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Travel Timehop archive – trips we did earlier

Travel Timehop archive – trips we did earlier

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In 2015 I started a series of blog posts looking back at favourite moments from our trips during the previous decade.

Each post was based around a single picture and told the story of where we were and what was happening as the camera went ‘click’.

Over the year I shared 47 mini-stories – it’s quite an archive that captures special memories from our adventures before and after Tin Box Traveller came into being.

There were snaps from our 2006 camping trip around Europe, our honeymoon in 2008, Tin Box Tot’s first foreign holiday, Tin Box Baby’s first caravan experience and numerous mini-breaks that Mr Tin Box and I took in those heady days before kids.

I’ve wrote about destinations including Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ibiza, the US, Mexico and the good old UK.

It’s was a lot of fun recalling and recording all these memories.

Now I have pulled them all together into one archive. Here is my Travel Timehop series in it’s entirety:

Contents - jump to what you'd like to know

Travel Timehop #1 Turkey – published 1 January 2015

Welcome to my first Travel Timehop post of 2015.

It was one of my new years resolutions to start a regular post where I can share memorable moments from our adventures during the past 10 years, both pre and post-Tin Box.

Yes, that also means I’ll be giving you a peek at the holidays Mr TB and I took before Tin Box Tot arrived!

Camping in the UK has always featured high on our travel check list, but we have also been on cottage breaks and package holidays, as well as planning our own trips. So expect a bit of everything.

Tin Box Traveller and Mr Tin Box in Turkey

Where in the world?

My first Travel Timehop of the year is a throwback from 2005 when Mr TB and I flew to Turkey.

This was our first foreign holiday together – eck! We had a few days to kill and credit on a card so we made a spur of the moment booking for five days in Antalya.

It was also my first experience of an all-inclusive hotel and I remember making very good use of the free bar. Not something I do much these days!

Timehop moment

During our stay we visited the Kursunlu Waterfalls, an area of outstanding natural beauty, where this photo was taken.

My hair doesn’t cope well with humidity so I spent most of the holiday looking hot and bedraggled like this!

Travel Timehop #2 Isle of Wight – published 8 January 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop where I let you have a sneaky peek between the pages of our holiday photo albums. Each week, or as regularly as I can, I am sharing a photographic moment from our travels during the past 10 years.

This week, it’s a festival themed snap. And oh look, in true British festival tradition, it rained!

When are we time-hopping to?

This week’s Travel Timehop is a throwback to 2011, and the days when Mr Tin Box and I would stay up late and drink cider until we could face the festival toilets no more.

Where in the world?

We were enjoying the muddy delights of the Isle of Wight Festival. Mr TB had booked the tickets while he was on deployment with the Royal Navy earlier in the year. It was something exciting to look forward to when he returned.

Luckily, we only had to put up with the great British summertime during the day as we had booked a holiday cottage in Cowes to stay in overnight.

It also meant hot showers and cooked breakfasts each morning – yum!

Timehop moment

This photo was taken on the Sunday of the festival while we were waiting for The Script to come on the main stage.

Tin Box fact: the day before, in sunnier weather, we took the picture that was my very first social media avatar.

Travel timehop #3 Grand Canyon- published 15 January 2015

Hey there travel fans and welcome to my Travel Timehop. Each week I’m letting you have a peek between the pages of our holiday photo album.

We’ve been having adventures much longer than I’ve been blogging so this is a chance for me to share some stand out moments from our travels during the past 10 years.

This week it’s a snapshot from our honeymoon – aww memories! 

When are we time-hopping to?

Mr TB and I got married back in 2008 and wanted an extra special honeymoon. After a lot of shopping around and pleading for a newly-wed discount we excitedly booked two-weeks hopping around America.

Where in the world?

I can guarantee that our honeymoon is going to feature again on my Travel Timehops – it was an amazing experience – but this first snap was taken during a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

Las Vegas was our first stop off in the United States. It wasn’t really our choice, but came as part of the ‘three-centre’ package that we booked through Virgin Holidays. It turned out to be a real eye opener and great fun.

Anyway, you can’t go to Arizona without seeing something other than the fairy lights of Vegas, so we used some of our wedding money to book this tour. 

It meant getting up at a mad time in the morning, but as we had flown in from the UK the night before our body clocks were up the creek anyway. 

Timehop moment

We got a limousine from our hotel – the Bellagio (amazing!) – and joined another couple for our Sundance helicopter ride out to the Canyon.

It was just the best way to start our honeymoon. We flew over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead where all the celebs have their Vegas pads, past the Skywalk and then down into the Grand Canyon for a champagne picnic.

Our Travel Timehop picture was taken in the Canyon after we’d polished off our bubbly and a picnic basket.

Our pilot flew us back over Las Vegas Strip to complete the tour. It’s a shame that part was in broad daylight as it would have been spectacular at night. Regardless, I’d love to go back and do it all again!

Travel timehop #4 North Wales – 22 January 2015

Welcome to my weekly Travel Timehop where I invite you to take a look between the dusty pages of our holiday photo album.

Mr Tin Box and I have been going on adventures much longer than I’ve been blogging so this is a chance for me to share some stand out moments from our travels during the past 10 years.

This week I’m sharing a snapshot from a trip to North Wales.

When are we time-hopping to?

We’re heading back to 2009, when we decided to pack our tent and camping supplies in the back of our tiny Suzuki Swift and holiday in the UK.

Where in the world?

We were staying at a campsite called The Willows Abersoch, just outside the small village of Mynytho on the Lleyn Peninsular. Our aim was to get in a bit of walking ahead of a trek up Mount Snowden the following week.

The site was about the only one I found in the area whose name I could pronounce – I think that’s the main reason I booked it. It was a great little site though, with all the basic facilities we needed.

Having taken a little look at its website while writing this post I can see that they’ve made a lot of improvements, including a new toilet and shower block with free hot water.

I’m pretty sure we had to pop money in a meter for hot showers when we were there, so you can thank us for funding that if you ever visit!

Timehop moment

As soon as we had pitched our four-man tent – we’ve never travelled light – we took a hike up the nearest hill to stretch our travel weary legs and check out the view.

Mr TB had a new camera so we decided to try out the timer and get a photo of us both in front of the remains of an old building.

We took a few shots like the one above before finally getting a good, yet slightly less interesting picture.

Travel timehop #5 Cafe del Mar – published 29 January 2015

Hey there Travel Timehop fans – it’s that time of the week again and the last Thursday of January 2015. When did that happen?

So far I’ve managed to keep up my new years resolution to share my favourite travel memories on a regular basis, even managing to make it weekly.

In celebration, I thought I’d share a moment that I absolutely adore – not least because it improves my traveller street cred!

Picture of Tin Box Traveller in front of a sunset at Cafe del Mar in Ibiza

When are we time-hopping to?

2011 was the year of the ‘white isles’ for Mr Tin Box and I, when we visited both the Isle of Wight and Ibiza within the space of a few weeks (I doubt these two holiday destinations get talked about in the same sentence that often!).

Where in the world?

After Mr TB had been away for a six month deployment with the Royal Navy, we decided to splash out on a foreign trip. It was just ahead of the main holiday season so prices were cheap and we found an amazing villa just outside San Carlos, which is on the old hippy trail.

We spent our days either chilling out by our private pool or searching for secluded beaches along the north coast.

After all, we were there to relax and enjoy some quality time together. However, you can’t go to Ibiza without visiting San Antonio

San Carlos is on the other side of the island. We looked into how much a taxi would cost to get us there and back and decided that we would actually be better off booking a hotel for the night – oh, the extravagance! 

Timehop moment

When we arrived in San Antonio the pre-season revellers were just emerging from their beds. We quickly checked into our hotel on the outskirts of town and grabbed a taxi to Cafe del Mar.

Everyone raves about the sunset there but I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it was.

We got a table right at the front of the promenade and after nearly chocking at paying £15 for two gin and tonics, were swept up in the buzz of music and excitement as sunset approached.

The sun seems to linger on the horizon, setting the sky on fire before disappearing into the sea. It is stunning and as corny as it sounds you can’t help but applaud nature.

Travel Timehop #6 – the Ardeche – published 5 February 2015

Delving through holidays snaps from years gone by has become a weekly treat. Especially when the weather outside is quite literally freezing and I come across photos from some of the amazing summer holidays we’ve enjoyed.

I can’t quite believe that this week’s Travel Timehop comes from nearly a decade ago, when Mr Tin Box and I spent a month travelling around Europe with a tent.

Tin Box Traveller and Mr TB standing by a river holding canoe paddles

When are we time-hopping to?

2006 was the year Mr TB joined the Royal Navy and before he did we decided to take a European road trip.

We booked a month off work, packed our tent, camping supplies and general clobber in the back of our Hyundai Getz, and hit the road.

Where in the world?

Our trip took us all the way to Barcelona and back stopping in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France before we arrived in Spain. Our return journey was more direct, up the middle of France with a final stop off in Paris.

We had a vague idea of where we wanted to be and when, but didn’t book into many campsites ahead of our arrival.

Instead we picked a town, city or region and headed to the nearest tourist information centre for a list of places where we could pitch our tent for a few days at a time.

Unless camping in Europe has changed much in the past 10 years, I can highly recommend this approach if you want to add an element of adventure to what is actually a very tame ‘back-packing experience’.

One of the most scenic places we stayed was the Gorges d’Ardeche in France.

The Ardeche river runs through Europe’s largest natural canyon and the area is a honeycomb of ancient caves. Some house the most significant prehistoric art ever discovered as well as amazing displays of stalagmites and stalactites.

Timehop moment

We stayed on a campsite in the Gorge for about three days, during which time we visited caves and booked ourselves a canoe trip down river.

This week’s Timehop moment photo was taken half way through our voyage.

The ride was generally easy going but there were some light rapids to contend with along the way. Thank goodness Mr TB has lots of upper body strength as I was a bit of a spare part when it came to navigating the rougher waters!

