Baby passport – how to get a passport for your baby

Baby passport

How to get your baby passport in the UK – my tips.

Gone are the days when a child can travel on their parents passports. Every British child now needs to have their own baby passport to travel even new-born babies.

Baby passport

It may sound like a difficult task to get a baby passport. However it is simpler than you may think.

First things first – your baby needs to be registered and have a birth certificate that can be sent with their passport application. This can take some time depending on where you live. For example Birmingham registry office had a 6 week wait for appointments to register births. There are, however, always cancelled appointments that come up. If you call the office you may get in earlier. (We managed to get an appointment after a week.)




Next  is getting the passport photo right.  Here are the guidelines:

Photos of babies and children.

‘Children must be on their own in the picture. Babies must not be holding toys or using dummies. Children under 6 don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression. Children under one don’t have to have their eyes open. You can support their head with your hand, but your hand must not be visible in the photo.’

The background must also be cream or light grey. I used a cream blanket to lie the baby on.

To make sure the photos were correct I used the website paspic.com. They quality check the photos and print them at the correct size which prevents problems with the application. The pictures were delivered in a couple of days.

Baby passport
We got our baby passport!

The application is pretty straightforward. Very much the same as an adult passport, however you will need to fill in grandparents as well as parents details.  The passport needs to be signed by someone who has known the adult filling in the form for at least two years and recognise the baby photo.

Here are the requirements of the counter-signatory:

‘Who can sign your form and photo

Your counter-signatory must:

  • have known the person applying (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under 16) for at least 2 years.
  • be able to identify the person applying, eg they’re a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows them professionally).
  • be ‘a person of good standing in their community’ or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession.

They can’t be closely related to or involved with the person applying, eg:

  • related by birth or marriage
  • be in a relationship with or live at the same address as the person applyingIf you’re applying in the UK

Your counter-signatory must:

  • live in the UK
  • have a current British or Irish passport’

Here is a link to the list of Recognised professionals who can sign the baby passport and photo. There are more to choose from than I realised!

Baby passport.
Our passports ready for our first family trip to Lisbon in September.

So you have your birth certificate, completed form, photos and counter-signatory.. Next send it off and wait for the return!

I sent everything off by Royal Mail special delivery as I wanted to make sure it got there as soon as possible. I also wanted to make sure it got there, not that I don’t trust the post office.

Within 3 weeks from sending everything off we received our brand new baby passport! Quick and easy really :-).

I hope this has helped and makes sense for those applying for their babies first passport. I cant wait to take our new baby on her first trip!

Happy travels!




 

 

 

 

Flying whilst pregnant – my advice




My tips for flying whilst pregnant.

I have only two experiences of flying whilst pregnant. One at 15 weeks returning at 17 weeks and one at 27 weeks.
I am quite lucky to have avoided any morning sickness throughout so I didn’t have to contend with any nausea! But here is my advice to make it easier when flying whilst pregnant.

Flying whist pregnant.
Glad I took my flight to the Caribbean for views like this!

The first time I took a flight was during the beginning of the second trimester which is supposed to be the best time to travel. This is because generally you are supposed to be feeling better. The second was at the end and although I didn’t have too many adverse symptoms.. I was starting to slow down, getting breathless when walking for too long.

The flights I took were 8 hours to and from Barbados with Thompson and around 3-4 hours to Kaunas with Ryanair. As you can see my experiences are with budget airlines, so I’m not sure if it would be any different if you paid a bit more!




So from my experiences I can offer this advice and hope it’s helpful to anyone flying whilst pregnant!

1)Bring your own decaf.

If you like your hot drinks like I do then bringing your own decaf tea bags or coffee for your flight is a good idea. Decaf wasn’t available on my flights but I had anticipated that.  The attendants can give you hot water and you are good to go!

2)Wear flight socks.

I think they really helped, especially for a long flight and if you are prone to leg cramps. Make sure you get up and walk around too if you can to help your circulation. Not very sexy but neither are puffy ankles and visible veins!

