Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront review

Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront review

We have just returned from the most fantastic night at the seaside. It was wet and windy but the hotel was 100% what made it great for us. From the second we arrived to check-in, staff were exceptional. Fiona on reception was brilliant, asking us lots of questions and taking an interest in our journey. She told us that our room was ready a whole 3 hours early too which was music to our ears having a baby in tow!

We were directed to the underground car park and were met with two staff that had come down to help with our bags after being told my husband had a bad back. Our executive room was on the 5th floor and it was lovely. Very spacious with a king size bed, sofabed, coffee table, top of the range coffee machine, complimentary chocolates and drinks, a balcony and sea view. A travel cot had also been put in place for us which was a great help. The bathroom was also very large and modern, Austin loved crawling around on the shiny floor! We noticed how clean every area was and were very impressed by the little touches. There were choices on the bed between firm or soft pillows as well as very thick blankets, binoculars and a letter inviting us to take the blankets out to the balcony and use the binoculars to look out to sea.

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holiday inn, holiday inn brighton, brighton, hotel, hotel review, hotel, holiday

blankets, binoculars, cosy

The view outside wasn’t great at the time we visited as it seems the whole seafront is under construction! However, that’s absolutely nothing to complain about – the building work we could see wasn’t anything to do with the hotel – building work has to be done everywhere at some point after all! Here is the view from our balcony. I ignored the cranes and concentrated on the ocean.

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After unpacking we headed back downstairs for a walk along the seafront. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk to the Sealife Centre and we are Merlin pass holders so we took Austin to visit the fish. I have to say I was very disappointed with the aquarium. Having visited many Sealife centres around the country, this didn’t compare at all. It was very small and we’d done the whole thing within half an hour! If you’re going to make a trip to one I’d suggest their London version as it’s much bigger and has much more to see. Austin seemed to enjoy himself though while we were there.

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Austin got to touch a starfish!

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After the sealife centre we went onto the pier, into the arcades and eventually made our way back to the hotel getting caught in the pouring rain for the entire journey! We arrived back to hotel completely drenched. Austin had fallen asleep in his pram under the rain cover so we decided to head to the bar and get a drink while we had some peace and quiet. We were greeted immediately by a lovely member of staff who made sure we had drinks and were comfy. We had a nice chat and retired to the armchairs in front of the TV. I didn’t know they had Sky Sports and BT Sports at the hotel, so when we realised my husband was very pleased!

Shortly after we’d finished our drinks, Austin woke up. We gave him some dinner and headed up to the room with our free Starbucks (yes, they serve Starbucks too! The staff were training so we got to try some for free).

Austin loved exploring the large room, there was so much space for him to crawl around. We were thrilled to see that the TV channels included CBeebies! He watched some of his favourite programmes, crawled around some more and then it was bedtime.

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He went to sleep with no fuss in the travel cot (we did bring an extra mattress with us as the standard ones in travel cots are always so thin and hard. Having said that, the one we were given was more padded than I’ve seen before so I think it would have been fine). Once he was asleep my husband and I had a long hot bath each, watched a film on the iPad and were asleep by 10pm.

In the morning we headed down for breakfast around 9am. The restaurant was quiet, clean and there was an excellent choice of well labelled food.

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As you can see there was something for everyone. Everything looked fresh and tempting. It was great to see something different to other hotels too – a pancake station! There were so many toppings and fillings to choose from –  I didn’t take advantage but wish I had. 

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We went for a variety of foods to fully test what was on offer. A fry up for us adults, a bowl of mixed cereal and dried fruits for Austin plus we all tried the toast and pastries. The food was lovely. The sausages didn’t taste cheap like they sometimes do in hotels and everything was piping hot which we were most impressed by. I can’t tell you the amount of luke warm hotel breakfast buffets I’ve previously endured, so this was a relief. Another thing I took note of was the salt and pepper grinders. There is nothing that winds me up more than sitting down to eat in a restaurant and having a shaker full of white pepper and powdery salt. It’s the cheapest corner to cut and really drives me mad. Black peppercorns and rock salt in grinders can boost even the worst food. White pepper shouldn’t even exist! Take note restaurant owners…

Checkout wasn’t until midday and I’m used to being booted out around 10am so it was a nice treat to be able to go back upstairs after breakfast, pack slowly and enjoy the last hour before heading home.