While Mr TB was dodging rocks (ha!), I had the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the canyon. There really is no better way to see it than from the water.

Since visiting the Gorge d’Ardeche we make a point of trying to find a cave or boat trip of some sort during our holidays. However, I don’t think many have been able to rival it.

Travel Timehop #7 – Derwentwater, The Lakes – published 12 February 2015

Between us Mr Tin Box and I have visited five continents – Australia, we’ll make it one day, Antarctica, maybe not – and dozens of countries. But sometimes our favourite travel memories come from holidays closer to home.

This week’s Travel Timehop is one of those moments and has more of a family feel than previous weeks as it comes from our first proper holiday with both Tin Box Dog and Tot.

When are we time-hopping to?

2013 was the year Tin Box Tot was born and also our first full season as caravan owners. We had a busy summer ahead of us with a holiday booked in Devon and a wedding to get to in Scotland.

Some how we managed to fit it all in to a three week getaway with a six-month-old and dog in tow. You can read the full story in my posts about our summer 2013 adventures.

Where in the world?

On our journey between Devon and Ayrshire in Scotland, we pitched Tin Box at a Caravan Club site on the shores of Derwentwater in the Lake District. This marked the half way point in our holiday and a chance for us to enjoy some walking in one of our favourite UK counties.

Timehop moment

Derwentwater is in the north of the Lake District.

On one of our days we decided to walk from our campsite at Borrowdale on the southern side of the lake to Keswick right on its northern tip. Our route was a Miles without Stiles path, which meant we could take the pushchair for TBT without worrying about getting it stuck along the way.

During our walk we met lots of other tourists, some stretching their legs like us and others hopping on and off the passenger ferry that was steaming up and down the lake.

One couple offered to take this photo of us. It’s one of the very rare snaps we have of the whole Tin Box family and I love it.

Travel Timehop #8 – Swanage – published 19 February 2015

This week’s Travel Timehop proves you don’t have to look far from home for somewhere interesting to spend your holidays.

We travelled just over an hour down the road to this destination, where we spent the best part of the week visiting ancient landmarks, sandy beaches and the odd pub.

When are we time-hopping to?

2007 – the year after our great European tenting adventure and the summer we got in engaged.

In an effort to save money before our wedding in 2008 we decided to break out the tent again for a staycation in the UK.

Where in the world?

We were visiting Swanage in Dorset. There are so many campsites just outside the town that I can’t for the life of me remember where we stayed now.

I do however recall that, in true European adventure style, we hadn’t booked anywhere and had to drive around a few places to find space for us and our little tent.

In the end we found a site attached to a farm.

The shower facilities were a bit basic – there were no lights, which was probably just as well as I dread to think when the block had last been cleaned! However being so close to Swanage was worth it.

The town is really pretty, there are plenty of places to eat and enjoy a drink, and the beach is gorgeous.

 Corfe Castle, the stunning Studland beach and Swanage Railway are all great local attractions within a few miles of the town.

You are also on the Jurassic Coast, with dozens of walks to help you work off the obligatory tea and cake from the local cafes…and maybe the odd pint of cider from the local pubs.

Timehop moment

The two pillars in this week’s Timehop photo are made of Purbeck stone, which has been quarried on the Isle of Purbeck since Roman times.

They look a bit out of place and rightly so as they were actually taken from a building in London that was demolished. They made it back to Swanage as ballast onboard ships coming to collect new stone.

I don’t think Mr TB and I had any idea of that at the time. It just seemed like a nice place to have our photo taken. Bad travellers!

But check out the amazing weather. It doesn’t always rain during UK staycations!

Travel Timehop #9 – Mexico – published 26 February 2015

Each week in 2015 I’m flicking through the pages of our holiday photo albums to find some cracking memories to share with you. In 2008, Mr Tin Box and I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime – marriage.

I’m happy to say that there have been masses more highs than lows and…excuse the tenuous link…this week’s Travel Timehop memory comes from a literal high on our honeymoon.

When are we time-hopping to?

Sorry, I’ve already given the game away – it’s 2008 in the two weeks straight after our wedding.

Where in the world?

After an amazing few days in Las Vegas we flew to Mexico for the second stage of our honeymoon.

We had booked an all-inclusive, adults only hotel just south of Cancun – perfect for a relaxing week eating, drinking and sitting by the pool.

However, we’re not very good a sitting still, so we broke up our restful week with a couple of excursions.

Mr TB chose to book us onto a speed boat trip and snorkelling, while I opted for something a little more educational, a trip to the Mayan ruins at Coba.

Timehop moment

This week’s picture was taken at the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid at Coba, which is the highest temple on the Yucatan Peninsular.

We had just climbed 120 steps in the baking sun to get to the top, so that’s why we look a little sweaty. It was well worth it though as the views were amazing.

The Coba settlement, which was abandoned in the 1550s when the Spanish took over, is surrounded by jungle. Many other smaller ruins are nestled between the trees.

Close to Nochoch Mul there’s an intriguingly designed ball court with stone hoops at the top of two adjacent slopes. The rules of the game have apparently been lost over the centuries, but our guide enjoyed sharing the theory that human heads were used rather than balls!

Travel Timehop #9 – Dartmouth – published 5 March 2015

I love flicking through our holiday photo albums and in 2015 I am choosing a favourite snap to share here on the blog each week.

So far I’ve shared pictures from foreign holidays and breaks closer to home spanning the past 10 years.

This week’s Travel Timehop gem comes from the not so distant past and a UK getaway in a location close to our hearts.

Tin Box Traveller and Mr Tin Box walking in he Dart Valley

When are we time-hopping to?

It’s a small hip, skip and jump back to 2013 – the year Tin Box Tot was born and we spent our first summer holiday away in Tin Box.

Where in the world?

We had pitched our caravan in Devon and were enjoying a visit to Dartmouth, which is a special place for Mr Tin Box and I as it is where we got engaged.

The legend goes that Mr TB was coming to the end of a stint of training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) and decided to pop the question following his passing out parade.

The town itself is a quintessential small English port. It has so much character and, as you would expect, is a magnet for tourists in the summer months.

We love browsing the independent shops and, back in the days before TBT, enjoying meals in its many lovely restaurants. There’s also a fantastic selection of B&Bs and hotels that cater to the families of students at BRNC all year round, as well as tourists in the summer.

Timehop moment

This week’s picture was taken during a walk up the Dart Valley and River Dart.

Tot was hitching a ride in the baby carrier on Mr TB’s back and Tin Box Dog was sniffing about just out of shot. You can see the River Dart stretching away behind us.

After this picture was taken we continued up river, past Agatha Christie’s holiday home Greenway, and on to Dittisham where we crossed the river and had lunch. There’s more about what we got up to in my post about our first summer holiday in Tin Box.

Travel Timehop #10 – Paris – published 12 March 2015

I love flicking through holiday photos and my Travel Timehop gives me a weekly opportunity to share some of my favourite pictures from our adventures pre-Tin Box, as well as more recent family travels.

This memory seems all the more poignant following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November.

Tin Box Traveller and Mr Tin Box in front of the glass Pyramid of The Lourve in Paris

When are we time-hopping to?

This Travel Timehop is from August 2006.

Mr Tin Box and I were coming to the end of a month-long camping trip around Europe. We had pitched our tent in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France along the way. 

There was also a visit to friends living in Spain, where we slept on the roof terrace of a Barcelona townhouse!

Where in the world?

After Barcelona we travelled back up through France and decided to treat ourselves to a stay in a Parisian hotel. After a month without a bath and sleeping on an air bed it felt like Christmas.

Our hotel was just off the Champs-Élysées, putting us within easy reach of all the sights.

We had three nights to make the most of the city and managed to fit in the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Foucault’s pendulum at the Pantheon, and the Moulin Rogue.

I’ve returned since for an exhibition with work at Paris Nord VillePointe but had nowhere near as much free time to look around the city. 

Timehop moment

We visited in the year Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was released as a film so, as you would expect, we couldn’t help but check out some of the landmarks in the novel.

This Timehop photo was taken in front of The Louvre‘s iconic Pyramid. I won’t mention any Da Vinci Code spoilers here but it does feature.

I loved The Louvre and could have spent days looking around. But because we were short of time in the French capital we planned our visit to see a few of the most famous points of interest – the aforementioned Pyramid,  the Mona Lisa (I was surprised how tiny it was), and the Venus de Milo.

The terrorist attacks in Paris have made me all the more determined to return to The Louvre and soak up more of this wonderful city.

Travel Timehop #11 – Snowden 2009 – published 19 March 2015

Right now – at nearly eight months pregnant and straining under the weight of the baby that is lodging in my tummy – climbing a mountain is the last thing on my to do list.

However, it’s something Mr Tin Box and I have done a few times and hope to do again when our little family is ready.

For this week’s Travel Timehop I’ve chosen to share a snap shot from my first ever mountain expedition, both to give me a bit of inspiration in the weeks to come and encourage me to do it again one day soon.

When are we time-hopping to?

This week’s Travel Timehop photo was taken during our 2009 summer holiday in Wales.

Where in the world?

We were camping in Snowdonia National Park with the aim of enjoying lots of walking and climbing Snowden itself.

Timehop moment

Mr TB had insisted we get up at the crack of dawn to start our ascent of Snowden, giving us a good chance of reaching the peak before it got too busy. We were taking the Watkin Path, which is meant to be a seven hour round trip and a climb of 3,330ft.

Half way up Mr TB took this photo. I’m pretty sure that’s a forced smile on my face as Mr TB does not climb slowly. It’s the military man in him – if we are not route marching, then it’s not good enough!

After this picture the cloud started to set in and we reached the toughest part of the climb – a steep scree slope, which made my legs wobble. I’m not great with heights and it felt like I might fall off Snowden if I leaned back too far.

Unfortunately, when we got to the top we couldn’t see a thing. It was a bit of a shame after putting in so much effort, but it gives us an incentive to revisit Snowden another time.

