Author Archives: Andrea

Andrea March 9, 2018 posted by Andrea

Recipe for the Best Weekend in Barcelona

So last weekend was wonderful. SO wonderful that I wanted to share it. Have you ever had one of those weekends that made you think – wow, life is good. Really good. I’m going to recap it here for any of you that care. If you’re visiting Barcelona, you may want to take some notes to make your own recipe for your best weekend in Barcelona itinerary.

Friday 11:00 AM

A friend was going to be in town for Mobile World Congress (the biggest tech conference in the world). This conference happens every year in Barcelona. Another conference that happens at the same time is 4YFN, which Harris found very interesting so he went again this year. Anyways, my friend Rebecca was staying at my FAVORITE hotel in Barcelona, which just so happens to be practically across the street. She’s a runner and while she lived here we never ran together. But we follow each other on the Strava app so it’s fun to still keep up with her on there. So, I swung by the Cotton House Hotel to pick her up for my usual Friday morning beach run. I don’t usually like running with people but this was a special occasion. I liked sharing my run with my friend, and not just on my app. 🙂

After our run I dropped her off back at the hotel and we snagged this photo. It’s black and white  – because no one looks good in a photo after running 5 miles. One of the workers from the Cotton House came out and gave us water and I laughed and said “I bet he thinks I’m your personal trainer in Barcelona.” HA!

Running with friends is fun.

Friday Night

While Rebecca was here we had dinner plans with our other friend Lisa and my husband Harris (he’s like one of the girls). The four of us went to Els Pescadors, in Poble Nou, a bit further away than we usually go. But I had heard about this restaurant, and whatever Lisa books is always excellent! We met up at the CH for a pre-dinner drink and then off we went. BUT FIRST – the Cotton House Hotel is to die for. It’s my favorite hotel (maybe ever) but in Barcelona for sure. While I haven’t been to all of them (yet), but I’m pretty sure this one will be hard to beat. I’ll do a full feature of it another time, but for now here are a few pictures. I think you’ll see what I mean.

Okay off to dinner at El Pescadors…

Els Pescadors

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we got to Els Pescadors, but we arrived a little after 8:30 and we were the only ones there (they open at 8:00 pm). It was a very traditional looking restaurant, dark wood and white tablecloths. From the name of the restaurant, it was obviously all about the fish here. If you live in Barcelona you quickly get used to the fish being served with the head “la cabeza,” but that is nothing compared to the fish cart that was wheeled out for our menu presentation! Oh, this is going to be GOOD.

The waiter proceeded to tell us about all five of the fresh catches of the day, how the chef would prepare each one, and what vegetables and sides would accompany the fish. I didn’t understand some of what he was saying, but it didn’t matter. I knew whatever we picked was sure to be amazing!  Meanwhile, while we were engrossed in our dinner and conversation the entire restaurant filled up. We started with a glass of Cava, as you do in Barcelona, we had a few appetizers and the chef came out and suggested a bottle of white wine to go with our fish selection, and the fish was delish! 

Saturday in Barcelona

It was a glorious day outside! Glorious. My kids were doing the usual lazy Saturday morning thing. Late that afternoon they were each going to have a friend over for a sleepover. Harris was totally consumed with a new project for work, so it looked like I was going to be solo for the day. Woohooo! I have more energy then my entire family, and usually I give them some grief about being lazy or working. But today I let it go, but I certainly was not staying home.

One of the things that has been on my list to see in Barcelona is the San Pau Hospital, so today was the day.

Since I wasn’t running today, I walked the 2.4 miles to the hospital. I could have taken the bus but it was SO nice outside I wanted to enjoy the day. I made a quick stop at Chica Limona for a cappuccino and croissant and read my book a little. Then I continued on my way passing La Sagrada Familia, buzzing with tourists as usual. I made my way up the Rambla de GaudĂ­ which leads you directly to San Pau Hospital. I usually do not go north of the La Sagrada so I had never even seen this rambla before, but it’s great. You can sit at a cafe and admire La Sagrada from a distance. Then just five blocks up towards the end of this rambla you literally run right into San Pau Hospital.

San Pau Hospital

I CANNOT get over this place. I am kicking myself that it took me so long to come and see this magnificent architectural beauty!

Back in 1930 this was one of the biggest hospitals in Europe. It is essentially six hospitals in one and they call it a city within a city. This is the brilliant work of the famous architect LluĂŹs DomĂŠnech i Montaner (yes, there’s more in this city than just GaudĂ­). Montaner is also the creative genius behind the Palau de Musica and several private homes in Barcelona, including Casa LleĂł Morera that sits on the same block as GuadĂ­’s Casa BattlĂł.

I really do not understand why more people do not talk about this!! It is ridiculously gorgeous, and no one was there. Everyone was swarming La Sagrada, which is totally understandable. But this is SO worth seeing and it’s so close to La Sagrada. Not every building was open, but there are even underground tunnels that you can walk through! I was fascinated by the room in which hospital beds had been set up as they were back in the day. Honestly, this looked like a hospital in heaven. When I die, I’m totally getting one of those beds.

Even the room that had all the in-depth information and history about San Pau was displayed on the coolest structures. And the aqua blue tiles – sigh.  I entered the main building last and l had a hard time taking it all in. The colors, the textures, the tiles, the stonework, the windows, the columns, the statues, and funky stone formations – my neck was so sore from twisting and turning to see everything from every angle. I was seriously OD’ing on visual stimulation.

Eventually, I forced myself to leave so I could get back outside and enjoy the sun and the rest of the day. On my way home I sat down at a little cafe on Gaudi Rambla and had a Clara (beer with lemonade). Many of the restaurants were very busy as it was 3:00 pm, lunchtime. I was almost home when I remembered that a new place had opened up on Gran Via, called Colette. So I stopped in there and had a few tapas.

Saturday Night

I went home to check in on my family. Hudson and his friend were playing video games. McKenna and her friend were out walking around and getting bubble tea at ZenZoo. Harris was still working. I finished some laundry, thought about jumping on the computer, but quickly opted for a little cat nap instead.

My neighbor over at Cotton House messaged me to come over because her plans had changed. She was just staying in, and Lisa was coming over for dinner. I had already eaten the gourmet meal of my kids’ leftover spaghetti and was finally feeling lazy myself. But I got up and went over for a drink because there have been so many times when I have been home wishing someone would just message me to come have a drink! So back to the CH I went, because A) Rebecca was leaving tomorrow B) I cannot resist the CH. I’ll take a Gin & Tonic (or two) please!

Sundays down at Barcelonetta

This is my absolute favorite. Sunday’s down at the beach. I went for a 8 mile run, I planned on 5 but the weather was AMAZING. (Are you getting the theme that Barcelona has amazing weather?)