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As a parent this sign in the lift went down extremely well. Austin makes a horrendous mess when he eats, so this was a really nice touch to see that the hotel understands that kids aren’t clean and tidy!

Lastly I want to mention the outside of the hotel. Let’s not beat around the bush – it looks like somewhere I wouldn’t want to enter out of choice. It reminded me of a tower block in Peckham!

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However, it really was a very good lesson in not judging a book by it’s cover. As soon as we walked in to the modern, shiny lobby I realised the outside definitely was no representation of the hotel itself. There was a banner outside letting us know the hotel is having a makeover, so I’m sure improvements are being made! Either way, don’t let the outside fool you. The Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront was a fantastic hotel with exceptional service and great food. I would go back again in a heartbeat. If you’re heading to Brighton it’s definitely where I would recommend staying.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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Why after nearly a year of blogging, I’m taking a break….

I’m not really sure how to write this post. I’ve been meaning to write it for days….

The thing is, I’ve decided to take a large step back from the blogging world for a little while. My blog started when I was pregnant and so far has seen and taken note of almost everything Austin has done, what we’ve been up to, how he’s developing with food etc And that’s why taking a break has been a very hard decision. There will be a big chunk of his life missing from the blog and it was originally started as something for him to read back on, so I feel that will be a shame.

The other side of things is that I feel I’m spending too much time on my phone and laptop. I always said to myself that as soon as I feel that way, I’ll stop for a while. If he naps in the day or after his bedtime I’m usually blogging/editing/filming/replying to a PR’s email from days ago – the list goes on. That only takes a certain amount of time, but it’s added to the million other things we have to do online these days – banking/emails/social media etc. As much as I have loved blogging (I really have), I feel like, along with everything else online, it’s consuming me a little. Sometimes when Austin naps, I quite fancy going to cook some food for him to freeze, or hanging the washing out, or putting his old clothes in the loft (sob) – you know, mum jobs. I always ignore these and find myself rushing to get online before he wakes up. I am prioritising the wrong things and find myself getting stressed about that, as I’d much rather concentrate on being a mum at the moment and sticking the laptop in the bin! When I said the wrong things, I mean wrong for me personally.

The things that make me happier should be top of my list right now. It may sound like I’m being dramatic – blogging and online banking is hardly the hardest job in the world, but I’ve always been old-fashioned and really do prefer the simple things sometimes. A lot of it comes from my old career as a nanny – I’m used to spending my days with babies, painting, baking, playing, colouring and I want to get back to that for a while with no distractions!

Anyone that blogs knows it takes time to create and edit posts, vlogs and everything else that comes with blogging – I knew that when I started but lately I feel like when I return, I’ll have had time to reassess what I want to do with my blog, which direction I want it to go in and how much time I’ll spend doing it. When I was pregnant, I just started documenting, but now that’s it’s grown a lot I need to work out where I’m going to take it next.

I’ve noticed that there can be so much pressure as a blogger – an insane amount! You should post every day to maximise exposure, get PR’s interested, get your stats higher, Tweet all the time….. Are you exhausted yet?! I do understand all that though, I’m just not sure a big successful blog is what I’m interested in anymore. What’s all this ‘like for like’ ‘follow for follow’ business as well?! Don’t people want others to read their blog because they enjoy it, or would they rather have fake likes to up their numbers?

I’ve found, sadly, the blogging community can sometimes be very fake and that’s not enjoyable for me at all. The majority, and those I keep up with on social media, are absolutely lovely but as with everything in life, there’s always a few that ruin it for the rest. I don’t enjoy being around fake people and fake things so maybe when I return I should steer clear of some of the Facebook blog groups. I  love some of them, they have a great social presence, the admin can be vey sweet and they really do help grow readers, but some of them are just full of the usual “Leave your Twitter page below and people will follow, you also MUST follow the 5 above you”.  I get why people want to do it, as stats are key when growing a blog, but that’s not me – I don’t want to be following a load of unrelevant, boring people just because they follow me back! Anyway, I digress….