Travel Timehop #12 – Bristol 2009 – published 26 March 2015

I love having holidays planned out months in advance – it’s something to look forward to, especially during the colder months.

However, not all of our breaks are that well planned. This Travel Timehop destination was chosen at the last minute and by pure chance, but ended up being a firm favourite with myself and Mr Tin Box.

When are we time-hopping to?

This Travel Timehop moment is from August 2009 – exactly a year after Mr Tin Box and I got married.

Where in the world?

We had no idea where to celebrate our first wedding anniversary but wanted to go somewhere in the UK that was new to us. So out came the map and Bristol caught our collective eyes.

Timehop moment

By shear luck we managed to arrive in Bristol during its annual Harbour Festival – a long weekend of free music, dance and performance events across the city.

This photo was taken late in the afternoon on our first day after a few hours of watching live bands and drinking cider in Queen Square and at the Cascade Steps.

The weather was gorgeous and Mr TB couldn’t resist having a paddle in the fountains on St Augustine’s Parade on the way back to our hotel.

We had a fantastic few days in Bristol enjoying the festival, eating out at some of the fab city centre restaurants and reflecting on our first year as a married couple.

We loved it so much that we made a point of revisiting Bristol and the Harbour Festival for our second anniversary!

Travel Timehop #13 – Devon 2013 – published 2 April 2015

So here we are – a quarter of the way through the year and 13 weeks into my Travel Timehop series of holiday memories. How did that happen?! 

This week’s picture is a particular favourite and one we have on the wall at home. 

When are we hopping to?

It was 2013 and our first family summer holiday when I dared not let Tin Box Tot go outdoors without a hat and five layers of sun block! I’m still cautious when the great British weather is being kind, but not as paranoid as I once was.

Where in the world?

We were caravanning at Dawlish Warren in Devon – a proper seaside resort with a fun fair, arcades, ice cream and holiday villages.

Travel Timehop moment

I love this week’s Travel Timehop picture for so many reasons. It was Tin Box Tot’s first summer holiday; her first time on a sandy beach; she had just mastered sitting upright, and yes, she is eating a stone! What a cutie!

Travel Timehop #14 – Brussels 2006 – published 9 April 2015

This week’s Travel Timehop moment is taken from a month-long tenting trip in Europe that I’ve written about before. We collected so many great memories from this expedition that I’m bound to come back to it a few times.

When are we hopping to?

It was 2006 – nearly a decade ago – and a summer holiday to remember. We visited so many new places, enjoyed great food and saw some amazing sights.

Our European tour involving a tent and a Hyundai Getz took us from the UK to Belgium, through Luxembourg, into Germany, through France and on to Spain. We then did a quick run back up through France to home – all in the space of four weeks.

Where in the world?

Our first stop off was near Brussels in Belgium. Our campsite – the only one we booked in advance during the whole trip – was just outside the city. We had taken a very early ferry between Dover and Dunkirk and arrived before the site opened.

After quickly setting up camp and stopping by the local petrol station for supplies (we did get more adventurous with our shopping as things went on!), we headed off to see what Brussels had to offer.

I can’t remember if we took the car in to the city or caught a bus but once there we walked around the sights, visiting the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History, window shopping at Les Galeries Saint Hubert, enjoying a blonde beer overlooking the Guildhouses at Grand’Place and mooching through the Parc de Bruxelles.

Of course, no trip to Brussels would be complete without seeing the statue of the peeing boy as well! 

Travel Timehop moment

A highlight of our stay in Brussels was visiting the Atomium, which was built for the 1958 World Fair – an international display of industry.

You can travel up the arms of the structure on escalators and visit exhibitions in each of the globes. At the top there is a platform with 360 degree views of Brussels.

The Atomium is massive and our amusing picture really does not do justice to the scale of this landmark.

Travel Timehop #15 – New York 2008 – published 16 April 2015

Each week in 2015 I’m rummaging through our holiday snaps to share with you some of my favourite travel memories. This week’s Travel Timehop comes from the final leg of our honeymoon.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was 2008, when Mr Tin Box and I tied the knot and hopped on a plane for a holiday of a lifetime.

Where in the world?

This photographic souvenir was taken in the unmistakable Time Square in New York. This was the third and final stop off during our two weeks in the Americas.

We also visited Las Vegas and Mexico during our honeymoon.

While in New York we managed to fit in a visit to the Statue of Liberty, a fast-tracked trip up the Empire State Building and a bus tour of the island – all the proper touristy stuff.

We had just three days to try to fit it all in and I hope that one day we’ll be able to go back as New York has so much more to offer travellers.

Timehop moment

Before we set off for our honeymoon we knew we wanted to see a show on Broadway and booked tickets for The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre.

We glammed up a bit and stopped for cocktails on the way to the show. The performance was amazing and inspired us to go an see another musical on our first anniversary.

After the Phantom we walked back to Time Square, which is everything like what you see in the movies – with the exception of King Kong and high speed car chases!

Getting a quick snapshot before we were whisked away by the crowd seemed like the touristy thing to do.

Travel Timehop #16 – Lake District 2013 – published 23 April 2015

Welcome to another Travel Timehop Thursday. This week I’m sharing a holiday snap from our first year as parents. This picture was screaming out to be ‘time-hopped’ – check out that cheeky face!

When are we timekeeping to?

It was August 2013 and we were on our first family summer holiday.

We’d already been to Dawlish in Devon and were now stopped half way up the country on our way to Scotland for a wedding.

It was a bit of an epic road trip with a six-month-old but we survived!

Where in the world

Our half way stop off was at Keswick in the north of the Lake District.

We parked Tin Box at the Caravan Club site on Derwentwater and spent a few days exploring the area. This included a stomp up Cat Bells, which was a relatively easy and short climb compared to some that Mr Tin Box has taken me on over the years.

Timehop moment

This was Tin Box Tot’s first experience of one of her daddy’s up hill expeditions.

We had recently bought her a new baby carrier from which she enjoyed views of the lake and surrounding peaks, as well as the odd nap while we did the leg work.

When we reached the top of Cat Bells we unpacked Tot and our lunch. There was also a lovely lady selling slices of delicious cake to raise funds for Help for Heroes – it would have been rude to say no.

I love Tot’s cheeky face in this photo. I can’t believe how much personality she had at just six months old. What a cutie.

You can read more about our time in the Lake District by popping back to my 2013 blog post.

Travel Timehop #17: West Sussex 2013 – published 30 April 2015

It must be something to do with my hormones, but after sharing one cute Travel Timehop from our first year as parents I couldn’t resist another one.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was Easter 2013 and just six weeks after Tin Box Tot was born. The weather was freezing – we even had snow in April – but we were all snug and warm inside our caravan.

Where in the world

We had taken Tin Box to the Slinfold Caravan Club site in Horsham, East Sussex, from where we were visiting friends. We also took a few long walks across the South Downs with Tin Box Dog and visited Petworth House – a beautiful National Trust property.

Timehop moment

It was Tin Box Tot’s first ever trip away in the caravan and we are so pleased with how she adapted to our Tin Box world.

In fact, it turned out to be so much easier to look after a small person in a 7m box than at home. Clean clothes, nappies and muslins were all in arms reach. Tot even had her longest sleep to date – seven blissful overnight hours!

On a few of the days the weather was pretty rubbish so we just chilled out in the caravan. This is when Mr Tin Box asked TBT for a hand with the Times Crossword.

I’m pretty sure she was more interested in the black and white shapes on the page than the answer to five down!

This was the start of a great relationship between TBT and the caravanning world. We can’t wait to introduce Tin Box Baby 2 to it as well.

Travel Timehop #18: The Peak District 2012 – published 7 May 2015

You can’t help but notice that we love holidaying in the UK. It’s not because either of us has a fear of flying or we don’t get on with foreign food – quite the opposite in fact.

But when you can experience beautiful scenery like this within a few hours of home why not take advantage of it?

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2012, when the country was swept up in the excitement of the London Olympics and I was cradling a tiny bump that was to become Tin Box Tot.

Where in there world

We were spending five nights in the Peak District in Derbyshire on our way up north for a wedding. 

This was in the days before Tin Box so our accommodation was a sweet little holiday cottage near Whatstandwell.

It was a modern barn conversion with a tiny kitchen/sitting/dining room and a narrow staircase leading to the bedroom upstairs. As there was just myself, Mr Tin Box and Tin Box Dog we didn’t need anything more.

The weather was a bit changeable during our stay but we managed to get out for a few walks and to visit the beautiful Peak District towns of Bakewell and Matlock.

Our stay coincided with the Bakewell Show, which is a great family day out with plenty of local arts, crafts and produce as well as agricultural exhibitions and competitions. We lunched on some amazing local sausages and TBD came away with a bag of yummy homemade salmon treats.

The Heights of Abraham was just down the road as well but we didn’t manage to fit in a visit. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to go to with the kids next time we’re in the area. There’s a cable car, cavern tours and some great looking adventure playgrounds.

Timehop moment

I love this picture of Mr TB and TBD.

We had decided to take a walk across country from our cottage. TBD was in her element, finding lots of interesting sniffs and enjoying some ‘off the lead’ time. She was about 15-months-old, so still full of endless puppy power.

We were keen to wear this down as much as we could as it was the first time we’d stayed in a holiday cottage with her. She was mostly out of her chewing phase but we didn’t want to risk a relapse!

Mr TB jumped up on one of the harvested bales and an intrigued TBD followed him up.

I kept my feet firmly on the ground and did the camera work, thankful for a quick breather.

At three months pregnant with my first I was probably being a bit more protective than I needed to be but I’m clumsy and would have ended up in a heap on the floor.

Travel Timehop #19: Las Vegas 2008 – published 14 May 2015

Welcome to another Travel Timehop when I dust off our holiday photo albums and fish out a snap from the past decade of Tin Box adventures.

This week my travel memory comes from a pre-caravan tour across the pond and a moment that Mr Tin Box likes to recount again and again.

Tin Box Traveller at the Bellagio fountains

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2008 and we were on the first leg of our honeymoon in the US.

