced anything like this whilst flying. It was awful. We were humiliated. Eva was beside herself with fear and was beyond consolable and it has totally ruined her enjoyment of flying. I've never been so angry at the way we have been treated. EasyJet's customer service is without a doubt the worst we have ever experienced from an airline. They passed our problem onto whoever was next in the chain and they have ignored our cries for help.

I am so worried as we have to do this all over again when we fly home on Saturday. We are all separated. I am not happy for my little girl to be put through that again but EasyJet don't care. We are currently still on holiday so we have tried contacting them via twitter. The only response we've had is a link directing us to their flying with children page. This doesn't help us at all!

I appreciate that sometimes you can't seat families together. We understood that but our argument was the fact that they had allocated a 3 year old a seat on her own away from any parent. 

After the way we were treated I will avoid flying with them again. Their lack of empathy and disregard for help was appalling. We still haven't even had an apology. I'm writing this to warn people so that your experience will not be ruined like ours. It seems to me that it is all a money making scheme by EasyJet to get you to pay for your seats which is not necessary if it is illegal for children to be seated alone. Paying for seats shouldn't even come into the equation when you are flying with young children. 

Have you ever had an experience like this?

We are still away on holiday. I have finally been contacted by Easyjet who have apologised for the customer service we have received. Eva is now sat by us on the way home. Even though there was availability on the plane she was still separated from us. Anyway, that problem has been solved and she is sat next to us.

I also would like to clear a few things with my readers as I have received lots of abuse from people via email and social media. This post is my own personal opinion. I write a blog and share my experiences on my blog. I would have written about flying with EasyJet if it had been a positive experience too. This is by no means a complaint letter (I will be sending one separately). This was written to share my experience with my readers and to warn others of the terrible customer service we received. 
I read and appreciate comments that have been left but I think lots of people have taken this  whole post out of context. I have in no means written it for any financial gain. I will emphasise again, it was written to highlight the appalling customer service that we received from EasyJet before, during and after the flight. 
I would also like to highlight that I had tried to resolve this issue on numerous occasions before boarding the plane.
If our experience home is a good one I will also be writing about that. I will be writing about my holiday, my apartment and everything in between like I always do. I have not written this for 5 minutes of fame, I am sharing my personal experience. 

With regards to EasyJet and complaining as i've already said, my complaint letter will be written when I return home. The customer service needs addressing (before the flight) and after. I have spoken with them about their flawed booking system and they have agreed with the points I have raised. I have written proof of things that have been said to me by EasyJet which will be going in my letter. 

Where I have discussed what happened on board. Again that is my personal experience. For the people attacking me over the breastfeeding comment, I will emphasise again, I was sharing how I personally felt. I am in no means demanding that I have to sit where I want because I breastfeed. I was simply saying that with everything that had happened on the plane before hand, everybody was staring at me and I felt self conscious. I was sat in between 2 men and everybody was staring and talking about me and my family. I wanted to cry. This will not be going in my complaint letter. Once again I will say it was my personal feelings. People that read my blog regularly will be able to relate to what I was saying as they will understand that I was simply sharing how I felt like I always do.

I am not a cheapskate and a chav as I have been called. I had at no point refused to pay for a seat. If you re read the post it was the first time we have ever flown with them as a family and it said upon booking our seats were allocated. 

I also want to thank people for the lovely comments that have been left here and across my social media and by emails. There are plenty of people that were in the same situation I was who will now be checking their seat allocations also. 

Nimble Babies Milk Buster Review

A few weeks ago we were sent a bottle of Nimble Babies Milk Buster to review, which is a cleaning spray for bottles. It targets smelly milk residues and odours and claims to get rid of the cloudiness that often appears on bottles.

Ophelia is primarily breastfed but she occasionally has a bottle of milk. Eva also often has milk in a beaker before bedtime and we find those a pain to keep clean. 

The product is made from the safest cleaning ingredients derived from coconut, sugar and amino acids. Its pH is balanced to be similar to water and it also contains plant-derived products to remove water hardness. It's been clinically tested to be as mild as water. 

It's very simple to use. You add a little warm water to the bottle and then spray twice inside. You can also use the spray directly onto a teat. You can then either use a brush to clean around the inside of the bottle of just shake it. 
If the milk has been left in the bottle longer than a day you may need to spray a couple more times.

We've been using the product for a few weeks and we are very impressed. It really does make the bottles and beakers a lot cleaner. It's very good at getting rid of smelly odours. I've also been using it to clean the monstrosity that is my husband's protein shake bottle. If you've ever used one of those then you know how smelly and grubby they become. It's a miracle worker on that.

We love how simple it is to use. Cleaning bottles can normally be frustrating when you are trying to reach the bottom and remove leftover milk from the sides. The fact that it's a spray allows the product to reach all areas of the bottle that can normally only be reached with a brush. 