Talking about how much time the internet takes up sounds silly as I see mums with 3 kids, twins, a full-time job and a husband away at sea who still blog daily, bake a cake and do the school run! I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea how they manage it – they’re superhuman, I swear! Amazing mummies! I’m very lucky to have my husband working from home, so he’s around with us all the time. You’d think that’d give me more time to blog as he can watch Austin but actually I find it makes it harder. If I am on my computer too much, I find that I would rather be making the most of the time we have as all 3 of us.  If all 3 of us are around all the time, I can get internet guilt. Why am I rushing online all the time when I could be relaxing and enjoying my family? It’s mad because I have more time than anyone – no job, a cleaner, husband at home – but whatever my reason, something is telling me to take a step back from the internet for a while.

Whilst on holiday recently, I realised how nice it was to be away from my laptop, phone and decent wifi. Basically the modern world. Do you know what? Grant and I talked more than we have in years! Nothing exciting, just chit-chat throughout the day, but in our house at home the internet and modern lifestyle definitely gets  in the way sometimes.

Family time by the pool

Family time by the pool

Do you ever find you both sit at home staring at your phones and forgetting to talk?!

It definitely happens with us lots and my blogging definitely adds to that. I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy my family a little and stay away just for a bit. It’s a very hard decision as I absolutely love my blog and it’s something I’m very proud of.

Do you ever feel like you want to take a step back from the modern world, grab a pen and paper and do things the old-fashioned way? If so, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Thank you to each and every one of you that reads my blog every week – if you enjoy it, please do stay following me as I’ll definitely be back. My Weekend Baby Style linky is the one thing I am absolutely certain will be staying. I started it only 11 weeks ago (terrible timing to take a break, right?!) And I absolutely LOVE it. It’s insane how much it’s grown and it’s something I’m going to really, really miss until I’m back! Fortunately, I roped in a co-host recently, a bloody good one at that. Sarah from Knott Bump & Us will be keeping it warm on her own – please keep linking up and give her some support, she looked after it alone whilst I was on holiday and did a fantastic job!

WBS3_zpscxyafxqgMost importantly I will definitely be staying on Instagram (and my personal FB page)  just as much as ever so please stay with me there, I can’t vanish completely, now can I? 🙂

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Love ya and thanks for reading. See you soon!
hannah

Weekend Baby Style | Week 11

Welcome to Weekend Baby Style! This linky is very simple and is basically just an #OOTD. Click here for full linky explanation. My co-host is Sarah from Knott bump & Us so make sure you pop by her post and say hello! 

First thing’s first – let me say a HUGE thank you to Sarah for flying solo over the last two weeks! I’ve been on my holidays and had terrible wifi so couldn’t host. I got back last weekend so have missed 2 WBS posts in total. Boo! To save confusion I’ve kept this week as Week 11 on my blog, just so that I’m always running the same week as Sarah. I’ve really missed taking part and hosting so I’m very excited to be back this week! Secondly, let me thank everyone that came back to link up while Sarah was hosting alone. We have such loyal linkers, it is so lovely to see everyone returning each week – and very exciting to keep seeing new people too! Welcome! We’re also going to keep the style of the temporary gold spotty badge Sarah used – I came back from holiday and loved it! So even though we may tweak it over the next few weeks the style will stay the same. We hope you love it too!

We’d love you to share your little one’s outfits. It’s so simple! Join in below…

 Austin’s WBS:

I chose to choose one of Austin’s midweek outfits this week as it was simply too cute not to! It was also the day that he was celebrating turning 8 months old. Where is the time going?!

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White long sleeved vestM & S

White #OOTD t-shirt – Rocket and Rose

Leopard print leggings – Zara (girl section!)

White socks – Baby GAP

Slouch beanie and scarf – Posh Kiddos (don’t forget to use code AUSTIN15 for discount if you visit their site!)