Where in there world

There’s far too many sparkly lights in this grainy image for it to be anywhere other than Las Vegas.

I’m enjoying a cocktail at the Bellagio where we stayed for three nights. In the background are the world famous Bellagio fountains and beyond that the Paris Las Vegas hotel with its scale reproduction of the Eiffel Tower. More on that in a moment.

Vegas wasn’t top of our travel bucket list when we booked our honeymoon. In fact, it didn’t feature at all.

The only reason we went was because it was part of a ‘three centres’ package that included Mexico and New York, which were the main attractions for us.

However, I fell a tiny bit in love with the flashy, plastic fakery of Sin City.

We spent our stay eating amazing food and walking (and sweating) it off exploring The Strip. The dry heat was unbelievable – no wonder people spend so much time inside the air-conditioned casinos!

In our short stay we managed to cram in a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon, Madame Tussauds at the Venetian, the Lions at the MGM, Fremont Street and a trip to an out of town shopping outlet for sunglasses (I think Mr TB has a little obsession with new specs), as well as quite a few honeymoon cocktails.

Timehop moment

After a busy few days during which we were still struggling with jet lag we decided to spend our last Vegas night in the cocktail bar overlooking the Bellagio fountains.

It’s an amazing free water show choreographed to music that draws hundreds of people to line the sidewalk outside the hotel every evening.

We got to the bar early to secure front row seats. We ordered our drinks and the tables filled up around us.

As the fountains burst into life I couldn’t help thinking this was one of those surreal moments that I would always remember: the retina burning lights; the jets of water being sent hundreds of feet into the air in perfect time to Broadway hits; and just knowing that we were in Vegas.

That was when we heard the couple next to us thinking the same thing out loud. Wonderful…then one of them added: “Look at the Eiffel Tower. It’s great. I mean, why would you go to Europe when you can see it all right here in Vegas?”.

What?! I had to hold Mr TB back from replying with something very rude.

It’s a funny moment that he still likes to recall in his most British of accents, “You would not believe what they said…!”.

Travel Timehop #20: Prague 2009 – published 21 May 2015

Every week I share a memory from our holiday photo album – little snippets of travel fun from the past decade.

Today’s offering is probably the least scenic shot I have written about so far, as well as being the most out of focus. However, bear with me; there’s a good story behind it and some valuable travel tips to boot.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was 2009 and Mr Tin Box was on a four month deployment with the Royal Navy. Was I sitting at home pining? Hell no! I was on a pre-children, girly holiday with two lovely mates.

Where in the world? 

We were in Prague for a long weekend. One of my friends lives there and it was the perfect excuse for a visit to this beautiful city.

Timehop moment

This blurry image of me on the Prague Metro was taken after an unplanned shopping trip to replace the contents of my hold-all, which got left behind at Luton Airport. I’m clutching several shopping bags with all the essentials needed for a girly weekend of sightseeing and bar hopping.

It was the first and only time (so far) that my bag has gone missing on a flight and when this picture was taken I had no idea whether or not I’d ever get it back.

Our first few hours in Prague was interspersed with calls to our airline, Sky Europe, and making lists of everything I had packed. As a contact lense wearer I also had to find a chemist to buy a bottle of solution and a lense pot.

By our second day I had lost all hope of my bag catching us up so decided to hit the shops. Sky Europe had promised to reimburse me for any necessary purchases and about £150 later I had a few new tops, some pyjamas and toiletries to see me through.

Prague was fantastic. We saw the changing of the guard at Prague Castle, the ‘Fred and Ginger’ dancing house, Charles Bridge with its street artists and elaborate decorations, and the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square. Getting around the city was so easy by tram or the Metro.

In the evenings we hung out at bars until the very small hours. I don’t remember many of them. This was a girls holiday after all!

My bag never did make it to Prague and when we returned we found it in lost luggage at Luton Airport. It never left the country because the airline label had fallen off. I got a bit of a telling off from the lost luggage handler as I also didn’t put a personal name tag on my bag.

Lesson one: always label your hold luggage.

Once home I filled out the paperwork to claim back my expenses from Sky Europe and sent off my receipts.

Then, nothing. A few weeks later I heard that the airline had gone bust – a lot did in 2009. Even though I had made all my purchases on my credit card my bank was unable to refund me without seeing the receipts, which I couldn’t get back from the defunct airline.

Lesson 2: if you have to make a claim for lost luggage expenses do it through your credit card company and let them chase the airline.

So, not only was Prague a great holiday, it was also a valuable learning experience for this traveller.

Travel Timehop #21: Scarfell Pike 2010 – published 28 May 2015

Every week I share a memory from our travels during the past decade. We’ve camped, stayed in luxury hotels and holiday cottages. There have been trips around Europe, to the US and Central America, plus many highs and a few minor hiccoughs.

This week is a timehop including a minor hiccough: the time I picked up food poising but only realised it half way up a mountain.

Tin Box Traveller and Mr Tin Box stood at the bottom of a mountain

When are we time-hopping to?

It was Easter 2010 and we had decided to book a last minute break.

This was often the way for Mr Tin Box and I before children – we weren’t very organised and had the freedom to do things on the spur of the moment. Those were the days!

Where in the world? 

After climbing Snowdon in 2009 we thought we’d have a go at Scarfell Pike in the Lake District. We booked a holiday cottage in Newland, near Ulverston in the south of Cumbria, and planned to explore the area over seven days.

Our holiday cottage was cute, with Toby mugs and other collectables scattered around the place.

We also had all the mod cons we needed for our walking holiday including a washing machine to take care of our grubby clothes when we finished our adventures each day. Unfortunately there were less adventures than we had hoped…

Timehop moment

On day two of our stay the weather forecast was ideal for a trek up Scarfell Pike. We had heard that the top was snowy so had plenty of layers, food and other emergency supplies to keep us going.

On the drive to Wasdale where we began our ascent I started to feel a bit weird. I put it down to the early morning – Mr TB always insists we get up before dawn when we are on this type of expedition.

By breakfast time we were parked up at the Wasdale Head Inn at the bottom of Scarfell Pike. I continued to ignore the grumbles coming from my stomach as we began our six mile climb.

The views on the way up were epic, but I don’t think I really appreciated them at the time. The top couldn’t come quick enough as I started to feel more and more uncomfortable.

When we reached the summit it was covered in snow and the wind was cutting through us like a knife. We sheltered behind the cairn while we ate a very quick sandwich (Mr TB could see I was looking a bit green) and then turned around for the return trip.

Back at Wasdale some other walkers offered to take today’s Travel Timehop photo. You can see a snow cover Scarfell Pike behind us and there’s a smile on my face that you might mistake for elation at conquering England’s highest peak.

It was in fact relief that I had been able to control my nausea for the five hour expedition and a toilet was now in sight at the Wasdale Head.

I spent the next three days curled up on the sofa at our holiday cottage watching films, drinking Lucozade and not venturing far form the loo. I’ll spare you the details.

I reckon I picked something up from a dirty surface at the cottage when we first arrived. I can’t really blame the owners. I just have a very sensitive stomach.

However, we now never travel without antibacterial wipes!

Travel Timehop #22: Barcelona 2006 – published 4 June 2015

When you visit a world renowned tourist attraction – maybe even a wonder of our world – you feel you should pay it some respect and soak up everything there is to know about it. 

However, it is also possible to overload yourself with information and forget that travelling is actually about enjoying the moment. This week’s Travel Timehop reminds me of that.

Tin Box Traveller on the roof terrace of the Gaudi House in Barcelona

When are we time-hopping to?

It was 2006 BC (before children) and we were at the southerly most stop on an epic European camping trip. We’d already stopped off in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France.

We had about a month to complete our summer adventure before returning to the UK for Mr Tin Box to join the Royal Navy. It was something we were unlikely to be able to repeat for some time and we wanted to make the most of it.

Where in the world?

The stop offs during our European tour were pretty much left to luck. We knew roughly where we wanted to go and found campsites to suit us along the way.

However, we always knew we wanted to go as far south as Barcelona in Spain as we had friends living there.

Our plan was to give our canvas abode a break for a few nights while we stayed with them in their city centre apartment.

When we got there we found they had a tiny bedsit and our bed was under a sun canopy on the roof terrace. We were camping again!

Luckily there was only a slight shower one night so we didn’t get too damp.

Travel timehop moment

We visited a lot of Barcelona in the few days we were there, mainly on foot and using the excellent public transport system. 

Las Ramblas, which runs through the heart of the city, was within walking distance from the apartment and the famous Barceloneta Beach and Port Olimpic were just a few stops away on the Metro.

But as a former art student I wanted to see some of Gaudi’s modernist influence on the city: Casa Batllo or the Gaudi House with no straight lines; Sagrada Familia, the church that the artist started building and that is still under construction; and Parque Guell, a public park that is now a UNESO World Heritage Site.

This week’s timehop photo was taken on the roof of Casa Batllo.

I’m trying to look interested in the detailed audio commentary on Gaudi’s motivation for his architectural design but realising that I was actually much more interested in the house on a more basic level.

It was just a pretty building (sorry Gaudi fans!) and listening to an essay about it didn’t actually help me enjoy it any more. In fact it distracted me a bit from the art around me. 

I would highly recommend a visit to this and the other Gaudi works in Barcelona – they are beautiful. Just skip the audio tours!

NB. we did visit nine years ago so the audio tour may have changed a lot since we were there.

Travel Timehop #23: Hampshire 2014 – published 11 June 2015

Welcome to my weekly Travel Timehop where I select a picture from our holiday photo album that reminds me of good times. This one is a special family memory.

The Tin Box family at Bishops Waltham Palace

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2014.

Where in the world?

We were on a weekend away just outside Bishop’s Waltham in the Meon Valley. The town dates back to Anglo Saxon times and comes complete with its own Palace ruins where this picture was taken.

Travel timehop moment

The Palace was the residence of the Bishops of Winchester from the 12th to the 17th Century but went into ruin after the Civil War.