3)Drink plenty of water.

Bring your own bottle. It may mean a few more trips to the loo but keeping hydrated is really important. It also helps with prevent water retention strangely. Also getting up to go to the bathroom will keep your circulation going!

4)Bring a comfortable pillow.

Trying to sleep on a plane is bad enough but when you are pregnant and can’t get comfortable its worse!. For a long flight bringing an in flight pillow will really help you get into a position you can sleep in. Or  even just a doze.

5)Take your favourite snack along.

If you have been feeling nauseated, the thought of aeroplane food may make your stomach turn. Make sure you bring some snacks you know you will enjoy whilst travelling to keep your energy levels up. Keep them handy too.. they are no good to you in the hold!

6)Mention your pregnancy when checking in and to the stewards.

There’s nothing wrong with telling the airline staff you are pregnant. You may be given priority boarding, an accessible seat or maybe just a little more care and attention. Anything to make your flying experience more enjoyable.

Flying whilst pregnant.
Wrapped up visiting Trakai Lithuania at 27 weeks.

Many airline have different policies when it comes to pregnant women flying. Usually flying up to 28 weeks is the safest time to fly and its a rule many airlines stick to. Any time after that may require a doctor’s note to say you are safe to fly. This will only be given however if you are low-risk and having a normal pregnancy. The dates are earlier if you are having twins.




The medical advice is always changing. Here is the current NHS ADVICE and Frequently asked questions.

The main advice from me is do it if you can! Have your baby moon and enjoy this relaxing time where you are the one being looked after.

Happy travels 🙂

 

5 places to get some Winter Sun

Want to get away from the cold weather? Here are 5 places to get some winter sun!

The nights are drawing in, the leaves have fallen and the heating is on. Many of us are dreaming of warmer days. Get away from the cold with these Winter sun destinations.

Mexico

With temperatures averaging between 21 and 30 degrees Celsius this is the perfect place to soak up the sun and relax during the winter months. From Cancun to Riviera Maya there are beautiful sandy beaches and historical sites to explore.

Winter sun
The beach at Cancun – Image from Wikipedia


The Caribbean.

Explore the Caribbean with a cruise, find a self catering hideaway on an island or kick back at a luxurious all inclusive resort. With over 7,000 islands to choose from you are sure to find the right place to enjoy your winter sun.

Winter Sun
Montego bay Jamaica – Image from Wikipedia.

Egypt’s red sea resorts.

With something for all budgets Egypt can be enjoyed by everyone. Known for its fabulous snorkelling and diving opportunities it is great for the adventurous. But that’s not all, great shopping and sports can be found here. The warm temperatures make it a lovely winter sun destination.

Winter Sun
Naama Bay Egypt – Image from Wikipedia.

Canary islands.

Having great weather year-round the canary islands are a favourite place to enjoy the sunshine. As well as beaches there are volcanoes and mountains to discover. Tenerife is the largest and most popular island especially with British holiday makers.

winter sun
Mount Teide Tenerife – Image from Wikipedia.


Gran Canaria NWI 346x96

Thailand’s Islands

The perfect time to visit Thailand is in the winter months. Spoilt for choice of beautiful beaches you will find your own piece of paradise. Phuket and Koh Samui are the most visited islands. But Island hopping is popular too!

winter sun
Koh Samui Thailand – image from Wikipedia.


Where are you heading for your Winter sun?

Visit Birmingham – Top 10 reasons

Visit Birmingham

Top 10 reasons to visit Birmingham, UK.

Visit Birmingham
Birmingham city from the air

A lot of people don’t realise that Birmingham is Englands second city. That’s right! Not Manchester or Liverpool – Birmingham! There are so many reasons to visit Birmingham. Whether you are from the UK and looking for a city break or visiting the UK from abroad and wondering where to stop on your road trip. Birmingham is a great place to explore and here are my top 10 reasons why….

1) Shopping.

Birmingham has become one of the best shopping cities in the UK. The famous bullring shopping centre has a wide range of shops for all budgets. Including four fabulous floors in the renowned Selfridges.