I love it down at the beach especially on Sundays because there are so many people out enjoying it!! These are my people. Runners are getting their runs in, kids are rollerblading, moms and dads are pushing strollers, older couples are walking hand in hand, young kids are hanging out, the skate park is packed, paddleboarders are in the water (with wetsuits) families are on bikes… and my favorite, the old guys are playing cards and drinking beer by 10:00am!! #LifeGoals

Funny thing about this picture – Opium is a club in Barcelona and I laugh when I run down here on Sunday mornings because there is always some guy hosing down the place from last nights/ early morning shenanigans!! One night I’m going to go see what is happening inside;)

When I got home I made all the kids pancakes and took a shower. Harris and I went to grab a bite to eat at Citizen Cafe, a great little place down the street from us for brunch. Then I went home and binged on some stupid Netflix show trying not to think about Monday. Unfortunately, Mondays are still Mondays in Barcelona too.

Let’s review your weekend itinerary…

  1. Cotton House Hotel – a must! (message me, I’ll come over)
  2. Els Pescadors – fish cart!
  3. Chica Limona (or Granja Petitbo) – breakfast / brunch / coffee
  4. San Pau Hospital – a jewel of architecture
  5. Sagrada Familia (yes go inside!)
  6. Colorette (new & unique tapas joint)
  7. Go down to Barcelonetta and walk around – you don’t have to run 8 miles, you can sit and have a cappuccino or mojito instead
  8. Citizen Cafe – brunch spot
  9. Bubble Tea at ZenZoo (just of Las Ramblas)
  10. This is a bonus – Go to El National for some more design eye candy. I love to sit in on of the middle bars for a glass of Cava and a few tapas










Recipe for the Best Weekend in Barcelona
Barcelona February 23, 2018 posted by Andrea

Stay in a Family Friendly Chateau in the South of France

Stay in a Family Friendly Chateau in the South of France

Yes, we found – and stayed! – in a family friendly château in the South of France! I know. I didn’t really believe it either. When you think of the south of France you think of a romantic getaway and wine tasting with your sweetheart. You typically don’t think of taking the kids.

Let me stop you right there, because first of all – you can take your kids anywhere. It may not be as romantic but you can take them anywhere. You just need to know where to go and lucky you, here I am scouting it out for you first. This is what I LOVE to do. I honestly do not get any more satisfaction then showing people that what they think may be impossible, is totally possible!

So, let me tell you about the amazingly chic, family-friendly château in southern France where kids are totally welcome.

Just a short drive from Barcelona

Château St Pierre de Sejac is just three hours from Barcelona. It’s the perfect French escape for anyone living in Barcelona or visiting Barcelona. The Château sits just over the border in the Languedoc region of France, so if you are visiting Barcelona I say extend your trip a few days so you can get a little taste of the South of France. I mean, you’ve come all this way already so why not!?

Please bear in mind that we visited Château St Pierre de Serjac in the off season just after Christmas. So while the vines may have been empty and it was a bit chilly that did not take away from how fantastic this place was. I could easily see how this place must be a real slice of heaven in the warmer months, when the sun is hot and the grapes are bursting from the vines. However, there was still beauty in the off season as well, you’ll see.


Chateau St Pierre de Sejac

This 200-acre estate dates back to 1870 and has a rich history in the wine-making business. The property was completely renovated and opened in the spring of 2016. In the original chateau building that overlooks the infinity pool, there are eight luxury hotel rooms, for those couples lucky enough to be taking a romantic holiday without the kids. I was able to peek inside one of these rooms and they are stunning. The original chateau is also where you’ll find the main dining room that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as another cozy sitting room with the bar.

Scattered around the rest of the estate are the 36 self-catering properties built specifically with families in mind. That’s right, the owners are parents as well, and they too want to go on a holiday where it’s comfortable and chic.

There is a full spa on the property that offers a wide range of treatments. The spa also includes an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. They even give you warm fuzzy blankets for cuddling up on lounge chairs both inside and outdoors. There is a beautiful event space for hosting large parties and events that also serves as a wine tasting room and wine shop. Inside this building and tucked just behind two large barn doors is where they have started to make wine again.

The Winery

The estate stopped making its own wine back in 2013. But a new state of the art winery was installed at the heart of the estate and a range of wine activities will also be available. September 2018 will be the first harvest to be made/blended at St Pierre de Serjac since the renovation. Château St Pierre de Serjac will call this wine “La Renaissance”.

They created two wine walks for visitors and guests. The walks pass through vineyards where the different varieties of grapes are grown on the estate. A guide is able to explain the history of the Château and the terroirs. The experience includes a visit to the winery followed by a tasting of 6 wines accompanied by a selection of tapas. They also have natural truffles on the estate, as well as a plantation with a walk that explains all about the different grape varieties found in the Languedoc region.

Chic Family Accommodations

The 36 units range from one to four bedrooms and are generous in size. They are stylishly decorated and fully equipped with beautiful kitchens, large dining tables for family dinners, and cozy living rooms with fireplaces. Property amenities vary, but all have an outdoor seating area and a BBQ grill, and 17 of these units have their own private pools. Corner units may have larger grassy areas, and a few even have infinity pools, while some second floor units have only a terrace, perfectly placed for incredible views of the sun setting over the vineyards.

We visited in the winter so even though there wasn’t a single juicy grape to be seen, the setting was still spectacular. I could see how this would be an ideal place to bring the family in the warm summer months.  The Château has a large outdoor dining space that it uses for family style BBQ’s and to host separate kid dinners as well. There’s a kids club during the summer that keeps the young ones busy with activities so parents can relax and be off kid duty for a while too.

Bike riding among the vines

The chateau has plenty of bikes for families to use and we took full advantage of these! Our son Hudson did not know how to ride a bike. Yes, I know this is a bit embarrassing and a parent failure on our part. But he is a skateboarding kid so bike riding sort of took a back seat. We had just talked about New Year’s goals a few days before we arrived at the Château. Learning to ride a bike was one of Hudson’s goals for the new year. We were going to get this done!

For two days we went out and rode bikes. We kept at it, though the wind and cooler temperatures weren’t much fun. On the second day it all came together for Hudson, and we had a blast watching him go! We will cherish this amazing travel memory; Hudson learning to ride a bike among the viness in the South of France. Honestly, this was the ideal setting because no one was around watching him. We had the bike paths and the long estate driveway all to ourselves.

Watch Hudson learn to ride a bike


It can be a hard thing for a resort to successfully mix adult-friendly and kid-friendly. But Château St Pierre de Serjac has really achieved it. I get wildly excited about places like this because it’s a place that lets families settle in and engage with their surroundings. Just because I travel with my kids doesn’t mean I’m always looking for the waterpark and 75 kids activities.

This Château stay is a slower paced vacation, and that’s okay in today’s world. Bring the cards and board games, read a book, go for long walks, ride bikes and don’t set schedules. Seeing my son learn to ride a bike was monumental. But really, I loved just watching my kids try to catch our new puppy Rex in the grass. Another treasured memory from our stay at Château Serjac. I truly cannot wait to go back and check it out in the spring or summer to enjoy one of their new wine walks and jump in the pool!

Château Serjac



Disclosure: Chateau St Pierre de Serjac hosted our stay. It worked out for us to visit on our drive back from skiing in Morzine, France over Christmas break during the off season. My opinions here are honest and my own. I WILL go back in the regular season because I loved it so much.