It is now an English Heritage site and is extremely picturesque. We had a lovely stroll through the grounds and what remains of the Palace walls.

Anyway, I’m sharing this moment again because it comes from the week we found out we were expecting Tin Box Baby. I was already feeling tired and had been snatching cheeky naps when I could.

I asked Mr Tin Box to take some photos of me and my girls at the Palace because I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer before there was another little person to fit into this type of snap.

At the time we didn’t know it would be another girl. Poor out-numbered Mr TB!

Travel Timehop #24: Isle of Wight, 2011 – published 18 June 2015

My Travel Timehop is all about sharing memories from our travels during the past decade. Some include our growing family and many are from before we became parents.

This week’s snapshot is from our pre-kid adventures when we indulged in grown-up activities like, err…climbing trees.

When are we timehopping to?

It was 2011 and Mr Tin Box had just come back from a six month deployment with the Royal Navy. To celebrate we had treated ourselves to a week away with a festival finale.

Where in the world?

We were on the Isle of Wight. Our base for the week was a holiday cottage in Cowes from where we visited Osborne HouseCarisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth.

At the end of the week we went to the Isle of Wight festival. It was great to be able to enjoy bands like the Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers and the Kaiser Chiefs during the day and then head back to a real bed and shower at night. Some might call that cheating, but I like to think of it as a form of glamping.

Timehop moment

Mr TB is into all sorts of sports. In fact he enjoys anything that challenges him physically – the more painful or exhilarating the better. I’m a lot less adventurous but can be persuaded to try most things once…even swinging from the tree tops.

Mr TB had heard that you could do tree climbing on the island and inevitably wanted to give it a go. This picture was taken at the bottom of a 70ft oak tree before we began to scale it with the help of a system of ropes.

It was a fantastic experience. The instructor showed us how to use the ropes to push ourselves up into the branches and then higher into the canopy where we relaxed in hammocks.

The views from the top were great. We could see the Solent and Hampshire coastline as well as across the island itself.

My legs ached for the next few days but I’d defiantly do it again. 

Travel Timehop #25: Somerset, 2014 – published 25 June 2015

Holidays to remember aren’t always about the destination. They don’t even have to be about relaxation. Sometimes they are non-stop and a little bit crazy.

This week’s Travel Timehop comes from one of our caravan adventures when we quite often get up to strange things in a field.

Tin Box Traveller and Tot dressed in Victorian outfits

When are we time-hopping to?

It’s a short hop back to the August bank holiday weekend last year when Tin Box Tot was 18 months old and I was pregnant with Tin Box Baby but didn’t know it.

Where in the world?

We were away in our caravan and staying on a large caravan rally near Frome, Somerset. The Wessex, as it is called, is organised by Caravan Club centres in the south west of England and takes place every other year.

There are sports and craft competitions, as well as amateur dramatics and a carnival procession. Each event has points on offer for the winners and runners up, with trophies for the overall winners to take home.

As you can imagine, some people take it very seriously.

Timehop moment

We were involved in sports, handicraft and cake baking competitions during the long weekend. One of the last events was the carnival or ‘walking tableaux’.

Our Centre’s theme was Around the World in 80 Days.

I don’t remember Phileas Fogg having a wife in the children’s animation (Around the World with Willy Fog) that I watched as a kid, but that was the role I played and TBT was our baby.

We waved off old Phileas and welcomed him home after his travels. Other rallies played the local inhabitants that Fogg came across on his travels. There were surfers to represent Hawaii, a mime artist for France and cow boys in America.

I love the bemused look on the Tot’s face. It was all a bit surreal but good fun.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done on holiday?

Travel Timehop #25 – Arundel, 2008 – published 2 July 2015

I’ve always loved visiting stately homes and castles. As a kid I would daydream about what it would be like to live in one hundreds of years ago.

From this I developed an interest in history and particularly the Tudor era – who isn’t interested in that medieval soup opera?!

This week’s Travel Timehop comes from a visit to a beautiful castle in the UK which has seen it’s fair share of historic drama.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was the autumn of 2008 and a few months after Mr Tin Box and I tied the knot. Despite having three weeks off for our wedding and honeymoon we some how managed to blag another week in October.

Who knows where my holiday allowance came from back then?

Where in the world?

We were on a day trip to Arundel Castle in West Sussex. It was built in the 11th Century and has been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for 850 years.

In the 15th Century it was the home of the Howard family who did their fair share of dabbling in state affairs in Tudor times. I had caught part of The Other Boleyn Girl on the flight home from our honeymoon so was on the look out for any mentions of Henry VIII and his many wives in the castle’s collections.

The interior of the castle has everything you would expect, from an armoury to state bedrooms and an amazing library. There’s tapestries, finely crafted period furniture and artworks by masters such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. There were plenty of Tudor portraits to keep me happy.

If your legs don’t go too wobbly with heights, a climb up into the Norman keep is also well worth it for the stunning views across the countryside and out towards the sea.

I am not good with heights and found the steep steps on the outside of the keep a little challenging, especially as it seemed to be the busiest part of the castle during our visit.

Timehop moment

Another part of the castle I can highly recommend looking around are the gardens. This week’s Travel Timehop snap is me peeping out from behind some rather ominous looking chaps that were installed in the castle grounds.

I can’t recall if they were a permanent feature or just visiting art. Anyway, it made for a fun picture.

However, a permanent feature that you must see if you go to Arundel Castle is the Earl’s Garden. This walled garden is full of wooden sculptures, water features and pagodas.

The star of the show is Oberon’s Palace – a glimmering water cave with a crown ‘floating’ on a fountain of water at its centre. It is just beautiful.

Have you been to Arundel Castle? Are my friends still there?

Travel Timehop #26: East Sussex, 2012 – published 19 July 2015

We’re now more than half way through my year of Travel Timehop posts and I have to admit that as each week begins I wonder what trip I am going to write about next. But a quick flick through our photos from the past decade always brings the memories flooding back.

This week’s timehop is from our first dog-friendly holiday.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was January 2012 and we had decided to book a last minute New Year get away. This was in the days before our caravan so we needed to find somewhere suitable for Tin Box Dog.

Where in the world?

We found a dog-friendly cottage on a farm in Battle, East Sussex. I remember being a little bit nervous about taking TBD somewhere she could chew up furniture that wasn’t ours – she was only eight-months-old and still had little ‘mishaps’ from time to time.

The cottage was a beautifully converted farm building. At one end there was a luxurious bathroom and at the other was a small double bedroom.

In between was a spacious open plan kitchen/diner and lounge with a wood burner. The owners had left a range of interior design magazines on the sideboard and it was clear they had used them for inspiration. 

Luckily TBD was on her best behaviour. Probably because she was so knackered from all the walking.

A part from the first day when it hammered down with rain, we were really lucky with the weather and managed a few walks from the cottage.

Battle is the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Unfortunately Battle Abbey was closed while we were there but I’ve heard it is worth a visit.

You can tour the abbey, see historical reenactments and visit the museum to find out all about King Harold and William the Conqueror.

Timehop moment

One day we decided to drive out towards Hastings for a walk and parked up in Hastings Country Park  to the east of the town. 

I took this photo as we were walking down into Hastings. I remember thinking that welcoming TBD into our home had made us a family (dog people will know what I mean).

It was just over a year later that we grew our family a little bit more and welcomed the first of our non-furry babies into our home. 

Travel Timehop #27 – Cancun, 2008 – published 16 July 2015

Each week I share a special memory from our travels during the past decade. My Travel Timehops have taken me back to dozens of moments to remember including the sights of Paris, cocktails in Las Vegas and shopping to replace lost luggage in Prague.

This week I’m writing about one of the many scrummy meals we enjoyed during our honeymoon.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2008 and we were celebrating just getting married with a two-week honeymoon.

Where in the world?

We were staying at the Secrets Capri in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. It’s tucked away to the south of the manmade party peninsula of Cancun.

Timehop moment

I love asian food – I think it’s something to do with living in Hong Kong as a toddler, although I’m sure my mum would say I just ate chips while we were there.

Anyway, the Secrets Capri has a Pan-Asian restaurant, Himitsu, that we were keen to try out. Once during your stay you could arrange to have your meal cooked in front of you by a machete-wielding chef. 

Six of us sat around a red hot plate while the most amazing smelling ingredients were chopped together to create melt-in-your-mouth dishes. We ate with chopsticks, which I am terrible at (more proof that I just ate chips in Hong Kong) but I persevered and cleared my plate because it was so delicious.

An amusing detail about this timehop moment is that if you look at the shelf to the left of Mr Tin Box you will see an open camera case. That’s ours. It’s still in Cancun because we forgot to pick it up after our meal.

Luckily our spare memory card with more photos from our honeymoon was in a suitcase. Phew!

Travel Timehop #28: Clarence House, London 2009 – 20 August 2015

Welcome back to my travel time hop series – a (sort of) weekly look back at places we visited both before and after I started blogging. It’s a fantastic way for me to capture memories of our travels and special moments we’ve shared together.

Travel Timehop took a few weeks off while we made some more memories but now it’s back with a right royal snap. Spot the heir to the throne!

When are we time-hopping to?

I can’t remember the exact month, but it was 2009 and a few months after Mr Tin Box had returned from a deployment in Afghanistan.

Where in the world?

We had been invited to Clarence House in London – only the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall – for the presentation of his squadron’s operational service medals. It was an amazing day full of much pride, tiny canapés and audiences with royalty.

In Tin Box tradition, I stayed at the Caravan Club’s Crystal Palace site with Mr TB’s parents the night before so that we could make a proper day of our visit to the capital.

Timehop moment

After the formal medal presentations the guests were asked to stand in small groups while the Duke and Duchess met some of the squadron’s personnel and their families. No one knew which groups would be selected. 

Mr TB was in charge of introducing everyone in our circle and had been quietly dreading a tap on his shoulder by a royal minder to say one of our hosts was approaching. He’d written down the names of everyone in our group on the inside of his hat and hoped not to have to use them.