For vintage finds and unique boutiques head to the custard factory in the Digbeth area. If you are lucky there will be a vintage fair or show. Excellent for one-off pieces and rare gems.

For the fashion conscious to the bargain hunter. Birmingham has got something for everyone.

Visit Birmingham
Selfridges at Birmingham bullring.

2) Museums and Art galleries.

There are lots of interesting exhibits in and around Birmingham. Perfect for art lovers. The museum and art gallery in Victoria square is home of the Staffordshire hoard. The biggest Anglo-saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found. In addition to this there is a baroque art collection and the history of Birmingham exhibit.

As well as the main museum, there is the Thinktank science museum. This is a great place to take kids for interactive learning and discovery.

A smaller art gallery can be found at Birmingham University. The Barber Institute is home to some spectacular paintings.  Famous artists work including Turner, Van Gough, Monet and Renoir.

Visit Birmingham
Birmingham museum and art gallery Victoria square.

Continue reading “Visit Birmingham – Top 10 reasons”

Top quirky bars in Europe

Here are five of the Top quirky bars in Europe I have visited!

Ok so this is my opinion based on bars I have visited myself. (I am sure there are other amazing bars so let me know and I will add them to my list to visit)

But here is my version of Top quirky bars in Europe!

Cafe buza Dubrovnik, Croatia

Nestled on the cliffs beyond the city walls this cool bar gives you a view of the Adriatic and Lokrum Island. Find the hole in the city walls and walk down the steps in the cliff to the bar.

Buza bar Top quirky bars in Europe

Alchemia bar Krakow, Poland

In the Jewish quarter this bar has something for everyone. There are different rooms decorated in alternative ways. Go through the wardrobe and you will find two more rooms to explore.

Image from www.local-life.com

Le Zero de Conduite Paris, France

This tiny bar in St Germain de Pres is very unique. Serving only cocktails you order by drawing or acting the cartoon character representing your order. Then your drinks come in baby bottles!

Le Zero du Conduite Top quirky bars in Europe

Boadas cocktail bar Barcelona Spain

No menu here. Just ask the bow tie donning waiters for your favourite cocktail and they will shake it up for you. Serving cocktails since 1933 this small bar is full of history.

Boada Cocktail Bar Barcelona
Image from Blog.friendlyrentals.com

Mein haus am see Berlin, Germany

Looking like a sofa shop in the day time, this retro bar fills up at night and has a laid back feel. Great for a coffee in the day time and music and beer in the evening!

Image from enjoyberlin.com

Have you been to any of these bars? Can you recommend any more quirky places?

 

Top UNESCO World Heritage sites

How many of these top UNESCO World Heritage sites have you visited?

Here are some of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.

1) The great barrier reef – Australia

The worlds biggest coral reef system is a popular tourist destination. The reef spans 1400 miles and can be seen from outer space.

UNESCO World Heritage site
“Coral Outcrop Flynn Reef” by Toby Hudson – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2) Machu Picchu – Peru

Dating back to 1450, the Incan city was rediscovered in 1914. The stunning views are worth the trek through the Andes.

UNESCO world heritage site
Machu Picchu – by Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

3) Petra – Jordan

The ancient city of Petra is carved out of the rose coloured stone on the slopes of Jebel al-Madhbah. It is also featured in ‘Indiana Jones Temple of Doom’.

Petra Unesco world heritage
“Al Khazneh” by Bernard Gagnon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

4) Tulum – Mexico

These ancient ruins of a Mayan sea port are located on the coast of the Yucatan peninsula and popular with tourists from the surrounding Riviera Maya.
More about Tulum

Tulum Unesco world heritage
Ruins by the sea, Tulum Mexico – Tara Bruton

5) Venice and it’s Lagoon – Italy

The floating city is made up of 117 islands all connected by bridges. The canals, lagoon and history of art and music makes this one of the romantic cities in the world.
More about venice

Unesco world heritage
Venice Lagoon – Tara Bruton

6) Yellowstone National Park – USA

With almost 3500 square miles of canyons, lakes, forests, rivers and mountain ranges, you can spot wildlife and see the most famous Old faithful Geyser.