Stay in a Family Friendly Chateau in the South of France
Adventure February 5, 2018 posted by Andrea

Send Your Kids to Summer Camp in the UK

Okay, yes, it’s only February. BUT if you are like us, you probably have already started plotting out your 2018 travel calendar. We might be slightly more travel-focused then the average family, but one thing that every family thinks about is summer travel plans. And if your kids go to summer camp, you have to start thinking about that sooner rather than later. I wanted to share with you the summer camp that our kids went to last year, because this was a very new and exciting travel chapter for us.

Do you want to travel in Europe without the kids for TWO WHOLE WEEKS? Then listen up. This is how you send your kids to summer camp in the UK.


Summer Camp in Europe

Last year we wanted to send our kids to summer camp. We thought the time was right, and it was an important milestone. We wanted our kids to have a full sleepover summer camp experience. We thought about sending them back to the US for camp, and as it happens, our school here in Barcelona partners with a camp outside of Washington, D.C. We almost did it, but then we thought, there has to be an English-speaking summer camp somewhere in Europe.

We first looked for an English-speaking summer camp in Spain, but we could not find anything. This makes total sense – we are in Spain after all. Why would there be an English summer camp? So then we had the bright idea to start looking in England, which is when we found XUK Summer Camps.

At first glance

This camp looked pretty great and it seemed to be reputable, it’s been around for 20 years. Harris even chatted with them several times via their online chat. We had the kids check out the website and printed out all the materials for the kids to look over and read.

McKenna was thrilled and super excited. Hudson not so much.

Hudson was nervous and scared about going to summer camp. He had nightmares and emotionally broke down at least a few times, asking us if he had to go. I almost gave in because I felt so badly about him having so much anxiety and stress over it. McKenna is two years older and maybe it was a great time for her to go, but perhaps Hudson needed more time? But Harris and I made the decision that we were going to force it and stay strong. It would be a real growth opportunity for him, although I still had some mom-guilt deep in my heart.

Camp XUK

XUK has a variety of summer camps to choose from. There are even day camps for smaller campers and a specific camp for kids to learn English. So depending on your kids ages and situation, you will need to pick the best camp for your child. Then there are certain field trips that they can take the weeks they are there, which are additional add-ons.

The camp provides a list of what to pack, and you can send your children with spending money which is given to the counselors to deposit. The kids have to go and ask to withdraw money from their account.  Parents and family members can send letters to the camp. We had the Grandmas send the kids letters in advance so they would get there upon arrival. You can also email the camp with a special message for your child, which are printed out and given to your child at lunchtime.

Dropping the kids off for camp in London

We were instructed to drop off the kids at Pancreas Station. While that may seem a little crazy – just check them in and hand them over in another country?! – it’s really okay. This wasn’t the first time we’ve handed our kids over to someone in another country. We did this both in Barcelona when they were 1 and 3 years old when they went to Kinder Barcelona in the mornings for three weeks. We did it again in Costa Rica when they were 3 and 5 at some random beachside school for a week, so we could go and explore without toddlers in tow.

When we got to the station we saw a large gathering of kids from the camp in large groups and a few counselor types with XUK shirts on. We asked where our kids should go as they were in the “Activity” specific camp for the under 13 set. I was very happy that our kids would be in the same age group at camp, so if nothing else they had each other. Someone pointed us to the right group. We were early so most of the kids hanging out had just finished camp and were waiting to be picked up. They all looked pretty happy (no one looked malnourished or miserable), so that was a good sign.

During Camp

Families can keep up-to-date with the kids’ activities via the Camp’s Facebook Page. The camp posts photos of what the kids have been doing every day. I’d be lying if I said I was not checking this page hourly at first. The kids were allowed access to wi-fi but it didn’t work so well. But we were able to Whatsapp with our kids on a few occasions. Of course, we don’t know everything that happened at camp, but our kids had some funny stories about some of the campers. What would camp be without some awkward things right?

I was really worried about the food – McKenna is vegetarian and Hudson can be picky. When I asked them about the food they both said without a beat “The food was good.” What? Camp food was good?! I assume they just ate pasta and pizza for two weeks, but whatever – if there were no complaints I don’t really care what they ate.

Another great reason why your kids should go to the XUK Camp is because they get to see a unique side of England. They’re traveling with other kids, and take field trips to attractions in London and cities like Oxford. How cool is that?

Picking the kids up from Camp

It was really bizarre to be going to the Heathrow Airport to pick up our kids, and from there directly fly home to Barcelona. The pick up and drop off of so many kids going so many different places was impressive to me. The camp coordinates all of this and gets your kids where they need to be and on time, whether it’s back at Pancreas Station, Heathrow, Birmingham or the Cardiff airport. Some kids literally take the EuroStar in and out by themselves. This is also why we love living internationally, travel is just a more natural way of life for all these kids.

I tried to not make a scene when we saw our kids with the counselors and other campers with them, but I was freaking out! I wanted to know everything. But most importantly, did they like it?! They LOVED it and not 10 minutes into the conversation they said they wanted to go back next year! I was ecstatic.

After Camp

McKenna and Hudson are still talking to the kids they met at camp last year. They even made plans to attend camp the same weeks as their friends this summer. Many of the kids come from all over Europe, and there were even a couple from the US. In fact, one friend of McKenna’s has been in Barcelona twice this last year and we got them together while she was in Barcelona.

Two thumbs up!

The reason I think I was so ecstatic was because I felt that we had really given our kids an opportunity to grow and be truly independent from us for the first time. Our kids are used to traveling the world, moving around and being flexible in life. But this experience was 100% their own, totally apart from us. Hudson conquered a HUGE fear and more than just survived, he truly thrived. The benefits and learning lessons we gave to our kids were the most important, but it also gave my husband and I two weeks to have our own fun and recconnect as a couple. Priceless!

We already live in Europe so this is an easier jump for us. Coming from the States it might be a stretch but if you are an expat family living in Europe I highly recommend it! Or if you are a digital nomad family, you may want to temporarily move to England this summer. Keeping in mind that it can rain a bit. 😉

I really can’t say enough about this new turning point for our wanderlusting family. I am so grateful that we found XUK Camp and that we made this happen for our kids. Let the countdown begin – we are all signed up for this summer!


Disclosure: I was not paid in any way to write this, but my kids better get the best bunk this year. 😉 LOL I share it with you because I want more kids and parents to have awesome experiences. Counting the days until they go back…

Send Your Kids to Summer Camp in the UK
Andrea January 15, 2018 posted by Andrea

Fun in the Mexican Sun at La Zebra Hotel in Tulum

Looking for fun in the Mexican sun? La Zebra Hotel in the hipster-chic town of Tulum has everything a birthday girl and her party posse could ask for.

Let’s got to Tulum, Mexico!

Tulum, Mexico has always been on my list of places to go. But let’s be honest, what isn’t on my list. 😉 Tulum is a hip and tranquil hot spot just a 90 minute shuttle ride from Cancun, and away from the gigantic concrete all-inclusives that line the Cancun beaches. Tulum has been the go-to spot for New Yorkers escaping the cold bitter winters for years (says a New York friend of mine). Mix that with a bunch of Los Angeles entrepreneurs opening boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and yoga retreats, and you have one chic little town. So naturally, I had to see what all the cool kids were talking about.