We've been so impressed with the product that we've actually bought it away on holiday with us. The temperature where we are has been at least 35 degrees everyday so as you can imagine the bottles and beakers smell very quickly. 

It costs £5.99 for 200ml or £2.99 for a travel size which is 60ml. Its lasted us a while but we don't use bottles daily. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's a product that you didn't know you needed until you've used it.


Thursday 14 July 2016

Ophelia's Weaning Journey At 7 Months Old

It's been a while since I updated you on how Ophelia's weaning journey is progressing. You may have read my post on her first tastes when we initially started. She is now nearly 8 months old and is very much into her food.

She started with puree food but progressed quickly onto finger foods. She seemed to want whatever we were having. I guess that comes with having a big sister to look up to and always wanting what she has. We decided to try to offer her a mash dish and a finger food at every meal which seemed to make her very happy.

Here's what she had last week:


Coconut greek yoghurt
Toast fingers

Dairylea sandwich 
Apple slices

Spaghetti bolognese
Garlic bread


Toast fingers

Ham sandwich

Beef Casserole 
Watermelon Slices

Scrambled Egg
Toast fingers

Selection of finger foods such as carrots, cucumber 
Greek Yogurt

Garlic bread


Coconut greek yogurt
Toast fingers

Dairylea sandwich

Cottage Pie
Watermelon slices

Toast fingers

Ham sandwich

Cottage Pie

Toast fingers

Selection of finger foods such as carrots, cucumber 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Scrambled egg

Cottage Pie

Garlic Bread

A lot of what she eats is quite repetitive but that's because I batch cook and I know she likes it. Her favourite food has to be toast fingers. She would eat them at every meal if she could. She seems to like strong flavoured food which is exactly what Eva liked too when she was weaning.

We've been using the Babymoov lunch set for her meals which we love. The section plate is so handy as I can separate the different food items. We've been using it since we started weaning and it gets used 3 times a day. It honestly still looks brand new. No matter how many times it's had bolognese on it and has been threw the dishwasher, it still comes out looking clean. This is a far cry from some of the other dishes I used with Eva. 

It's definitely durable. Ophelia loves to bash things about at mealtime and her plate, bowl and cup take most of the brunt of it. I'm amazed that they don't even have a chip in them. 

How did you find weaning? What meals and finger foods did your little one's enjoy? I'm always on the hunt for new ideas so please share any.


Thursday 7 July 2016

Who is that girl I see? - Losing myself to PND

This week I had somewhat of a breakdown. Whilst driving and listening to the usual sounds of the 'Now that's what I call Disney' album, one song made me sit up and listen. I can't tell you how many times i've heard it before but on that particular day, it really struck a chord. Perhaps it's because that day I was letting my PND win. I was having a bad day. I was sad, things weren't going well at home. It had been one bad thing after another. After fighting my anxiety off and deciding to try and attempt to turn the day around, I got the girls in the car and we headed out. Little did I know that Mulan and Christina Aguilera were about to send me to rock bottom but also show me too climb back out.

Reflection from Mulan began. I've heard it so many times before but on that day these particular words really resonated with me.

 'Everyday, it's as if I play a part,
 Now I see, 
If I wear a mask, 
I can fool the world,
 But I cannot fool my heart,

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection 
Someone I don't know?
Must I pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside,

There's a heart that must be
Free to fly
That burns with a need to know
The reason why,

Why must we all conceal
What we think, how we feel?
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide?
I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I pulled the car over and gazed at my reflection in the mirror and as the song suggests, I didn't recognise myself. It was such a pivotal moment in my life. I've known for a long time that I have changed. I question myself, my self worth, my actions, my thoughts on a daily basis but it was at this moment in time when all I could hear was this song that it dawned on me. I had lost myself to post natal depression. Who was this girl I see? I didn't recognise her at all. I cried some of the hardest tears I have ever cried. 

As I write this I am crying. This song sums up every thought I have had for the past 16 months. I have had to hide so many of my true feelings. I've had to pretend to be strong, confident and happy. I haven't been able to show what has been ripping little pieces of my personality apart. 

I can honestly say that every day I look at myself in the mirror and I ask why? Why me? Why would something strip me of everything I am, everything I am known for? Why have I allowed this darkness to overcome me? Why have I lost control of my life? Why have I changed? Why don't I recognise myself anymore?

I was always the life and soul. I was always a positive person that wore a smile with pride. I was always outgoing and confident. I laughed, I smiled, I loved. I was passionate and strong and always living life to the max. I was adventurous, fearless and unwilling to admit defeat. This person disappeared around March of 2015. I didn't know that my happiness would be short-lived and my personality stolen from beneath my eyes.

I quickly became withdrawn. I was lonely, sad and vulnerable. I became anxious, angry and irritable. I talked but nobody listened. I shouted but clearly not loud enough. Every time my voice wasn't heard, I felt a little piece of me break away. I began to lose interest in things and most importantly I lost interest in myself and admitted defeat.