Yellowstone Unesco world heritage
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, black bears, 2001″ by Brian W. Schaller – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons –

 7) Potala Palace – Tibet, China

The former home of  the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. Built on the ‘Red mountain’ in 1645 as a seat of government today it is a museum.

Unesco world heritage
“布达拉宫” by Coolmanjackey – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

8) Old city of Jerusalem – Israel

Visited on pilgrimage by Christians, Muslims and Jews for its religious sites, it is a city of significance for may spiritual groups.

Old city of Jerusalem Unesco world heritage
“Tankizyya “by Deror avi – Own work. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons

9) Palace and Park of Fontainebleau – France

One of the largest Royal Chateaux originally a medieval castle that had been home to French royalty until Napoleon III.

Palace of Fontainebleau unesco world heritage
“Chateau Fontainebleau”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

10) Abu Simbel – Egypt

The temples of Pharoh Ramesses II and Queen Nefertari dating back to 1264BC and located near the border with Sudan.

Abu Simbel Unesco world heritage
“Abu Simbel Temple” by Than217 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

11) Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens- Austria

This beautiful former summer residence for the imperial family can be found in Vienna. Explore the gardens and marvel at the architecture.

Unesco world heritage
“Schloss Schönbrunn Wien by Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons

12) Vatican City

Home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine chapel and St Peters Basilica and ruled by absolute monarchy of the Holy See. Crowds gather in the square for an audience with the Pope when he is in Rome.
More about Vatican city

Unesco world heritage
Vatican city Tara Bruton

13) Angkor complex – Cambodia

With over a thousand temples on the site this massive complex, the most visited include Angkor Wat and Bayon. Also famous for its inclusion in the Tomb Raider film starring Angelina Jolie.

Angkor Wat at sunrise Unesco World Heritage
Angkor Wat at sunrise – Tara Bruton

14) The great wall of China – China

Stretching over 13,000 miles  the wall was built to protect the empires against invasion. Most of the remaining wall today dates from the Ming dynasty.

Unesco world heritage
The Great Wall of China – Tara Bruton

15) Bagan city – Myanmar (Burma)

Bagan is spirit of history in Myanmar. Over 2000 temples and pagodas remain on the plains and are visited by an increasing amount of tourists each year.
More about Bagan

Bagan Unesco world heritage
“Ruins of Bagan,” by Nicholas Kenrick – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

16) Acropolis of Athens – Greece

Ancient buildings including the Parthenon looking down from the rocks onto the city of Athens. A site of archaeological significance.

Athens Unesco world heritage
“The Parthenon in Athens” by Steve Swayne -.Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

17) Taj Mahal – India

Visited by 3 million people a year, the building was commissioned in 1632 as a tomb for the Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
More about the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Unesco world heritage
“Taj Mahal (Edited)” by Yann; edited by Jim Cartar – Edited version of File:Taj Mahal, Agra, India.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

18) Chichen Itza – Mexico

Dominated by El Castillo, Chichen Itza was one of the largest ancient Mayan cities. Crowds gather at the spring and autumn equinox to watch the shadow snake slither down the pyramid.

Chichen Itza Unesco World heritage
Chichen Itza, Mexico – Tara Bruton

19) Rapa Nui National Park – Easter Island

Here stand 887 monolithic statues called ‘Moai’ carved by the Rapa Nui people and placed around the island. The tallest being almost 33 ft high.
More about Rpa Nui National Park

Easter Island Unesco world heritage
“Ahu-Akivi-1” by Ian Sewell – http://www.ianandwendy.com/OtherTrips/SouthPacific/Easter-Island/index.htm. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

20) Pyramids of Giza – Egypt

The great pyramid is the only one of the seven ancient wonders of the world that still remains today.
More about the Pyramids of Giza