When I decided to have my 40th Birthday in Tulum, the only thing I needed to decide on was which hotel was going to host this epic celebration. This was a bit of a stressful task. I had 12 women coming and I wanted to make them all happy. In the end, I was deciding between three hotels but I finally decided on La Zebra Tulum.

La Zebra Tulum is part of the Colbri Hotel Group, which has four hotels in Tulum. La Zebra checked off all of my boxes. It was right on the beach, and had a good restaurant & bar. The rooms were nicely decorated and modern, and it wasn’t extremely expensive. It also seemed to have the overall vibe that I wanted – barefoot in the sand, chill and fun.

Looking for fun in the Mexican sun? La Zebra Hotel in the hipster-chic town of Tulum has everything a birthday girl and her party posse could ask for.

Booking at La Zebra Hotel

When booking my reservation for our large group I worked with the hotel directly. No. I did not ask for a media rate or discount of any kind. I was not “working” – this was my BIRTHDAY! I was not interested in owing them any sort of coverage or social media mentions. Nor did I want to burden my friends with that sort of thing. I was a regular paying guest. However, they did give me a small group rate discount since I was booking so many rooms. I paid for the rooms and had my girlfriends pay me directly. It was easier that way then them booking their rooms. I wanted to actually pay for a portion of their rooms as well, I mean – they were coming all the way to Tulum for me.

I am not sure of the number of emails that went back and forth, but towards the end it was A LOT. They helped me coordinate transportation and even a day of activities to the Tulum Ruins and the Grand Cenote. They were so helpful and responded to all my inquiries quickly. I am sure they were eager to meet me, the crazy 40-year-old lady and her 12 friends!

Arriving at La Zebra was so lovely. We were on the main road that goes through Tulum for about 15 minutes when the van stopped and pulled into the small driveway of the Hotel. There was lush greenery surrounding a small desk and a gorgeous zebra wall behind. I knew instantly I made the right choice, and I hadn’t even got out of the van yet!

The Rooms at La Zebra Hotel

Once I did get out of the van, the lovely ladies at the front desk were anxiously awaiting me because they had a surprise for me. They had upgraded me to the penthouse beachfront suite for my birthday! This amazing suite also came with a gigantic hot tub, which would later be the crazy party tub all weekend long. My birthday is in September which isn’t exactly high season in Tulum. It can be the rainiest month, so I took a real gamble. But in the end it was so worth it, because I am sure that suite is probably usually booked! I was so appreciative of the upgrade. My two roomies were sure to love it as well! One of my girlfriends had brought a few decorations for my room, including a Happy 40th Birthday banner which she hung above my bed.

One of the things I liked about the rooms at La Zebra is that you can have three people to a room, there is a king bed and a pull out sofa bed. This also makes it family friendly if you want to bring a kid or two. This may have also been the reason I choose this hotel too. As someone who usually travels with kids, I am always trying to find accommodations that are well-designed and cool for families too! But this weekend was NOT for families. Trust me. 😉

La Zebra has a variety of rooms to choose from at different price points. The ground level suites have dipping pools and you can either have an ocean view or be a bit further back on the property and have a garden view. To be honest, I liked the garden view suites because they were a little more tucked away and felt a bit more private. Also, when you’ve had enough of the sun and beach it was nice to retreat back to these rooms. I booked us all rooms with a dipping pool and at night we sat around one of these dipping pools drinking wine or tequila. It was perfection!

My penthouse beachfront suite balcony!

The Beach at La Zebra Hotel

The beach area for La Zebra is just outside your door. They have the cutest beach and bar area in the sand. There are plenty of day beds to choose from, and they also have these old boats with comfy pillows for lounging. Need a drink? The servers come to you – just put your sign up that says “Over here!”, “I need a drink”, or “SOS”. There are also a couple of swings, a large net hammock and a small seesaw for little kids. (Not that I’m not working…) 

Restaurant & Bar at La Zebra Hotel

Even if you are not staying at La Zebra – you should definitely come to check out their restaurant and bar. We had breakfast every morning and everything was fresh and delicious. I loved the little meringues that they gave with their cappuccinos! It’s little details like that, that just make me smile. We had dinner here two of the three nights and since we were there on a Sunday night we got to also take in the Salsa dancing. La Zebra hosts Salsa dancing lessons every Sunday night, and the place was packed! Locals and people from other hotels come to enjoy this night and the energy was incredible. So was the dancing!

*There is also a pool and a relaxing sitting area above the restaurant and away from the beach. This was a great place to retreat to as well, it is quiet and partially shaded. We had this whole area to ourseleves one afternoon.  



Las Mujeres

I brought together women from all different chapters of my life. Some knew each other but some did not. This was another gamble, but this group of ladies could not have hit it off better! Everyone gelled and got along from the moment they met. This is probably what made me the happiest the entire weekend. My friends having fun together and the fact that they took the time out of their busy lives to come down to Tulum to celebrate with me.

The staff referred to us “Las Mujeres” – ‘The Women” – during our stay. They certainly responded quickly whenever we needed or wanted anything, and were never more than five feet away to do anything for us. They were awesome. There are many pictures of this weekend I will refrain from putting in this post and should probably not go public. But to say we had a good time would be an massive understatment.

**BUT if you want to see some wild out takes you should definitely watch the video of my 40th Birthday Celebration in Tulum created by LIFIE, the coolest video editing company ever! (But again, I’m not working!)

La Zebra Hotel

If you cannot already tell – I LOVED La Zebra Hotel. and I don’t think it was just because it was my birthday. When I stay at hotels I really observe everything and make mental notes of all the little extras that some people might never see. I love a hotel that has personality, is creative, fun and stylish. If I am being honest, the name sort of threw me off and I thought it was a bit cheesy at first – but now whenever I see a zebra anything it will remind me of this hotel and my incredible experience with my girlfriends. In fact, I bought a zebra maraca at the airport, it was the one and only thing I bought in Tulum. It’s in my office and I see it daily. It is the perfect reminder of all my friends and the intense laughter we all shared that weekend.

I wanna dance by water ‘neath the Mexican sky
Drink some Margaritas by a string of blue lights
Listen to the Mariachi play at midnight
Are you with me, are you with me?
Are you with me?

Walking on the beach every morning seeing scenes like this, gave me chills.

The girls crowned me La Chica Reina on my Birthday night!










Fun in the Mexican Sun at La Zebra Hotel in Tulum
Family January 11, 2018 posted by Andrea

The Greatest Showman: A world that we design

photo credit

The Show

I’m OBSESSED. Obsessed with the movie The Greatest Showman and the soundtrack!! No REALLY. I just got back from a 5 mile run listening to it for the 100th time.

Another reason I know I am obsessed is because I was up late last night watching YouTube videos of the cast talking about it. Pretty sure I’ve seen just about every damn interview they’ve done.

Since we live in Europe, this movie wasn’t even really on my radar, until someone on Facebook posted about it. I saw that Zac Efron was in it, so it peaked my interest just a wee bit. 😉 Then over Christmas break, out of nowhere my daughter said she wanted to see it. Again, I think Zac Efron might have something to do with it, but not entirely sure.

