Monthly Archives: August 2013



I am updating the blog via Word Press app on my iPhone and I have been getting all sort of errors. Only now I ‘ve that the post of days 6 and 7 in Romania wasn’t uploaded properly and despite inumerous tentatives to update it, i had to give up. All the changes I make and save are not being updated! So frustrating.

I’ll fix it if we get wifi in the rooms in our next accommodation. Sorry about that.


Travelling with kids: the experience so far


The experience of travelling with two kids is a bit like a roller coaster, full of up and downs, a lotof adrenaline, fun but also very tiring.

I won’t lie to you and say that it is a fantastic experience, that we are loving it and can’t wait to do it all again. Several times we looked at each other and asked if it was really worth it.

Let me start with a first conclusion: having my in laws with us helped to avoid the experience being a total disaster. I think it would have been too much to handle in this particular trip. It was also good to have some helping hands to give us a chance to learn how it will be in the future, when it will be just us.

Laura, fortunately, has been a great kid after a tough start and is having fun with everything! No, really, everything. We went for a walk near the lake and she found a wooden “stage” and started singing, dancing, pretended she was baking cookies and so on. Even when the adults were tired, she was all smiles. Yes, there is an extra dose of unhealthy food in the mix, but I think it’s part of the holidays. She has been sleeping quite well too, from 20h to 7.

Little Bea is having a tough time. I think she hasn’t been able to sleep that well during the day, so she cries quite a lot. I also think I have been eatinh quite a lot of fat and it is giving her colics. Last night the poor thing had milk five times, when she normally has between 1 and 3. So, although a new baby is easier to handle in trips, Bea feels quite uncomfortable some days.

Mr. C and I are having fun but also very tired. I think our idea of holidays these days is to take some time off and rest, but we don’t really rest. It’s not like we could have a late night and sleep until 10am, walk around, eat when we want, do whatever we want, etc. But we are visiting different places, getting away from the routine back home, etc.

We have a week to go, so let’s see what will be our view after we go on the second part of our trip.

Stopping for some pictures.20130831-203027.jpg

A view to a kill – we drove for several hours and this was the view throughout the whole trip. 20130831-203043.jpg

I don’t know the name in English (or Portuguese) of these rocky formations, but in Romanian is called Chei. This is the Cheile Bicazului – Hasmas National
Park. It must be amazing to go on tracks through the woods and rocks, but we didn’t do any of this. Still beatiful.20130831-203101.jpg


Play area at the restaurant.20130831-203201.jpg

A bit of fun in te car, to help kill time.20130831-203231.jpg

Walking back to our pensiune after a day walking around.20130831-203251.jpg

My home decor: the girls’ room


I gave up on Laura’s room ages ago, because to be honest, she didn’t use to spend too much time there. Her toys and the “play area” are in the living room, so I preferred not to spend too much energy there.

I didn’t want a visually exciting room, because I want her to sleep, not to play, at night. I know some people defend that kids should play when they want and go to bed when they want. Fine by me, as long as they are not my kids. I explain: my daughter doesn’t play on her own for long, she requires our presence. And although I admire these mums that are 100% available whist their children are awake, I cannot do a 6am to 10pm(*) shift, sorry. I have tons of other things to do (like writing this post, for example), which are done when the girls are asleep.

(*) If the girls are ill or have a nightmare, I am more than happy to will spend the whole night up to stay with them, I’m just not up to having this as a routine, just because they want to play.

Having said that, I am on a mission to re-arrange their rooms without changing much of the furniture. Here is the challenge:

1) Huge wardrobes. Not a chance in the world I can get rid of them (we need it as I store lots of things that are not Laura’s) and not a chance to put the somewhere else (too big, too heavy, too difficult break down and assemble). We are not even changing places in the bedroom.

2) Changing table. At the moment, we are using it for toys and nappies/wipes, but we change Bea in my bedroom. No doubt this table will go, but when? The space behind the door is a dead space anyway, there’s not much that can fit in there, plus even the table is stopping the door to fully open, so I might leave the space empty.

Huge wardrobes and the changing table

Huge wardrobes and the changing table

3) Chest of drawers. I would like to put it in my bedroom (because it is bigger than mine), but it doesn’t fit! Not to mention that now with two, it is full. The stickers will all go.

4) Rocking chair. This has been so useful with Laura – only recently we stopped reading stories for her on the chair. I haven’t had the chance to use it much with Bea because of the whole logistic of bedtime. I thought about putting it in our bedroom whilst Bea is sleeping there, but we don’t have much space in there, and Bea will move to Laura’s bedroom in November (if not before).