I have good days but even on those days you will still find me looking at myself in the mirror and analysing who I have become. 

When I stared into the mirror of my car and listened to those lyrics, I felt a weight shift from my shoulders. I finally understood. That reflection wasn't me. The girl sat there in the plain black t-shirt with baggy trousers was not me. That girl crying was not me. I had completely lost myself to my PND but I was unwilling for it to take me forever.

I am not physically and mentally strong enough to gain my true reflection back straight away but I have made a huge step in realising I am not who I once was and that the old me is still there. I will wear a true smile on my face again. I will start laughing again. I will find my passions again. I will take pride in my appearance, I will read books, I will exercise and I will cook. This is who I was 15 months ago. I will be true to myself and I will not give up. One small step at a time and one day, hopefully soon, I will be able to look in that mirror and smile knowingly. Thank you Disney and Christina. 


Air Tots Review at Go Air Trampoline Park Cardiff

If there's one thing Eva loves doing its bouncing. She bounces everywhere but hey aren't all toddlers the same? She bounces on the bed, the sofa, the trampoline in her back garden, basically anywhere that she can. She also never seems to run out of energy either. 

We were lucky enough to be asked to go along and review the Go Air Tots session at Go Air Trampoline Park in Cardiff. The session costs £5 per child for an hour and the best bit is that the accompanying adult is free. The sessions run during term time on weekdays between 10am-12pm and 2pm-3pm. Weekends the session is 9am-10am. During school holidays the sessions are 10am-11am. I think it's fantastic that they still run a tots session during school holidays as most companies stop their toddler and baby classes during half term which is very annoying for us parents looking for things to do.

Once we arrived we were given wristbands (except Ophelia, you have to be able to walk) and were then given our special socks. These cost £2 but are then yours to keep. I think this was one of the highlights for Eva as she insisted on wearing them with her sandals for the rest of the day. We were then taken to a viewing room to watch a safety video.

We stayed for 2 hours. The first hour 10am-11am is a free bouncing session where you can do whatever you like. Between 11am-12pm there is a semi structured session with the use of hoops, balls etc. During this session the tots are to work towards bronze, silver and certificates.

We were there with my lovely blogging friend Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says and her children.

Eva was extremely confident as soon as she got on the trampolines. She was very happy jumping around and playing with all the accessories that were available. I think the hula hoop was her favourite (and mine lol).

The first thing I noticed about the trampoline park was that the tots area was sectioned off from the rest of the facility. This is so reassuring for us parents as it means no big kids can jump in the same area. 

The area is also directly in-front of the cafe which was ideal for me. It meant that whenever Ophelia needed me, I could also watch Eva at the same time and know she was safe.

During the semi-structured session the kids were taught some moves by Stephanie who was a professional gymnast. She was wonderful with the children and helped them perform things such as star jumps and tuck jumps but also allowing the kids to have free reign when they wanted it.

Overall, Eva had the most wonderful time. This is definitely something I am happy for her to do and we will be visiting a lot. In fact she hasn't stopped talking about it since we went. As a mum I think it is great value for money. It's a very safe place for all the family. The cafe is clean and reasonably priced and the toilet facilities were also good. The staff are all very friendly and approachable. I may even have a go at an adult class as I enjoyed it too. 

Have you been?


Monday 4 July 2016

Top 5 things to do in Disneyland Paris for babies

I'm a firm believer that Disneyland can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter what age you are. You always here people putting off going because of the age of their children, especially when you have other siblings to think about. I don't think we'd ever get the age balance right to be able to go at a time that is ideal for both our girls. If you're a Disney fan then don't wait, there is something for everyone. As you know we are big Disney fans. Arwyn and I visited a few times before we'd even had children. We love it.

On our recent trip Eva was 3.5 years old and Ophelia was 5 months old. Even though Ophelia couldn't appreciate where she was, there were still plenty of things for her to see and do which allowed her to enjoy the family experience with us.

So if you are taking a baby to Disneyland, here's my top 5 things to do (in no particular order):

1) Firework Show

The firework shows that happen every night are something not to be missed. Even though they are normally late, it is worth keeping the family awake for them. Ophelia loved watching the show as it was full of music, light and of course fireworks. It's a sensory overload for them. So that she wasn't startled by the noise, we watched them at a distance at the beginning of main street towards the entrance to the park. We actually had a cracking view from back there and there were a lot less people around that area as everyone tried to get as close as possible.

2) Carousel 

If you take a baby to a theme park normally someone is waiting around with them whilst everyone enjoys the rides. This is why the carousel is a must do. It's safe for baby to enjoy. Eva and I rode the horses whilst daddy and Ophelia sat on one of the carriages. Both girls loved it. Ophelia loved the sights and sounds and thoroughly enjoyed seeing her sister having so much fun. We frequented this ride quite a few times over the weekend as it was so family friendly.