So we got back from France, and the very next night we went as a family to see it at the theatre down the street that is now playing movies in V.O. (Version Original) which means English. Hooray!

Walking into the theatre, this is what I knew: the movie starred Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and the Barnum Circus. It would probably have lots of singing too. I didn’t even know that Zendaya was in it until the movie started.

HOLY HELL. If this is not the perfect movie to see to kick off the new year I don’t know what is! This movie just made me HAPPY. I wanted to sing, dance, and get up and take on the world!!

The dancing and singing is spectacular and one of the key messages of this movie is so needed right now. Wow. What a frickin’ show. If you have not seen it, I am telling you to GO! And if you don’t like it, well um… we can still be friends but just know that you are not 100% my people.

photo credit

The Songs

The songs ARE SO GOOD. One song that has really resonated with people is This is Me, sung by Keala Settle. She plays the bearded woman, and the song is chilling!! This is literally an anthem for everyone to be stand up and be themselves. Screw the naysayers. And going deeper, a song for groups and anyone that feels marginalized by society. “I am brave, I am bruised, this is who I am supposed to be” and other lyrics from this song have been made into t-shirts. (told you I’ve seen all the interviews)

But one song, in particular, has been literally pulsing through my head and in my heart. The song A Million Dreams resonates with me so much. Here are some of the lyrics;

We can live in a world that we design.
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take, for the world we’re gonna make.

I LOVE these lyrics so much because it is so empowering. You can design the life you want.

The Life We Want

Which gets me to my next point: Harris and I have designed a life we want. It’s not traditional and it’s a bit crazy and chaotic at times. We have taken risks and there are downsides. Our life is not perfect but we have intentionally designed our life just how we want it. We are both creators, dreamers, bootstrap entrepreneurs. We want to experience the entire world, we have kids and dogs and businesses but we juggle it all living abroad. Designing a life you want takes work, make no mistake. But at some point you need to decide on what you want and go get it!

I think I am writing this because maybe some of you that follow me and read my blog think we have it easy. We are always jet-setting off and doing cool stuff, staying in amazing places etc.. Maybe some of you think we somehow have piles of cash, maybe we got a big inheritance when my Dad passed away. Nope. Zero. Nada. We have worked our asses off for everything we have and are able to do. Nothing has been handed to us. I am not saying this for any other reason other than to say  – If we can do it, so can you!

Get busy designing the life you want.

This movie is about Dreams, Entrepreneurship, Love, Creativity, Ambition, Acceptance and taking Risks. It all speaks to my entire way of LIVING.

A million dreams are keeping me awake… what’s keeping you awake?






The Greatest Showman: A world that we design
Adventure December 13, 2017 posted by Andrea

Finding Christmas in Chamonix, France

Last year for Christmas we wanted to do the idyllic European ski thing. So we headed to Chamonix, France, because after doing some research this seemed to be the place to experience the French Alps. I ignored friends who’d said that there were better places that were cheaper and more kid friendly. I had my heart set on spending Christmas in Chamonix and I figured we were going to do it at some point, why not now? And why not for Christmas!?

I imagined a perfect vintage snow globe with me inside it; snow falling, happy children ice skating and sweeping views of the luxurious French Alps. It was going to be Christmas card perfect!

Where we stayed

We booked an AirBnB and it was in a perfect location, right off the main street in Chamonix. The apartment itself was nice, though not the most charming building, so my vision of the perfect Chamonix experience already had a bruise. I wanted to see a festive lobby, a Christmas tree and maybe a fireplace welcoming me. Nope. After entering through the backdoor through the parking lot, we crammed two people and two suitcases into the little elevator, while the other two waited their turn. The apartment was spacious, modern and very nice.  It had a full kitchen and a little bunk room for the kids. I would recommend it to other families, because the location is ideal for walking through the village and convenient to all the restaurants and shops.

However, after poking around the town and going to get a massage and enjoy the spa at Hotel ‘Heliopic, I know where we’ll stay on a future visit. The ‘Heliopic had the cozy, family-friendly lobby, an indoor pool and spa that even had treatments for kids, and a cute cafe to grab quick meals. They say it’s “Retro Mountain Chic,” and that it is!

As much I enjoy AirBnB, I realized again why hotels are sometimes the better option. In any case, we were here, in Chamonix!

Where the hell is the snow?

Once we settled into the apartment we went down to find a grocery store to stock up on a few things. This is when my European winter wonderland dreams began to look bleak. I mean, I enjoy nice weather and would prefer not to be freezing but the town was grey and damp. There was no snow to be found. Instead of focusing on no snow and how exactly we were going to snowboard, I opted to enjoy the kids playfulness with the photo props they found outside a store. The absence of snow didn’t seem to be bothering the kids, so I started to relax a bit and hope for the best!

After dropping our groceries off at the apartment, we walked over to rent our snowboards, boots and helmets. It was there that our snow concerns were confirmed. They told us that the conditions were not good, and that only a few chairlifts and runs were open.

It doesn’t look good this week, everyone is heading to the Italian side where there appears to be more snow.”
(Inside my bratty head: But I came to the French Alps, I want to ski in France. Sigh)


The next morning we put on our ‘positive’ boots and headed to catch the shuttle to get to one of the two areas that were open. When we arrived we were met by a long line, as this was where everyone had to go to get up the mountain. We walked across the bare parking lot, some brown grass and waited. There were two large gondolas taking groups of about 40 people to the top.

I didn’t even want to post this photo. It’s just so depressing. But that’s the gondola we took to the top – and shockingly there was actually some snow on the other side.

Once at the top we arrived and it didn’t get much better. We were met by a very small unloading zone, which was crowded and not much of an area to get situated, and put on our boards. I was trying hard to put on my best face, but um, this was not what I had envisioned and this was not Keystone, Mammoth or Whistler. (oh gosh, I’m an North American ski snob)

Sigh. Let’s go down and see what we can do.

I’ll keep this short. We went down maybe four runs and left. The few runs that our kids can do were wet and soggy and crowded. McKenna usually needs to start out on the wide green runs to feel comfortable and get her snowboard legs back, but there was none of that. It was steep, wet and there were rocks exposed. Not the fluffy ideal powder we had back in Whistler last year. Maybe it’ll snow tomorrow… or not. 


Let’s try the Italian Alps

So we decided to head to Italy for the day. It took a one hour bus ride there, and then we stood in line for another hour to get up the mountain. Conditions were only slightly better. Actually they were worse. It was very icy – I literally thought one of us was going to take a spill and end up needing medical attention.

I’m not usually a cautious person, but I did not see a single mountain worker, ski patrol or anyone that we could ask for help had we needed it. Not to mention, we do not speak French or Italian. I felt uncomfortable having my kids snowboarding on these steep icy slopes and on a mountain I knew nothing about. So I made them take off their boards, and they played in the snow outside, while I found my happiness drinking beer in the cute 1972-style chalet. At one point Hudson’s board went flying down the mountain, got lost in the woods and Harris had to go search and retrieve it. I laughed so hard as he finally reemerged from the woods with the board about 15 minutes later.

Harris was not laughing. But hey, smile – we’re in Italy!