Could this t-shirt BE more appropriate for the linky?! I love it! We ordered a couple from this brand so look out for Austin wearing those soon. We didn’t do much that day – popped to my sister’s house for a play, then back home for a bath and early bedtime. This boy really loves his sleep!

Today (Friday) Austin will be wearing:

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Grey slouch beanie – Posh Kiddos

Black and white scarf – Enjoy Essential

Black and white stripey top – H & M

Jeggings –  Zara (girl’s section)

Leopard Print Converse – Available from Office

This is one of my favourite outfits – I love black and white, plus the Converse are just amazing! Although this morning I’ve had to make the devastating decision to sell them 😦 They’re a little too small for Austin even though he’s only worn them twice – indoors for about an hour each time so they’re like new! Keep an eye out on my Instagram page soon if you’d like a chance to nab them at less than retail cost.

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I love Austin in beanies and scarves lately too and as some of you may know, we’ve teamed up with Posh Kiddos as their rep! We’re really enjoying it and their site is absolutely amazing for leggings, tops and beanies/scarves! Well worth a look – don’t forget to use our discount code!

Special mentions this week goes to:

This fab ladybird outfit from Baby Sausages – such a gorgeous little girly outfit!

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And: The lovely boys from Little and Big Well done guys!

DSC_1738Will you be next week’s special mention?!

The rules!

  • Add the link to your post below and join in with the fun
  • Copy the code to grab my badge below and use it on your entry post
  • Don’t forget most importantly to visit other entries and share some love for their outfits too! 🙂
First Time Mummy
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Click here to enter your link and view all other entries…!

Look after my linky while I’m away! #weekendbabystyle

So, last night I posted to say I will be going abroad at 5am on Friday. I did think about hosting the linky as usual by scheduling a post to publish on Friday morning but the problem with that is that I have to manually enter my own post into the linky which confuses things a little as I’ll be thousands of feet in the air! I could have done this once I arrive to my hotel – but sadly I hear the wifi is terrible there.

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I won’t be back until the following Saturday at 1am. This also means I’m going to miss the following week too! 😦 Again, I could link up on the Saturday but after arriving home on a plane a few hours before with a 7 month old – let’s face it, that ain’t gon’ happen! I also didn’t think it was very fair to put my own link up this week while away, let you all visit and comment on my blog but then not have enough internet coverage to visit and comment on your own blogs in return.

Soooo…. I am going to leave the linky in the very, very capable hands of my co-host Sarah from Knott Bump & Us. If you don’t follow her on Twitter and Instagram already, please, please do so (you’ll find her social media links on her blog, so click on the link I just included to find those) otherwise you’ll miss out on the linky! We have so many lovely faithful linkers and we’d hate to lose you over the next fortnight just because you didn’t see the cue for linking.

Weekend style linky badgeSarah has just started a new job and has gone back to full time work this week – go Supermum!! This means it’s going to be a lot of work for her to make sure she gets posts ready and share on social media/her blog so would be amazing if you could all get behind her by following her and linking up as usual when she lets you know the linky is live 🙂

Thank you all so much for understanding – of course when I’m home and recovered from the flight/mountains of washing I will be looking back on the two weeks I missed and I’m really looking forward to seeing which lovely outfits you entered and commenting on how great they are! Sarah will also have the lovely job of choosing which her favourite outfits were so if you entered last week, watch out this week for who she picks – the same goes for the following week too.

See you all on the linky in a fortnight when I’ll be back on form!

I’ll try not to get too tanned…..

See ya! 🙂 ❤

hannah

We’re off on holibobs!

I thought I’d write a little something to let you know that we might go a bit quiet over the next 10 days… We’re off on holiday! We are flying to Fuerteventura this week with our lovely friends Claire, Tom and their baby Dougie. We all met in our NCT class, however Claire and I ended up in opposite beds when having our babies and then Austin and Dougie ended up being born just 6 hours apart! Austin was born at 7pm and Dougie at 1am meaning they won’t share the same birthday – something they’ll thank us for when they’re older I bet!

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Here are the two babies on their first summer pub lunch together!