5) Shelves? Frames? I want everything, but first I need to decide what goes where. Also, our last experience putting up shelves traumatised me, so I need to forget about it before I try again. These photos of us with Laura were very useful when Laura was small. She used to wake up in the morning and look at the pictures, chat with “us”, and we got an hour or so of sleep. So they will be replaced by photos of all of us. Big ones. And more than 2.


Chest of drawer, rocking chair and pictures

6) Beds. The cot-bed Laura sleeps in at the moment will soon be Bea’s. My dilemma: 1) get Laura a cheap junior bed now and the two will have their own beds for a couple of years and then get them a bunk bed (I cannot do this now because I’m scared Laura might fall and Bea is too small for a raised bed); or 2) invest in a good bed to last for many years and in 3 years time I replace Bea’s cot-bed with another good bed and end up with two beds in the bedroom?

We went to Ikea a couple of weeks ago and Laura loved the Kura bed (photo below). I think it’s quite ugly (it looks better in the photo), but it fits the purpose of getting a cheap bed until we find out what to do. The question is: does it fit in the bedroom? Oh, it costs £120, which for me is NOT cheap, but the beds I was looking at (especially bunk beds) were £500+. So, if we go with the expensive option, it will be a bed for life, until they go to uni.

7) Reading corner. This is the only “play area” I like having in the bedroom, because it is part of Laura’s bedtime routine. She doesn’t sleep until we read her a story. And she likes reading books during the day as well (and so do I). The book shelf will not do, I like it too much. It’s now a matter of where it will go. Me thinks: cushions on the floor (under the Ikea’s bed, photo below?)


Cotbed (the swing doesn’t belong there, but it was one of these things that we just forgot about it)

Ikea's Kura Reversible bed: the cheap solution

Ikea’s Kura Reversible bed: the cheap solution

A fun solution that won't break the bank

A fun solution that won’t break the bank

Same bed, but "upside down"

Same bed, but “upside down”

Reading corner

Reading corner

8) Blackout/blinds. I want to remove the wooden one, I don’t like the black one. The black one has to stay otherwise Laura will go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 4am in summer (just the wooden one didn’t work – it was in the house when we moved in and we kept because it added extra darkness to the room).

9) Curtains. Another controversial topic in the house. Husband and I cannot agree on it, except that we don’t want to spend a small fortune on made to measure curtains. Because the window is big, bespoke curtains are quite expensive (minimum of £300, with quotes going up to £700!!). Hubby won’t let curtains covering the radiator, so they need to be either short length or mere decoration (like the ones up now, too small in my opinion)

Curtains, blackouts

Curtains, blackouts

10) Theme / accent colours. The theme was originally animals and Laura likes it. If I ask her now, she will say “Princess” and, although it is HER bedroom, I’m against pink and princesses. Judge me if you may, I don’t care. My options: all white with green/yellow as accent colours, Red/grey, blue/red/white as the union jack flag (huahuahuahua), all white with various bright colours here and there. I still have to work on that. Ah, the border will go. The stickers on the wardrobe will go eventually, except the height chart.

Budget: TBC (I want to spend as little as possible and the only furniture to be bought will be the bed, whichever it will be). Deadline: December.

Romania: days 6 and 7


Yesterday I didn’t post because I slept while putting Bea and Laura to sleep.

We had a great day at a salt mine in Praid, but all the photos are in the camera. The place is huge and designed for people to spend the whole day as part of the treatment. They have loads of toys for children, a 3D cinema, restaurant, pub, toilets, cafe and even a church. Bea couldn’t go because she was only allowed to be there for one hour. I don’t understand how it works, there were other babies there, but all older than her; I would say 9-10months old, I guess they are all affected by the pressure of the cave but maybe there is an extra concern with very young babies. Well, we wouldn’t take the risk.

We also went to a place not too far from Praid to have a look at the traditional arts and crafts. But it was raining a lot and quite muddy. Not sure if I mentioned but I brought no clothes for muddy days.

Today we went to place with (live) butterflies and visit a fishery, where we had lunch.


Romania: day 5


Today we finally managed to put the girls down at a decent time. We had a great day walking around Sovata (it’s tiny, but very hilly, so it’s tiring). In a nutshell, the place gets it’s fame and fortune from its lakes, in special the Bear Lake (which you have to pay to get in). There are salty lakes, muddy lakes (people use the mud for all sort of health treatments), tiny lakes… Apparently the water is warm; we haven’t tried yet but I believe it’s true as people were happily in the water but wearing cardigans outside it.