3) A parade

If you can get a good spot early enough then a parade is a must see for babies. We were very lucky in that both times we watched the parade,we managed to get a front space on the pavement. Ophelia was more than happy sat in the buggy watching all the fantastic Disney floats, characters and dancers passing by. If you have a baby carrier with you and they are old enough to be front facing then pop them in there to really enjoy the show.

4) Meet Mickey Mouse

You are never too old or too young to meet the main man himself. This is always top of my list when we head to Disney. Babies love black and white so he really is rather fascinating for them. 
The photographs make fantastic memories that will be cherished forever. They will love looking back at pictures like this when they are older. 

5) It's a small world

There's one ride that always comes to mind when I think of Disney and young children love it. It's a small world is one of the most visually exciting attractions. It's safe for all ages. You get to sit in a boat and are then transported all around the world seeing lots of little people in their native costumes.

There's lots of colour, sparkles, lights and sounds. Ophelia was memorised.

That concludes my list. As you can see, even though Ophelia was only 5 months old she had a fantastic time. It was such a lovely thing to see her so happy and enjoying herself with all of us, making memories to last a lifetime. 


Saturday 2 July 2016

Crealy Adventure Park

This is the second instalment of our weekend at Crealy. My first post focused on our experience glamping which you can read here, glamping. This post will focus on the adventure park.  If you book a glamping trip then your tickets to the park are included for your whole stay. You can also visit the park without staying on the campsite with a day pass or become and annual pass member.

We decided to allow Eva to dictate our first day there. As soon as we entered the park, we handed her the map and let her take us where she fancied. 

First up was the carousel. This is one of Eva's all time favourite rides. I must admit I think I enjoy them as much as she does. It's the perfect family ride as it's suitable for all ages so Ophelia was able to enjoy this one with us.

She then spotted the fairground stalls. Straight away she was screaming for us to try and win her one of the big teddies. I'll be honest with you, I am an absolute sucker when it comes to these stalls. I would stand there all day and play until I got what I wanted. Sadly, daddy doesn't have the same enthusiasm as mummy. We allowed her to play on the duck game and then we had a few goes at trying to throw 2 balls into a cylinder. We failed. Eva was devastated. However, the next day, after much persuasion from me, daddy allowed me to have another go and guess what? I only won! The look on Eva's face was priceless. This is what being in a fun fair is all about.

We then headed into one of the indoor soft play areas. I was surprised at how many indoor areas there were. It makes the adventure park perfect for all weather conditions. There were a few sections to the soft play which was fab. Eva could've spent hours in this particular one as there was so much to do.

We tried to get Eva to go on the Dinosaur ride but I think she's at that age where her imagination runs wild and she honestly thought they were real. We failed to get her on it the entire time we were there.

Daddy was desperate to go on the go karts so he went on with Eva. You had to pay £5 to go on the double karts. Even though they loved the experience, we thought it was a bit pricey. We understand that they are expensive to run but thought they could be cheaper.

We then went to explore the wilderness area and enjoyed hopping along various trails and paths. We found Bambi, much to Eva's delight. There's a beautiful lake to walk around which has an array of ducks and swans living on it. It's a lovely place to have a relax and chill away from the hustle and bustle of the rides.

We desperately tried to get Eva to go on the log flume called 'tidal wave'. She wouldn't go. I think daddy needs to remember that she is only 3 and not 13. He went on by himself and had a blast.

Eva also enjoyed the safari train, the pirate show and hunting for treasure. She even got a certificate for her efforts. We also loved seeing the farmyard animals, however we kept missing all the talks. 

I think Eva's favourite activity of the weekend were the drop slides. We all (apart from Ophelia) had so much fun racing each other down the slides. It was so nice to laugh and giggle and feel like a child again.

We ate in the park twice over the weekend. On the first day we tried Mamma Mia's pizza, pasta buffet. It's an all you can eat restaurant which cost £9.95 for an adult and Eva was £3.95 as she was under 4. We found this such good value for money. Eva loves to pick and have a variety of different foods so a buffet was perfect. The pizza was actually really nice and there were lots of varieties to choose from. We'd definitely recommend eating there.

On the second day, Eva ate in route 66. We weren't very impressed with that kids meal at all. It was quite pricey for the portion sizes and Eva wasn't too keen. We ate in the sandcastle family beach bar and had sandwiches which were nice.

Overall, Crealy adventure park is a fantastic day out for the whole family. We found it particularly good for younger children. There aren't any thrill rides so it does cater more for a younger family. We will definitely return, especially now we know it's closer than we think. At some point this summer we will be heading back glamping and enjoying this place as it took us back to feeling like kids ourselves.

Have you ever been there?

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