Then there was a tap! Camilla was on her way. 

Mr TB was amazing, and while he may have taken a peek in his hat once or twice, he did much better than I would have done in the same situation. I’d forget my own name under pressure!

The Duchess was a delight. She asked us where we’d come from and it was let slip that we’d stayed in a caravan the night before. She didn’t bat an eye lid.

My timehop picture was taken by Mr TB’s mum after we’d said goodbye to Camilla. If you get out your magnifying glass you can see Prince Charles among the heads in the bottom left.

#29 Baby’s first trip – published 27 August 2015

You’ll have to forgive me for focusing this Travel Timehop on more of a mummy moment than the destination. There were never any hard rules for this weekly feature anyway…so there!

When are we time hopping to?

It was May this year and Tin Box Baby’s very first trip out in the caravan at just 14 days old.

Where in the world

We were staying in a caravan rally field not far from Bishops Waltham in Hampshire. Strangely enough it was the same place we stayed on the weekend we found out I was expecting TBB eight months earlier.

Timehop moment

The initial haze of child birth was just about melting away and I was able to appreciate a few quiet moments like this when TBB was sleeping peacefully on our Tin Box bed.

Some people might think us mad for going on a trip so soon after she had arrived but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being away from home and the chores that you feel you have to do (even though everyone tells you not to) was a relief.

On a less blissful note, I was also in the middle of a mega feeding mission as TBB hadn’t regained her birth weight. The midwife recommended cycle of feeding, offering a bottle of expressed milk, expressing again and then starting over was exhausting.

We were away with both sets of grandparents. So there were plenty of people to play with Tin Box Tot and I was able get on with what I had to do toddler free, yet with lots of people to chat to when I needed a baby break as well.

When would you travel with a newborn? Have you? I’d love to hear your experiences.

#30 London 2002 – published 3 September 2015

Prepare yourselves! This Travel Timehop is a super-oldie and goes right back to the start of our digital photo library. Everything before this was processed film and is crammed in a box up our loft. 

Each week I write about a moment from our travels before or after we got Tin Box. It’s a fun way to record memories and share our wider travel experiences.

When are we time hopping to?

It was 2002 and I had just begun my career as a journalist with The News in Portsmouth.

One of the perks of the job (actually, the only perk) was that if you had worked on a particularly good story you were awarded the title of Reporter of the Month. Your prize was to pick one of the press trips the paper had been invited on and write a review about it.

There were some amazing free trips on offer: all inclusive holidays in the Caribbean, wine tasting in France and luxurious stays in Scottish castles. Funnily enough, on the two occasions I got Reporter of the Month these premium trips had already been taken.

Where in the world

I shouldn’t really complain too much as my first press trip was a stay in The Petersham Hotel in Richmond. This beautiful four-star hotel overlooks the Surrey countryside and is just eight miles from central London.

We had a room with a river view and were treated like royalty. Included in our two night stay was breakfast, a three course À la carte meal and all our drinks.

Had we realised the last part we might have sunk a few more in the hotel bar rather than popping to the closest pub! Rookie mistake.

As we were so close to London we decided to spend a day in the city and hoped on the train from Richmond into Waterloo.

Timehop moment

This was mine and Mr Tin Box’s first trip to London together. We decided to make the most of it by seeing some of the main sights: the London Eye, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

I remember it being a bit of a route march as there was a lot of ground to cover in one day. Mr TB was good at stomping around even before he joined the Royal Navy!

This Timehop photo is a proper tourist shot of me outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Check out that white coat. I wouldn’t get away with that now with two kids!

#31 Travel Timehop: the North Sea on the way to Sweden – published 10 September 2015

It’s fair to say we don’t do a lot of air travel. In recent years I’ve been more used to hopping on a plane for work reasons rather than for pleasure. However in this week’s Travel Timehop we did have cause to fly and with Tin Box Tot.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was just over a year ago, when Tin Box Tot was 18-months-old. Looking at this picture it seems a life time ago because she’s grown up so much since then.

Where in the world

At the time I took this in-flight picture we were somewhere over the North Sea, but our destination was Sweden for a wedding. It was Tin Box Tot’s first trip abroad and her first flight.

Timehop moment

This photo reminds me of the massive work up towards flying with a toddler for the first time. I read a lot of other family travel blogs for tips, and scoured the shops for lightweight toys and non-messy snacks. Our hand luggage could have been mistaken for a toddler entertainment centre.

Our flight was at about 6.30am so we had stayed at an airport hotel and got up at 4am.

Tin Box Tot was a gem right up until she was overwhelmed with tiredness half way through our short air journey. She’s never been good at sleeping while something interesting is happening. She did eventually settle down and fell asleep 10 minutes before landing.

Read more about our first flight with a toddler.

Welcome to my Travel Timehop where I share snapshots from our adventures during the past decade. I’m not sure how it’s happened but it’s the last month of 2015 and the final few weeks of this feature.

It’s been a blast recalling memories from trips we took before and after I started writing this blog. By recording each moment and the places we’ve visited I’ve been able to preserve them for a time when my memory isn’t quite as sharp.

This week’s timehop photo of a very young looking Mr Tin Box comes from a trip I’ve talked about before – our European camping road trip.

Travel Timehop #32: Liberty Island, 2008 – published 17 September 2015

Welcome to my weekly Travel Timehop where I share moments from our travels during the past decade. Some posts have included our new family and others have come from before we were parents. This week I’m sharing an unmistakable landmark that we visited just after getting married.

The statue of liberty

When are we time-hopping to?

It was the summer of 2008 and we were on the final stage of our honeymoon.

Where in the world?

Er, no prizes for this one. We were on Liberty Island in New York.

Timehop moment

We had just three nights in New York, so no time at all to see everything that this city (in fact, any city) has to offer. Mr Tin Box had visited a few years before while serving onboard a Royal Navy aircraft carrier so acted as tour guide during our short stay.

Our aim was to see the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Empire State Building and take a city bus tour in a day as we also had family to see in the area another day.

On our first morning we were up early to avoid the crowds, with Liberty Island as our first stop. We boarded the ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and arrived at the Statue of Liberty by mid-morning, just when things were starting to get busy.

Mr TB regaled me with stories of how he’d last been there in uniform and was able to climb part of the way up the statue. A lot had changed in couple of years and we were unable to climb the statue at all. You can now reserve tickets to climb all the way to the top.

We lingered long enough to have a photo taken in front of the statue and then took the ferry to Ellis Island where we visited the Immigration Museum. The museum is the old immigration centre where 12 million people passed through between 1892 and 1954.

It is a grand building but also has the feel of a Victorian railway station. I expect it was still a welcome sight to the people who had been traveling for weeks or months to get there.

The mind-boggling number the people who arrived in the United States and saw the Statue of Liberty as their first American landmark is humbling, especially today. Each family, each person had their own story and wanted to make a future for themselves.

Have you visited Liberty Island and Ellis Island?

Travel Timehop #33: Ipswich, 2015 – published 24 September 2015

Welcome to my weekly Travel Timehop where I look back on special memories from our travels during the past decade. This week’s throwback photo is quite a recent one and captures a moment that Tin Box Tot in particular talks about a lot.

Tin Box Tot bouncing on a large inflatable pillow

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August this year and we were on our main summer holiday.

Where in the world?

We were staying in our caravan on a touring site in Essex and had made a day trip to Jimmy’s Farm in Ipswich.

Timehop moment

I don’t think a day goes past when Tin Box Tot doesn’t talk to us about her visit to the farm and bouncing on the giant inflatable pillow there.

Jimmy’s Farm has a great play area but it was the pillow that kept TBT amused the longest. I think she’d have stayed on it all day if we’d let her.

She has a massive smile in all the photos we took. Even when the bigger children bounced close her making her wobble over she picked herself up and started jumping again. I love her resilience.

Read more about our trip to Jimmy’s Farm.

Travel Timehop #34: Longdown Activity Farm, 2014 – published 1 October 2015

Welcome to my weekly Travel Timehop series where I share snapshots of our adventures during the past decade. This week’s moment made quite an impression on Tin Box Tot, but then again, what toddler doesn’t love tractors?

When are we time-hopping to?

It was July 2014 and we were on a day out with Tin Box Tot’s nursery.

Where in the world?

Our visit was to Longdown Activity Farm near Ashurst on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire.

Timehop moment

Tin Box Tot was 17-months-old and this was probably the first real day out that we did for her benefit rather than ours. Up until this point we had gone on walks and visited places we had wanted to go as adults. Tin Box Tot had tagged along and wasn’t too fussed about what we got up to.

I didn’t expect to enjoy the farm as much as I did. It was the first time that we were able to relive a bit of our own childhoods through TBT: petting lambs, feeding pigs and riding on tractors. You don’t usually get away with doing that kind of thing unless you have a small child attached to you, do you?

TBT particularly loved the ride on tractors. After this she talked about tractors so much that she got one for her second birthday.

Read more about our visit to Longdown Activity Farm.

Travel Timehop #35: West Sussex, 2013 – published 8 October 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop series where I share some of my favourite snaps and travel memories from the past decade. This week features our bubbly pup, Tin Box Dog, in a rare moment of stillness.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was May 2013 and we were enjoying a warm weekend in our caravan. Tin Box Tot was three months old so there was lots of feeding, nappy changing and naps going on but it was lovely to get away for a long weekend.

Where in the world?

Our campsite was the field next to a nursery in East Ashling, West Sussex. It wasn’t far from some really pretty villages like Bosham and Chidham, and the beautiful cathedral city of Chichester.

Timehop moment

We had taken a walk out from the caravan to where Mr Tin Box had found some bluebell woods. There’s something so magical about this spring time phenomenon and we thought it might make for some good photos.

I took a few snaps of Mr TB, the Tot and Tin Box Dog, but this is the one that made it onto to our living room wall.

The quality of the photo and the lighting may not be the best, but I love this picture because of the colours and the fact TBD’s cheeky character shines through. It’s very rare for her to sit still long enough for me to capture this kind of moment.