Our day was great, the weather is quite good – hot but not too hot, around 18-20C, which is perfect for me (when the sun is out, it feels hotter than this). We went on a “train” ride (20 min) around Sovata, had lunch, walked… When we started making our way back to the room, Laura decided to make a huge scandal in the street, one of the worst we’ve ever experienced, which put us all in a very bad mood. The tantrum last about 30 minutes but It felt like hours. We will probably be known in the town as the mad parents of mental kid. Oh well…

It seems that the weather forecast for the next days (weeks?) is going to be rain, lots of rain. So, is this holiday a strong candidate of the “Flop of the Year”? Na, despite all the little problems (did I mention that hubby’s stomach is not well tonight?), I am enjoying wearing short sleeves and not being cold at all.

As usual, some photos taken with my mobile. I was hoping to upload some of the camera’s photos but the wifi of the “pensiune” only works in the kitchen. Of course, why would it work everywhere? Night night!

Someone is happy today (this was before the tantrum).20130827-161126.jpg
Someone is finally sleeping20130827-161212.jpg
I’ll post more photos of the buildings here on a separate post. One of my favourite things about Romania. 🙂

Detail of the ceiling of the restaurant we ate this afternoon. The food was pretty average.

Romania: day 4 and still (barely) alive!


I hope today was the last of the tough days of this trip.

A summary: took us ages to pack and leave, went to our “hotel” in Sovata just to find out that they have given one of our rooms out to somebody who got there earlier! We’ve booked it the week before our trip, they gave it to the first one who showed up wanting a room “now”.

Lesson for the future: hotels that don’t require pre-payment or some sort of guarantee will do that, so either keep calling them every day saying you are really going and on the actual day of the trip call them saying roughly when they should expect you, or tell them you want to pay a deposit to hold the rooms. We haven’t had this problem before because we always pre-pay for everything.

We managed to find a place to stay, cheaper and simpler, but clean and decent. It’s less than 10 minutes walk to the Bear Lake (I’ll talk about it on a different post) and the little town centre. And if you didn’t get the picture of our day with the short description above, I’ll just say that we sat down to have LUNCH at seven in the evening.

Unfortunately I have no photos on the mobile today but I’ll have loads of photos from tomorrow onwards. I have a feeling that we are finally starting our well deserved holidays!

By the way, Sovata is the cutest little town “eva”. I barely know it and already love it! Oh, and we had a massive storm while eating, with lightings, thunders and, of course, lots and lots of water. Summer storms!!

Romania: day 3


Laura is getting better, and even had a full spoon of the antibiotics without spitting it all back on us or throwing up.

We went to a salt cave in Turda, not too far from Cluj-Napoca. In the beginning Laura didn’t want to go but in the end she enjoyed the place. Salt caves are used in Romania as treatment for bronquitis, asthma and other stuff and the one in Turda is a big one – it has been recently modernised (as recent as 2005 can be, but we are talking about a salt mine that has been in use since 1075) and has a big entertaining area, including slides for small children, bowling for kids, mini golf, table tennis, a couple of tables of pool, a small Ferris wheel (wasn’t working when we were there), a small area for concerts and a tiny lake where people can row their own little boats. And, of course, the treatment rooms.

After the cave we had lunch in a restaurant on the road, which reminded me of my childhood times, when I lived 200 km north of Rio de Janeiro city and we used to spend weekends and holidays in Rio. We always ate at the same restaurant and had the same dish. Until millions of new and better resaurants opened.

After lunch we went back to Cluj and took Laura to a park, which she has been asking since she woke up in the morning. Unfortunately I forgot to that the camera (and the mobile) and have no registration of this square and park we went – a shame, because the place is quite beautiful and the light was great for some photos.

Anyhoo, I’ll leave you with some photos taken on my phone and will post more informative/complete posts at some point. Tomorrow we are heading to Sovata, our base for a week.

The photos below are pretty bad because it was dark, I didn’t use flash and I was scared to drop the phone. They were taken while we were waiting for the (panoramic) lift to the bottom of the cave. You can vaguely see the theatre, the ferris wheel (but only if you know what to look for) and the bridge where we queue for the lift and to look around. Opposite to where we stood, were the stairs for the brave and fit.
20130825-213724.jpgPhoto above: See the road there? I saw a woman pushing a baby on the puhchair all the way up. It has NO sidewalks!! It had no house/hotel/village around the corner. I promise you: it was a long and winding road.