Running in Chamonix, France

Lucky for me, I actually had something else to do in Chamonix, run. The weather conditions were perfect for that! I was in the middle of my training for the Barcelona Marathon, and I could run as there was no snow or icy roads. (I was just going to slack off for the week and figured all my snowboarding would be good enough). And this is where my spirit was lifted and my outlook on Chamonix was restored. Had it not been for no snow, I might not have experienced running in Chamonix. I saw more of the town and found a beautiful path with trails down by the river. It was breathtaking.

Christmas Day in Chamonix

Harris managed to hurt his leg somehow and he was in pain, so after our Christmas crepe breakfast he went back to the apartment. So it was just me and the kids to figure out how to enjoy Christmas day in Chamonix. We walked around the town and did some shopping. I was feeling guilty because there were no gifts to open on Christmas Day (because I thought we would have mountains of snow to be playing on as a distraction!) so I let them fill up bags of candy. Thirty Euros later and with two happy kids hyped up on sugar, we wandered around a bit more and then sat down for lunch.

And then… this is where my IDYLLIC Christmas picture appeared.

Watching my kids laughing and having fun together, in France, eating pizza and spaghetti on Christmas Day. It was right there that my kids were literally illuminating CHRISTMAS. With the quaint French-ness behind them and the mountains surrounding us, we were in my snow globe. It wasn’t exactly what I envisioned, but what it lacked in snow was made up in laughter.

Then just like the Grinch – my heart grew two, three, four sizes bigger!  (It could have also been my enormous beer) but Christmas was sitting right in front of me!

This trip is filled with so many memorable moments, and I have SO much more to say and tell you. From me leaving dinner one night because it was taking too long (no really), to drinking mulled wine wandering the village; to these kids hanging candy from a string from their balcony and my kids jumping for it and grabbing it over and over; Hudson and his damn moose hat; and of course McKenna breaking out in hives after eating a huge meringue. We have no idea why this happened.

To be fair to Chamonix, it was early in the season and the snow conditions (or lack there of) was rare. Usually there should have been more snow, but last year it was shockingly dry. This is also a lesson in be careful when planning your epic ski vacations too early in the season, mother nature can be unpredictable.

So here’s to managing expectations, keeping a grip on reality and making the most of it! I wouldn’t change a thing about our Christmas in Chamonix.



Finding Christmas in Chamonix, France
Andrea December 11, 2017 posted by Andrea

Get your copy of Twist Travel Magazine’s winter issue!

The winter issue of Twist Travel Magazine is here!

Well look what we have here – it’s the winter issue of Twist Travel Magazine!!! I am ecstatic, to say the least. Why? Because this is the inaugural printed issue!

Yup, you can buy a printed copy or sign up for a yearly subscription right now. As in, you should. Right now. Go.

Last spring we put out the first digital issue of Twist Travel Magazine to test how things could go, and see if this wild idea of ours could be done. The feedback was great, so we moved on to the summer issue. People kept asking us how they could buy it!? Where could they get a copy? So we had to make a decision, are we going to throw everything we have into this or not?

My partner Keryn and I are similar, in that we don’t really do things halfway. Challenges get us fired up and really excited!  It was then we started developing the website and making plans for the fall issue and decided that we would go to print and sell the magazine through our website.

Yes, sell the magazine. I know. Some of you may be thinking we are crazy, but we believe that there is an opportunity and a space in the market for something like this. And trust me, the magazine is just the beginning, we have so many other ideas for this new travel brand that it’s hard not to spill the beans and tell you more!

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let me talk about the winter issue. The winter issue is a dream issue of snow and sand with sprinkles of holiday delights! It’s as gorgeous to look at as it is to read.

What’s inside the Winter Issue?

You want to know before you buy, I get it. Here’s the lowdown.

  • Family fun in the USA, including Park City, Ski Alta, Deer Valley, Tahoe and Vermont
  • The Best of British Columbia
  • Morzine, France and nine of the best spots to ski in Europe
  • Family Ski Gear Guide
  • Seasonal Recipes
  • Gifts travelers could really use
  • She Gets Around: Finding our Happy Place in New Zealand
  • Australia: Road Trip on the East Coast
  • German Christmas Markets
  • Global Recipes from across the Globe
  • Spring Break Ideas
  • Twist Favorite Lush and Tropical Hotels
  • Spotlight on Costa Rica

Spotlight on Costa Rica

In the back of the magazine we always have a “Spotlight on” section and in the winter issue we chose to feature Costa Rica! Since I lived in Costa Rica for three years I crafted the majority of this section. It was fun to finally compile all my favorite places and local hot spots into one beautiful feature. If you are thinking of traveling to Costa Rica in the future you should definitely order the magazine so you can use it as a reference later.

How to Get Twist Travel Magazine

Printed Copies of Twist Travel Magazine
You can order single issues of Twist Travel Magazine or sign up for a one year subscription, by visiting the Twist Travel Magazine Shop. A one year subscription includes four seasonal issues. So, if you sign up today you will receive the recently launched winter issue, as well as the Spring ’18, Summer ’18 and Fall ’18 issues. We are currently shipping to the USA and Canada. For our European readers and our friends down under in Australia, we hope to be able to ship to you soon, and eventually worldwide!

Twist Travel Magazine Digital Version
For those of you that cannot receive a printed copy, you can subscribe to our email list and get the digital version for free! Once you subscribe, you will be sent a link to view the issue online. We know this isn’t as fun as actually holding the issue in your hands. But you still get to flip through it and enjoy all the rich travel stories, advice, expert tips, and get inspiration and motivation to take that next adventure.

Happy Holidays, wherever in the world you may be celebrating them!

Get your copy of Twist Travel Magazine’s winter issue!
Andrea November 20, 2017 posted by Andrea

Life at Forty: celebrate, get a puppy and start a new business

Life? It’s been a whirlwind! I turned 40, got a puppy, and started a new business.

Oh, and we may have accidentally started a children’s theatre program in Barcelona too. Someone may want to come over here and check my sanity.

This is why I cannot keep up with this blog. As much as I would love to chronicle all of our latest travels and expat shenanigans, I do require sleep, therefore the blogging usually has to take a backseat. So here is a little digest to what has been happening in my ‘Life at Forty’, for anyone still listening.


Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.


Yup. To celebrate I went to Tulum, Mexico for a girls getaway and let’s just say – it was a WILD weekend. To be honest, I had dreams of going to Morocco and staying in one of those fabulous riads, wandering the markets and riding a camel. However, getting a few of my girlfriends to come all the way to Morocco was going to be difficult. Most have jobs, kids, and busy lives themselves. So Morocco was out, and while going back to my favorite place in Costa Rica crossed my mind –  I really wanted to go somewhere I had never been before.

Then it hit me. TULUM. This trendy, bohemian chic beach spot in Mexico had caught my eye a few times. Plus, I know so many people that have been there and raved about it, I knew it would fit the bill. Tulum, Mexico it was. A little far from Barcelona, but what the hell, why not!

La Chica Reina

I invited ladies from all different stages of my life. High school, college, California, Costa Rica and even Barcelona. I wanted to spend my 40th Birthday with some of the women that got me to 40. Some of the women knew each other, but many of these women had never met before, ever. I was rolling the dice that they would all magically get along and love each other. It was either that, or this was going to be a frickin’ disaster.