Travel Timehop #36: San Carlos, 2011 – published 15 October 2015

Welcome to another Travel Timehop where I share moments from our travels during the past decade.  It’s a chance for me to write down some memories from before Tin Box Traveller came into being, as well as moments since then.

This week I’m sharing a very relaxed snap (check out the daylight wine) during a holiday Mr Tin Box and I took when we were ‘just us’.

Tin Box Traveller relaxing on a sun lounger

When are we time hopping to?

It was May 2011 and we had booked a week away to celebrate Mr Tin Box finishing a six month deployment with the Royal Navy.

I am much happier than the expression on my face suggests. I think Mr TB had just said something rude to get my attention.

Where in the world?

Our holiday criteria were: somewhere hot; somewhere quiet; and somewhere with a pool. Ibiza was the obvious choice! Yes, Ibiza isn’t all about partying, although we did a tiny bit by visiting Cafe Del Mar.

Travelling just ahead of the summer season meant we got a good deal on our flights and we were able to bag a bargain three bedroom villa with a pool in the sleepy town of San Carlos, which is in the north of the White Isle.

San Carlos is one of the more bohemian parts of the island that originally made Ibiza such a popular destination. It was a bit of a hippy village in the 60s and 70s. While there’s still a hint of peace and love in the air we liked it because it felt a lot less commercial than San Antonio. 

Just down the road there’s Las Dalias – a hippy market that is very much alive and kicking with tie dye, dream catchers and candles. I thought it was great fun but it really wasn’t Mr Tin Box’s cup of herbal tea.

We also visited the Cova de Can Marca (we always seem to visit caves) and the Ibiza old town, Elissa.

Timehop moment

Aside from a bit of light sightseeing some of the happiest moments for me were sat by the pool reading a magazine or book with a cheeky glass of wine.

We could chat, be silent, have a dip in the slightly chilly water (it was only May after all) and generally enjoy each other’s company after six long months a part.

Two kids later and those days seem a long time ago. However, just writing this timehop has made me want to return with our two little travellers. I have a feeling the chilled out side of Ibiza would suit families well.

Travel Timehop #37: Barcelona, 2006 – 22 October 2015

Welcome to another week in my Travel Timehop series where I look back at a moment from our travels in the past decade. Many of the memories I’m sharing are from well before Tin Box Traveller existed so this is a great opportunity to write them down so they’re not forgotten.

This week’s timehop moment comes from a trip that I have blogged about before but there were far too many snapshots not to share something from this amazing city again.

When are we time hopping to?

It was August 2006 and we were more than half way through a camping trip around Western Europe. We had already been to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France.

Where in the world?

We were at the most Southerly stop on our trip – Barcelona in Spain. It was the only planned destination during our month-long road trip as we had friends living there during a gap year from university.

Timehop moment

We had about fours days to explore Barcelona as well as catch up with our friends. One evening we headed out by ourselves to see one of the top attractions of the city – the Magic Fountain at the National Palace.

Millions of people visit this free water and light show every year. Jets of water dance  around to classical and modern music with the beautiful palace as the backdrop.

We got to the fountain early because we had been told it gets very busy during the summer season. Unfortunately it wasn’t dark enough for us to get the full effect but it was fun to be part of the hustle and bustle of this wonderful city.

Have you been to Barcelona? What was your favourite sight?

Travel Timehop #38: Bath, Somerset 2010 – published 29 October 2015

Welcome to the latest edition of my Travel Timehop series. Each week during 2015 I am flicking through the pages of the Tin Box photo albums and picking out a memory from our travels.

This week’s timehop was prompted by Holly at Four Around the World who recently wrote about her own visit to this city. I’ve never been to the Roman Baths – mad considering I have family living close by – but I really enjoyed her review.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2010 and we were celebrating our second wedding anniversary with a trip to the West Country.

Where in the world?

We were staying in Bristol and had hopped on a train to Bath in Somerset for a day out.

Bath was built on natural hot springs and has been a popular spa destination since Roman times. In 1987 it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to some of the best preserved Roman remains in the world and some stunning 18th Century architecture.

I’ve visited Bath since I was a kid thanks to my family connections there. However, I can remember going to a lot of playgrounds and running around in my cousins’ garden more than seeing the sights.

Returning to the area as an adult gave us the perfect opportunity to explore what the city had to offer.

Timehop moment

A few days before our visit we tried to book into the Thermae Bath Spa, which is the city’s modern day spa with a roof top thermal pool. Sadly every available slot had already been taken. (Top tip: book early if you want to indulge yourself).

Undeterred we decided to walk around the city and see some of the other sights.

We took a stroll around the iconic Royal Crescent, passed the world famous Sally Lunn’s where we dribbled at the cake through the window, and walked over the Pulteney Bridge, which is one of a handful of historic bridges to have shops built into it. 

We also took a tour of Bath Abbey, which stands on the site where the first king of all England, King Edgar, was crowned in 973 AD. The tour included climbing 212 steps to the top of the clock tower and standing on the roof from where we could see people enjoying the Thermal Bath Spa – we weren’t at all jealous.

This week’s timehop photo is Mr Tin Box sat on top of a Roman mosaique in the Parade Gardens near the Pulteney Bridge. I’m sure it was a reproduction. If not, I am truly sorry to the City of Bath for any damage he caused!

Have you been to Bath? Did you see the Roman Baths or get to relax at the Thermae Bath Spa?

Travel Timehop #39: Beer, Devon 2013 – published 29 October 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop series where I dust off our photo albums and pick a picture from our travels to share with you. They all come from the past decade – some before we started our family and some after. All represent happy memories made in the UK, Europe and further afield.

I was reminded about this week’s timehop snap after we took a train ride to London during the school half term.

Mr Tin Box and Tin Box Tot on a model train ride

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2013 and we were on our first summer holiday as a family of three.

Where in the world?

We had parked Tin Box at the popular Devon beach town of Dawlish for a week. From there we went to the beach, enjoyed some great walks and visited a few attractions. However, with Tin Box Tot just six-months-old those attractions were more for the benefit of the adults than her. That’s how we needed up an hour down the road at Pecorama in Beer.

Pecorama is home to the makers of the model railway track PECO Streamline and PECO Setback. For train enthusiasts like Tin Box Grandad it’s a dream. 

Alongside the model railway exhibition there’s gardens with an adventure playground, indoor soft play, an Orion Pullman Carriage where you can have a yummy cream tea, and the Beer Height Light Railway.

Timehop moment

This picture was taken while we were chuffing around the Pecorama gardens on one of the scaled down steam locomotives. It was Tin Box Tot’s first ride on a train – an important right of passage in any six-month-old’s life.

She’s been on a few more since including a steam train at Moors Valley Country Park and Grandpa Pig’s train at Peppa Pig World.

However, her first ride on a modern train didn’t happen until last weekend. TBT thought it was great fun and was amazed by how fast we travelled. We were on a stopping train from Woking to Clapham Junction but it must have felt like something out of science fiction compared to the joy rides she was more used to. Trains are now definitely one of TBT’s favourite forms of transport and may even top tractors!

Travel Timehop #40: Ireland, 2011 – published 12 November 2015

Welcome to another week in my Travel Timehop series where I share a snap from my holiday albums and the story behind it.

This week’s picture comes from a trip that was more about an event than the destination hence the fascinator – not my usual travelling clobber!

When are we time-hopping to?

It was July 2011 and I was on a girly road trip to a friend’s wedding.

Where in the world?

The wedding was held in County Donegal, Ireland, where both the bride and groom have family connections. They have since moved to this rugged part of the world and post lots of Facebook pictures of stunning beach walks and amazing sunsets. I’m not at all jealous!

County Donegal is to the north west of Ireland – not the easiest of places to get to from Hampshire in the UK, so it called for a bit of a road trip. Mr Tin Box was otherwise engaged with the Royal Navy but luckily I had a few friends to travel with.

The first leg was a flight from Southampton to Dublin. From there we hired a car and drove 150 miles to Letterkenny in Donegal. While the Irish drive on the left there were still a few subtle differences in road etiquette and signage that meant we had to keep our wits about us.

All the wedding guests were put up at a lakeside watersports centre. The accommodation was youth hostel-style and mainly used by school parties, but it had everything we needed for our three night stay.

The wedding was fantastic and so happy – a real reflection of the lovely couple who were the focus of the celebrations.

A day later we returned to Dublin and had a few hours to look around before our evening flight back to Southampton. We browsed around the shops on Grafton Street and visited the Guinness Factory – two things you have to do in Dublin. I only wish we had had time to do more.

Timehop moment

This picture was taken at The Glebe House and Gallery in Donegal, Ireland. The gallery is home to more than 300 works by 21st Century artists including Picasso. 

We were able to browse around the gallery and house grounds while the bride and groom’s official photos were taken. It was a beautiful setting for a lovely day. Plus we were treated to the yummiest cupcakes while we waited. Catering really makes a wedding!

Where’s the furthest you have travelled to attend a wedding?

Travel Timehop #41: Paris, 2006 – 19 November 2015

In a slight change to my usual Travel Timehop format, this week I’m sharing a picture from our travels during the past decade that requires very little explanation.

We visited Paris together in 2006 and I returned in 2012 with work for a conference. I loved my first dip into Paris and was disappointed not be able to continue exploring this intoxicating city during my second. It has always been my intention to return.

Recent events here and elsewhere in the world have not changed my desire to travel to Paris or anywhere in fact.

I believe I lead a good life. I believe the people whose lives were changed so abruptly last Friday led good lives. Why should anyone think that they can terrorise other people into acting differently?

Paris, I will return.

Travel Timehop #42: Clovelly, Devon 2014 – published 26 November 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop where I share snapshots from our holiday photo albums and the memories that go with them.

This week’s picture takes me back to my own childhood as well as the recent past when we visited this unique Devon village with Tin Box Tot.

When are we timehopping to?