I’ve made the decision not to blog during our time away or for a few days either side. I spend so much time on my computer during nap times/evenings so I really want to spend some quality time concentrating on family and friends for the week without being glued to the laptop. I may still post on Instagram and on my blog’s Facebook page although I have heard the wifi is shocking where we’re heading so I may even go totally silent!

camas-balinesas-carlotajpgThat is where we’re off to and I can’t wait! Look out on Instagram for photos and there will be lots more when we’re home.

Have a great week everyone!
hannah

Why I plan to shift the baby weight in 2015!

It’s been nearly 7 months since I had Austin and I’ve got to the point where I feel I want to shift the mum tum. I don’t feel in any pressure to do it from anyone else at all, but I have a few big events coming up in 2015 and I’d love to look back at photos and be happy with how I look.

This week I went back to my old faithful Weight Watchers. I did try Diet Chef recently and even though I really loved it at the time, for me it wasn’t going to work long term. Weight Watchers has always worked well for me so I’m straight back to it! I haven’t had my first weigh in yet as I’ve only been dieting for 4 days but I’ve already lost 3lb which I’m very happy with! Just shows how much rubbish I must have been eating over Christmas to lose so much so quick….

imgresIn 2015 this is what’s going down:

  • Feb/March this year we are off to Lanzarote or somewhere similar with friends (must get that booked actually!)
  • May is my best friend’s hen do! We are off to Bath for a relaxing weekend at a spa – swimsuits again!
  • July this year is my best friend’s wedding! AND I’M BRIDESMAID! Tight fitting dress alert…
  • Summer
  • July is also Austin’s first birthday. I’d love to look back at the photos and be pleased with how I looked on the day. July is also mine and my husband’s birthday so we might go away again. Swimsuit!

So, these are the important dates coming up and I have to fit in all sorts of dresses and bikinis. Eeek!

I won’t be filling you in on stones and pounds lost, but I will probably write another post in a month or so with general progress. I’m really pleased I’m bridesmaid as that is a real incentive to look great, so here’s hoping I stick to the diet and look fab by Summer!

Here are some meals I’ve been enjoying this week. I’ve been cooking for myself with some lovely fresh food and it’s been lovely to enjoy some vegetables again after the Christmas period. Grant had pizza the other night and I didn’t even bat an eyelid – breakthrough! My Nutribullet is my most favourite purchase ever – fab zero point fruit smoothies for breakfast every morning and they keep me going until lunch.  I’m sure I’ll blog about that soon too.

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Are any of you on the shift-the-baby-weight train with me?!

Thanks for reading! 🙂
hannah

Weekend Baby Style | Week 4

Welcome back to the Weekend Baby Style Linky! A few days ago you’ll remember that I announced a new co-host who will be joining this week, so please welcome Sarah from Knott Bump & Us !! If you missed the announcement, see here.

This linky is very simple and is basically just a #BOOTD. Click here for full linky explanation and rules. The long and short of it is that I’d love you all to share your favourite baby/child outfit from this weekend.

So simple! Join in below…

Austin’s Weekend Baby Style

So, this week we’ve been in Center Parcs at the Elveden Forest village and we’ve been having a lovely time. Sadly though, today is the day we travel home for the weekend so we’ve chosen comfort over style I’m afraid! The worst part is that as it’s the last day of the holiday, the clothes we have left don’t even match! Apologies everyone….

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Continue reading

Our first family holiday! Center Parcs Sherwood Forest.

Before we went on holiday I was asked by Center Parcs to write a piece for their blog and I’m very pleased to say it has now been published over on the Center Parcs blog. Have a look here!

Oh gosh what a week. We had a fantastic time and we will always be able to look back on Austin’s first ever holiday with such great memories! Why did we pick Center Parcs you might ask? Let me tell you exactly why… Continue reading

Pregnant abroad – Guest post for Lilypod and Sweet pea

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This week the lovely Jess asked me to guest post for her while she was on holiday. I wrote about my experience of being pregnant abroad! Jess is one of my favourite bloggers, so a great opportunity to check out her blog too! Go on, have a little read over at Lilypodandsweetpea