Kheops-Pyramid.jpg
“Kheops-Pyramid” by Nina – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons –

21) Mont St Michel – France

Previously a prison during the French revolution, this island is home to the monastery of the same name and is the attraction for tourists today
More about Mont St Michel

Le Mont Saint-Michel Unesco world heritage
“Mont St Michel” by Diliff – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

22) Copan – Hondoras

Mayan ruins in the Copan valley comprise of a main complex, containing the acropolis and plazas surrounded by several secondary complexes.
More about Copan

Unesco world heritage
“CPN WEST COURT” by Talk2winik – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

23) Banaue Rice Terraces – Philippines

The locals call these terraces the eighth wonder of the world. Built over 2000 years ago they were once completely abandoned by locals but are now being worked once more.

Unesco world heritage
“Banaue-Rice-Terraces” by Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

24) Serengeti National Park – Tanzania

A vast national park in the heart of Africa where the largest and longest annual migration happens. The plains, savanna, forests and woodlands are home to a diverse range of wildlife including ‘the big five’

Serengiti Unesco World heritage
“Serengeti-African-Elephants” by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

25) Galápagos Islands – Ecuador

This national park and biological marine reserve was famously studied by Charles Darwin and where both land and marine Iguanas can be found.
More about the Galapagos Islands

Unesco world heritage
“Galapagos iguana” by Datune at en.wikipedia – Own workTransferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Plenty of amazing places to add to your travel bucket list! Tell me how many you have visited and which was your favourite?

CitizenM New York Hotel review

CitizenM New York

CitizenM New York hotel review– Tech hotel in the city

We stayed at CitizenM in March 2015. Its a relatively new hotel and the concept intrigued me so I thought I would give it a try.

The location is 50th at Broadway and seconds from Times Square so a great base to explore. It is also a few steps away from the subway so easy to get to and from.

CitizenM New York
Entrance to CitizenM New York 50th at Broadway

As it describes itself as a tech hotel check in was self service using the circular computer desk as you enter the hotel. There were a staff around who helped the process so it wasn’t necessarily do it yourself which was good!

We were given a room on the 17th floor, all of the rooms in the hotel are the same. There are no upgrades or different sizes or designs so you know what you are getting before you go. Continue reading “CitizenM New York Hotel review”

Packing for Thailand – tips for female backpackers

Packing for Thailand

My tips for ladies when packing for Thailand

There are so many questions when considering packing for a backpacking trip. You don’t want to pack too much but don’t want to left without essentials.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Here’s what worked for me:

1) Long light fabric trousers

Long trousers are essential for two reasons when packing for Thailand. One, you are required to cover up when entering temples and this prevents you being turned away. Two, they protect you from the sun and heat, being more comfortable to wear. Cotton joggers are widely available now and this is what I chose. You can always go to a market and buy some extras whilst you are there!

Packing for Thailand

2) A long sleeved cover up or shirt

For the same reasons as above, make sure you have something to cover your shoulders. Essential for entering temples and  protection from the sun.

3) Soft wireless bras and swimwear.

I found soft bras so much more comfortable in the heat and humidity. Plus so much easier to wash and dry. They take up a lot less room than molded underwear in your backpack.

4) Strong veet mosquito spray

And smother it on! To avoid getting bitten make sure you bring plenty and cover yourself liberally. I learned this the hard way. Also I found monkey balm to be great which you can find on your travels.

Packing for Thailand
With my backpack looking tired after a flight!

5) Ditch the heels

I used to bring a pair of heels away ‘just in case’. Then they sit in my backpack and take up too much room. I now bring a pair of flat versatile sandals which I can wear day and night. Along with flip flops such as Havianas and some comfortable shoes such as Toms you are set!

 What I took for a 3 week trip

3x lightweight trousers, 2x shorts, 2x tshirts, 5x vest tops, 2x sundress, 1x smart dress, 2x swimsuits, 1x long sleeved shirt, 1x jersey cover-up,

1x smart sandals, 1x flip-flops, 2x Toms.

More packing tips here