It was 2014 and we were doing a spot of sightseeing after going to a family wedding in the same area.

Where in the world?

We were at Clovelly in North Devon. It is a place like no other village in the country as there are no cars. The steep cobbled street is totally unsuitable for vehicles so the main form of transport up and down the hill is donkeys (although these days they are more of a tourist attraction).

The village dates back to the 14th Century and has been wholly owned by just three families in that time. Fishing used to be the main trade for residents. Now you will find craft shops, cafes and souvenirs dotted along the main thoroughfare.

I have visited Clovelly on at least three occasions: when I was a child, with Mr Tin Box before we had children and last year with TBT. Tin Box Baby was there too but just as a grapefruit-sized bump in my tummy.

I’d recommend wearing sturdy shoes and having a hearty breakfast before you visit Clovelly. The hill is hard work on the way back up.

If you don’t have time for a full fry up in the morning then there are plenty of places selling yummy Devon cream teas in the village. There is also the option to pay to take a ride back up the hill in a Landrover.

Travel Timehop #43: Ruedesheim, 2006 – published 3 December 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop where I share snapshots from our adventures during the past decade. I’m not sure how it’s happened but it’s the last month of 2015 and the final few weeks of this feature.

It’s been a blast recalling memories from trips we took before and after I started writing this blog. By recording each moment and the places we’ve visited I’ve been able to preserve them for a time when my memory isn’t quite as sharp.

This week’s timehop photo of a very young looking Mr Tin Box comes from a trip I’ve talked about before – our European camping road trip.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was the summer of 2006 – long before kids and a couple of years before Mr TB made an honest Mrs Tin Box out of me. We had taken a month off work, squeezed all our camping gear in the back of my Hyundai Getz and hit the roads of western Europe.

Where in the world?

After travelling through Belgium and Luxembourg we made our way down through Germany to St Goar on the Rhine.

St Goar dates back to Roman times and is overlooked by the ruins of Rheinfels Castle – the most imposing castle on the Rhine. Close by is Lorelei Rock, which translates as murmuring rock, and has inspired myth, legend and poems about heartbroken women and singing sirens.

We pitched our tent at Loreleyblick Campingplatz on the banks of the Rhine. We could open the canvas door flaps in the morning and look out across the river a few feet in front.

The only downside was that the river traffic, mainly barges, never seemed to stop making it noisy spot throughout the night.

During our few days in St Goar we decided to take a river cruise up the Rhine to Ruedesheim where we had four hours to look around.

Timehop moment

Ruedesheim am Rhine (it’s full title) has been famous for winemaking since Roman times. Sadly we didn’t have time to book a tour around one of the distilleries or the castle where wine is still produced so had a wander around the picturesque town instead.

Before anything else we found somewhere to order lunch and a couple of beer steins. The food and drink in Germany was definitely a highlight for me.

After filling our tummies we set about seeing the Ruedesheim sights. A visit to any German town would not be complete without browsing around the Christmas shop. In Ruedesheim this is Kathe Wohlfarhrt.

It’s lucky we already had a car full of gear back at the camp site otherwise I would have spent a fortune here. In the end we didn’t come away with any traditional decorations as I couldn’t choose between them.

A more bizarre attraction that we checked out was the Foltermuseum – a collection of medieval torture devices. You take a tour through gruesome exhibits including a rack, hanging cages, thumb screws and a stretching ladder. Most were used during the witch-hunts of the 14th and 16th Centuries. It was eye watering but fascinating stuff.

Have you been to St Goar or Ruedesheim in Germany?

Travel Timehop #44: Southampton, 2013 – published 10 December 2015

Welcome to another Travel Timehop where I share memories from our adventures during the past decade. This week’s comes from a fun day out we spent searching for ‘wildlife’ close to home.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was September 2015 and we had just come home from a three-week holiday that took us to Devon, the Lake District and Scotland. As the weather was lovely we decided to keep the summer vibe going with a day trip.

Where in the world?

I had heard there was a public art event going on not far down the road from us in Southampton, so we decided to take a look.

Go Rhinos! was a collection of 37 temporary art installations curated by Marwell Wildlife. Each of the sculptures was designed by a different local artist and could be found on a trail around the city.

250,000 people visited the trail over three months. At the end of the event the sculptures were auctioned off making £127,000 for charity.

#45 Travel Timehop: Sweden, 2014 published 17 December 2015

Welcome to my Travel Timehop feature where I share memories from our travels during the past decade. This week I’m sharing a moment captured during our first trip aboard with Tin Box Tot.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was August 2014 and we had been invited to a wedding abroad.

Where in the world?

Our friends were getting married in the bride’s home town of Karlstad in Sweden. It was a great opportunity to visit a new country and get the first stamp in TBT’s passport.

Karlstad is built on the delta of Sweden’s longest river which runs into its largest lake, Vänern. This was the setting for our friends’ wedding – it was a beautiful day, evening and a very late night.

At 18-months-old Tin Box Tot thought it was fascinating to stay up and watch everyone dancing and singing. 

Timehop moment

Thankfully TBT allowed us a bit of a lay in the next day, but we were still among the first of the wedding guests to get up. We had one day left to explore and wanted to make the most of it by visiting the city park.

Mariebergsskogen is a city farm, heritage centre, nature reserve, concert venue and play park rolled into one. And the best thing about it is that entry is totally free. 

The weather had taken a turn for the worse, which we weren’t really prepared for. We didn’t have a rain cover for our pushchair, waterproofs for TBT or appropriate footwear. I remember finishing the day with very soggy feet.

While the rain came and went, we still enjoyed a few hours looking around the different areas of the park. This timehop snap was taken in the play garden where there were lots of larger than life musical instruments set among the bushes and flower beds.

Every few minutes we had to dash for cover under the conveniently placed pagodas as another deluge of rain threatened to soak us.

Despite the weather we managed to walk around a lot of the park and had a very tired TBT by the time we headed back to our hotel. Read more about our Swedish adventure.

Travel Timehop Luxembourg – published 21 January 2016

Welcome to my Travel Timehop series where I dust off our photo albums and pick a picture from our travels to share with you. They all come from the past decade – some before we started our family and some after. All represent happy memories made in the UK, Europe and further afield.

I was reminded about this week’s timehop snap after we took a train ride to London during the school half term.

However, I haven’t been able to give up the Timehop reins completely – it’s just too much fun. Today I’m sharing a memory from our travels in Europe.

When are we time-hopping to?

It was 2006 and Mr Tin Box and I were working our way around Europe in a tent.

Where in the world?

After boarding the ferry from the UK to Dunkirk, we drove through France, spent a few days in Belgium then headed to Luxembourg.

I recall we hadn’t booked a campsite, so once we had located Luxembourg city I think we just drove south until we stumbled across Camping Bon Accueil in Herserange. This type of approach would be madness now we have kids to consider, but we didn’t think twice about long drives and late arrivals when we were just a couple.

Our campsite had all the basics we needed, a toilet block, spacious pitches and it was just 5km outside the city with direct buses into town.

It was a good base for a few days of exploring this tiny European country – any more and we would have been twiddling our thumbs.

Timehop moment – Luxembourg

If this photo were a film you would see my knees wobbling. I’m terrible with heights!

Just behind me is a huge drop down the side of the rocky outcrop that the city of Luxembourg sits upon. Below is the valley carved out by the River Alzette. It’s a dramatic and beautiful setting for a hotchpotch of historic architecture.

There has been an important strategic fortification here since the 10th Century.

Over the years it fell into the hands of different European powers who added manmade walls to the natural cliffs making it the continent’s greatest fortress until the 19th Century. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

During the 24 hours or so we had to explore Luxembourg city we walked through the rocky Pétrusse Parks, visited the Bock Casemates tunnels, and marvelled at the beauty of the Grand-Ducal Palace.

I won’t lie, we also visited a few bars for mid-afternoon beers. Oh, and the pastries we bought from the cafes in the main square were devine. When in Europe…

Travel Timehop Bristol – published 31 March 2016

Welcome to another Travel Timehop where I share moments from memorable trips. Throughout 2016 I am inviting other bloggers to tell me about their favourite adventures. However, I’ve also reserved a few weeks for myself – I just couldn’t give up this fab little feature that I began in 2015.

This is one of my Travel Timehops and a trip I recalled recently after visiting the same area. My SATNAV had taken me on a detour to avoid traffic. Typically, we didn’t reach our destination any sooner but it brought back some lovely memories! Here they are:

Travel Timehop Tin Box Traveller at the wheel of SS Great Britain in Bristol

When are we time-hopping to?

It was June 2007 and Mr Tin Box was off somewhere with the Royal Navy so my parents had invited me away with them in their caravan.

Where in the world?

We were staying in Bristol in the South West of the UK.

Timehop moment

This was my first time visiting Bristol and I’ve been an admirer ever since. In the couple of days I stayed with my parents at the Baltic Wharf Caravan Club site I was able to visit some of its most historic attractions and wander its streets with a mix of modern, medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings. Everything was minutes away from the site which made it a great base.

I walked under the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, indulged my love of everything Elizabethan at the Red Lodge Museum and went over Pero’s Bridge – a reminder of Bristol’s links to slavery – to explore the modern harbour side.

One of the most memorable places I visited was Brunel’s SS Great Britain. This amazing example of British engineering from the 19th Century circumnavigated the globe 32 times, travelling more than a million miles.

In 1843 she was the largest ship in the world. Her remit was as a luxury trans-Atlantic passenger ship and she could carry 252 first class and second class passengers as well as 130 crew.

I loved looking around each deck, from the crew accommodation to the the first class cabins and the galley to the engine rooms.

The part the sticks with me the most is going below the waterline in the dry dock to look at the ship’s enormous hull. It really brings home the size of this great and beautiful ship.

My Travel Timehop moment is me standing at the wheel of the SS Great Britain overlooking Bristol Harbour.

And that’s a wrap for my personal Travel Timehop series. I also offered the chance for other bloggers to share their favourite travel memories here on Tin Box Traveller.

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