But honestly, I knew even though some of them are wildly different, they would somehow connect because I truly enjoy each of them. I’m happy to report that they ALL got along SO well. It brought so much joy to me to see these women all laughing and talking like they had been friends all their lives. The weekend was beyond successful. I turned 40 being crowned “La Chica Reina” and it was everything I could have asked for and more.

We stayed at La Zebra Hotel and I cannot recommend this hotel enough!! 

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.


Meet Rex. The newest member of the Fellman family. We still have Canela, don’t worry. But, what’s with adopting one of the craziest dogs in world, when we travel like we do!?

Well, to catch you up a little bit, we used to have a Jack Russell named Jack. Unfortunately, he was hit by a motorcycle in Costa Rica. It was devastating and awful, our hearts are still a little broken. Therefore, we told the kids that maybe in Barcelona we’ll get another small dog.

How It Happened

Then fate stepped in and Hudson’s friend from school tells him that his two Jack Russells just had four puppies. The friend doesn’t just tell him, he shows him a photo and video of the puppies online, which Hudson then showed me. Really…? What are the chances of Hudson’s friend’s dog having four little Jack Russells? Actually, probably not that uncommon, we see a ton of Jack Russells here in Barcelona. It seems to be a very popular breed. So being the suckers we are and having a huge soft spot for Jack Russells, we went to go see them. We were sold. Obviously. Hudson had already picked out one of the boys, how could we say no. We had to wait about six weeks before we could get him, but he is now ours. He is literally laying on my lap as I type this. He is destroying things and causing all sorts of chaos but he is the CUTEST.

And yes, Harris and I have even called him Jack a few times.

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

Barcelona Children’s Theatre

The whirlwind continues! If getting the puppy wasn’t bad enough, we added producing a children’s theatre production of Peter Pan to the mix. Well, to be clear – this was all Harris’s doing, but I immediately got swept into the craziness of it all. This has a little bit of a back story as well, but long story short: Harris and the Director we worked with in Costa Rica had tossed around the crazy idea of him coming to Barcelona to put on a show (sure, ha a ha). Then one thing lead to another, and the next thing I know the director, Paul and his girlfriend are looking for an apartment to rent for three months!

“All we wanted to do was find a English speaking theatre program to put our kids in!” However, after Harris searched and called other Spanish-speaking theatres there was nothing! There are a few theatre programs for kids in Barcelona, in Spanish and Catalan OR programs with the purpose of learning English. Therefore, as the saying goes – if you want something done, do it yourself.

The Production: Peter Pan

Fast forward ten weeks, a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. Wrangling 35 kids, organizing parent volunteers, finding a theatre, buying supplies, dealing with logistical challenges, and plenty of other small headaches  – we have SOLD OUT all three shows. It is unbelievable. The response and support we have received from the ASB parents, staff and community is insane! The American School of Barcelona has been our partner in this, while this is not an official school program, they too see the need for a program like this so they have been supportive 110%.

It all happens November 30th, December 1, and December 2nd.

My mom is even coming to see the show. Well, she was coming to Barcelona to visit us anyways, so we just made sure her dates lined up so she could be here to see the grandkids in Peter Pan. Mckenna is playing one of Captain Hook’s main pirates, Starkey and Hudson is playing John, Wendy’s brother.

Oh and I made that poster up there, because somehow I am in charge of marketing and graphic design.

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

Twist Travel Magazine

Oh and hey – my partner Keryn and just launched the Twist Travel Magazine website!

You may have seen me write about this new ambitious adventure before, when we launched the spring, summer and fall issues. However, we did not start building the website until the middle of the summer. Now you can purchase single printed copies of Twist Travel Magazine or sign up for a yearly subscription! We are still only producing them quarterly, so your subscription includes four quarterly issues.

And if building the website wasn’t enough – while we were doing that, we were also putting together the 88 page winter issue!!  The winter issue is SPECTACULAR and will be released on November 28th. You can pre-order that issue right now. I will be writing more about this and the winter issue in the next week or so. 🙂

Perhaps this is my version of a mid life crisis…? Do IT ALL – you’re getting OLD.

I don’t know whether I need a drink or a nap.





Life at Forty: celebrate, get a puppy and start a new business
Adventure September 20, 2017 posted by Andrea

3D Art Gallery Budapest: Where you become a part of the art

While we were recently in Budapest, one of the best things we did was visit the 3D Art Gallery Budapest. My kids actually found out about this attraction while they were researching things to do in Budapest. Now, you may be wondering what exactly is a 3D art gallery? Well, I was too! Essentially, the 3D Art Gallery Budapest was unlike any other art museum that we’ve been to, because here you become a part of the art!

Someone in our family was really good at this…

3D Art Gallery Budapest

I was not sure what to expect when we arrived at the museum. It’s not that big, and when we entered we came to the desk and paid a small entrance fee. A guide explained that we had to find creative ways to insert ourselves into the paintings. It took us a little while to warm up and get the hang of it.  It wasn’t always obvious how to position ourselves in the paintings. My husband is trained in improv and my kids are definitely not camera-shy, so they all seemed to have an easier time then me. So I was pretty much the photographer, as usual. As we we moved to each painting we quickly realized that this was not just about standing in front of the painting. You had to react and make facial expressions as if the paintings were real. By the time we got to the third room, we really started having fun with it. The kids were fighting over who got to jump in the painting first. They even competed with their dad on who could manage the best pose!

Striking the Pose

Once we walked through all the rooms of the museum, one of the staff then took us back through to get some family photos of us! I so appreciated this service, and am glad that they did this. He was able to direct us on where to stand, how to react and he knew where to stand to make the photo look the most realistic. I liked that they waited until after you went through independently the first time,  because that gave us a chance to loosen up and allowed our kids to use their own creativity. Then it was nice to go through again with a more professional eye, and with someone helping us get the best possible shots. This also allowed me to get in some of the photos too.

Scroll through our photos and tell me your favorite!




Sometimes it pays to have your kids do some of the travel planning and research!

Visit their website and be sure to check them out if you find yourself in Budapest.



3D Art Gallery Budapest: Where you become a part of the art
Family September 15, 2017 posted by Andrea

What to do in London with Kids in the Winter

Last year, we decided to visit London with kids in the winter. More specifically, we took the kids to London for New Year’s Eve! Call us crazy but we thought hearing the bells of Big Ben in London on New Year’s Eve would be one of those big family bucket list moments. While we stood on Westminster Bridge in the cold and I drank wine from a water bottle, my daughter actually fell asleep on the curb! Maybe hearing the bells at midnight wasn’t on her bucket list, but it was definitely a night to remember.

Visiting London with kids in winter is actually quite fun. Yes it may be chilly, but seeing the festive holiday spirit all over the city was a fantastic payoff. I was hoping to see more snow, but unfortunately we just got caught in the rain a few times.


London with Kids in the Winter

Where to Stay: We stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel because our New Year’s Eve tickets were for the Westminster bridge section. However, even if you are not going to London for New Year’s Eve this is an excellent hotel because of its location. You are literally just over the bridge from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace. It’s also very close to the London Eye. We loved walking over the Westminster Bridge every morning to start our day. The hotel is massive and has all the modern amenities you would expect, even an indoor pool in the basement.

Generally, I like to stay in smaller hotels but for the purpose of our first trip to London with the kids it was really ideal. They have a nice cafe downstairs for coffee and easy grab-and-go type breakfasts. The customer service was fantastic and we liked being able to consult the concierge on a few occasions. In fact, before we even arrived in London, the concierge helped us secure what appeared to be sold out Harry Potter Studio tickets!

Great Location for New Year’s Eve

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is absolutely the best place to stay if you are going to London for the New Year’s Eve celebration with the kids. You will be given a wristband the morning of New Year’s Eve, because entrance to the hotel will be secured and limited for hotel guests only. The streets around the hotel will also be blocked off. The subway station at Westminster Bridge closes for a large part of the night as well, so you will want to be back at the hotel earlier that day to avoid the traffic and closures.

We just walked out the Park Plaza to get to our designated section for the New Year’s Ever fireworks show. It was so easy and convenient and to reach the secured entrance on the Westminster Bridge. It was seriously the quickest entrance to a large event ever. We went through security, our bags were checked and once you were in you could not leave.  So pack a bag of drinks and snacks!

Buy London New Year’s Eve Tickets: Tickets for the New Year’s Eve fireworks go on sale in September. You can sign up for the sale alerts here.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

Every holiday season, Winter Wonderland takes over Hyde Park. This large winter-themed carnival is filled with plenty of rides, games, food booths and even an ice skating rink. It is free to enter but of course the games, rides and special attractions are not free. Warning: You will spend money. There are also special events and shows that vary from year to year which require tickets. We really enjoyed the day wandering around playing the games, eating and drinking and then having the most fun ice skating. One of my children was not so graceful on skates, but we got her up and going around eventually. Winter Wonderland is definitely something not to miss with the kids in the winter. (Dates: Mid November – January 1st)

Natural History Museum

This is a fantastic way to spend part of your day. If your kids are into dinosaurs this is the place to go! The showstopper is the large and most complete Stegosaurus skeleton in the world being on display. While the dinosaur is impressive, the room in which it is housed in actually caught my attention more!  Yes, I know that you go here for science but the building and architecture itself is absolutely stunning. The natural history museum has a variety of special exhibits happening year round. Check their website for more information closer to your visit dates. You may also want to check out the Dino Snores for kids, where they get to sleep over night in the museum. In the winter, the ice skating rink and the carousel just outside the Natural History Museum looks like something from a fairy tale. Especially if you go at dusk. We didn’t spend too much time inside the museum as it was so packed. We opted for hot cider, snacks and riding the carousel.

**After hitting the Natural History Museum, very close by is  SNOG for frozen yogurt or Bubblology for bubble tea. My kids love bubble tea so we always search for this in different cities.

See a Theatre Performance

What’s a visit to London without seeing a show!? We saw Wicked and it was fantastic! I had actually already seen it before but the kids thought it was so impressive too. There are always plenty of shows happening, so buy your tickets in advance if you are there during the holiday season. Shows fill up quickly because kids are all off on holiday. There is discounted ticket booths in the Covent Garden metro station so you can check there if you want to take a chance.

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios Tour

You must BUY TICKETS EARLY for the Harry Potter Studio Tour. This is a top attraction for families and tickets sell out. The other thing to be aware of, is that this tour is not in the city and will take up most of the day. You will take an hour bus ride to the studio, where you will spend about four hours and then take the hour bus ride back. Our tickets included the coach bus ride to the studios and we boarded the bus at London Euston train station. There are other ways of getting there depending on who you booked through so please read your tickets and instructions carefully. Once at the studios you have a timed entrance and a time when you can start to enter the line. If you arrive early don’t worry, there is a large gift shop (naturally) and a cafe to grab a drink or a snack.  You walk independently through the studio and can go at your own pace, but it will take you about  2-3 hours. About half way through there is a nice cafeteria for food and where they serve the Butter Beer, so be sure to stop for that. The entire experience was impressive, I highly recommend!


You may have saw my video gushing about this place. I really was not sure what to expect, and to be honest I thought it was going to be too young and babyish for my kids. However, this was my kids favorite thing in London. I honestly think they enjoyed it more than the Harry Potter Studio. KidZania is an experience you have to see to believe. KidZania literally transports your children to another world. More specifically to a city, fun by kids. The city KidZania allows the kids to play and learn independently from adults. They are able to have jobs and make money. They can be a doctor, firefighter, work for the postal service, work in broadcasting, fashion retail, learn to cook, write for the newspaper and even play on a professional soccer team.

KidZania is for slightly younger kids. My daughter had just turned 12 and I think that is probably the cut off age. The entire experience is impressive, from the start of entering at an airport and being helped by British Airways to the end when you have to clear customs with an immigration officer. Bravo!

Tower Bridge

I had been to London several times and do you know, I had never seen the Tower Bridge!? Well, this time we didn’t just see it but I literally ran over it on one of my morning runs!  I heard that the Tower Bridge tour is great. But we did not go because I waited too long and tickets were sold out. Even if you can’t or don’t want to visit the museum, the park is lovely and is a must see. Even my kids thought this bridge was impressive thought it looked fake.

We wandered and shopped in some nice souvenir shops in this area, then grabbed some lunch at Wagamama. Wagamama has several locations all over the city, and we like it because Asian food is the one thing our family can all agree on! There is something for everyone and the service is fast and efficient.

St. James Park & Buckingham Palace

From the Park Plaza, past Big Ben and Westminster Abbey you will walk right into St. James Park. This is a lovely walk to get to Buckingham Palace. Just before you get to Buckingham Palace there will be a fun park that the kids will want to play at, which is fine because there is also a little snack house serving coffee, hot chocolate, and waffles! Then head over to Buckingham Palace, watch the changing of the guards (if you are there at the times they do it). We didn’t even plan to go at the day and time, but we just lucked out and happened upon the changing of the guards happening! We were on the side so we mostly saw them marching up to the palace not so much the changing, but that was just as fine too.

Fun Fact: McKenna is VERY afraid of pigeons. 

Time Run Escape Room

We did not do this on this particular trip but a more recent trip to London. An escape room is obviously not a historic monument or classic attraction. But our family does escape rooms all the time and this might have been our family’s favorite! If it’s really cold outside and you are traveling with older kids I would highly recommend this escape room. Kids should probably be at least eight but check the website to see if they have age restrictions. It was a difficult one and our family unfortunately ran out of time, but best of luck to you!

There are obviously so many more things to see and do in London with the kids. The biggest thing to remember when traveling is that you don’t have to see and do it all. Also, your kids do not want to go inside every museum, and that’s okay too. You are there to have fun and enjoy yourself, so just do a few things and wander – letting part of your day just unfold. It’s about the experience, not how many things you can check off the list. On the last day, all my kids wanted to do was walk through St. James Park again, chase the squirrels, play at the park and get hot chocolate. So seriously, do not over plan or overthink it all.







What to do in London with Kids in the Winter