The Montcalm London City (at The Brewery): Hotel Review

August 21, 2014 in Family, Holidays, Photography, Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized by Emma Day

Whilst attending the Britmums Live Conference, My husband, two of our children and I, stayed in the luxurious five star Montcalm Hotel. The conference was being held at The Brewery Conference rooms, which are part of the same building, so nothing could beat it in terms of proximity.

Check-in
Check in at The Montcalm was smooth and welcoming. I was greeted with a hot towel and a member of management came down to greet me personally, before the bell boy took our luggage and escorted us to our room.

Reception at The Montcalm
Reception at The Montcalm

Accessibility
The building is very old, steeped in history and fascinating architecture. This holds the drawback of lots of corridors and many steps, however I found this to be a rather charming quirk. I was concerned about accessibility with a double side-by-side pushchair. I needn’t have been. We were led through The Jugged Hare pub and into the lift. One floor up and two doors along, was our room. I would recommend though, that wheelchair or pushchair users, state their accessibility needs at the time of booking, after hearing of a friend who could not access her room due to the amount of steps.

Cleanliness
Our room was very modern and exceptionally clean. Having worked in all aspects of the hotel industry myself, I know how difficult it is to get mirrors so clean that they look as though they’ve never been touched. This was the case here. I did a bit of Alex Polizzi and couldn’t find any dust or dirt anywhere!

Bathroom at The Montcalm
Bathroom at The Montcalm
Bathroom at The Montcalm

Space
The room was a reasonable size, although my inner snob was disappointed that the bed was only a double. I’d recently stayed in a four star London hotel, which offered Super King sized beds as standard. For the price at The Montcalm, I was surprised there wasn’t at least a King. However, the bed was exceptionally comfortable and there were plenty of pillows.

Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm
Bedroom at The Montcalm

WOW FACTORS
The room contained a few WOW factors:

There was free unlimited WIFI in the hotel and a range of technology in the room, including an ipod dock and a large flatscreen TV.

I’m pretty sure the floor tiles in the bathroom were heated. If not – they were constantly very warm, which was lovely. There was also a rainfall shower.

The biggest WOW factor for me had to be the bathroom though. There was a remote control next to the bath. If you pressed it, the wall disappeared. That’s right… the wall… moved! It would retract up into the ceiling, leaving a spotlessly clean, full length window in it’s place. What for? Well the main idea is so you can watch the bedroom television, from the bath! I also found it great though for being able to see the twins asleep in their cots. If they woke up, I’d be able to see them and know they were alright. But what about hearing the sound from the TV? Well there was another dial next to the bath… one for the bathroom speakers! You could turn them off (for example when your husband puts Top Gear on for the millionth time this year), or you can turn them up (when Eastenders comes on)!

Bathroom at The Montcalm
Bathroom at The Montcalm
Bathroom at The Montcalm
Bathroom at The Montcalm

Or if you are my husband, you can stand in the bath and press the remote control so that the wall moves up to show just his legs. Then on entertaining us in the bedroom for a few moments with strange leg antics… he proceeded to do a mime act across the window. I’m not sure that was it’s main design feature though!

Britmums Live 2013 & The Montcalm (81)

Children/Babies
Two baby cots were put in our room for the twins. Fully made up and with REAL mattresses. proper, thick, supportive mattresses. That’s a hotel first for us. Most hotels just offer the usual flimsy travel cot mattress. I was impressed, and so were the twins, who enjoyed a lay in both mornings.

Britmums Live 2013 & The Montcalm (162)
Britmums Live 2013 & The Montcalm (165)

Extra’s
The range of toiletries were great, as were the tea & coffee making facilities; and no… I’m not the kind of girl that fills my suitcase with them! I left what I didn’t use, for the next guest! There were warm white fluffy bathrobes and slippers, as well as decent sized towels, an ironing board and iron, hairdryer, shoe shine products etc.

The room also contains a fragrancer – which you can turn on or off or change the fragrance of your bedroom! What a funky novelty.

Room features

 

 

Club Lounge
Being in a Club Room, we had 24 hour access to the club lounge, although we didn’t really make use of this. It was a grand room with a giant wall art and beautiful chandeliers. A very pretty and inspiring room, I should imagine, if you are trying to work or even just relax with a brandy in the evening.

Club lounge at The Montcalm

Atmosphere
I loved the ambience of the hotel. I loved the design, the quirks, the feel of luxury. The location was a winning factor for me too and I popped back to my room numerous times during the two day Britmums Live event.

Spa / Wellness Centre
The only let down for me, was the Wellness Centre. I had gotten quite excited about it, especially as it is open 24/7. It’s down in the basement, but there is only one male and one female changing room and the lock was broken on the female one. So whilst the changing room was lovely, I wouldn’t be showering in there and I had to get changed inside my towel. I enjoyed the Sauna and Steam room, although the lights weren’t working in either so I had to sit in the dark. I reported this to reception an hour later and they reassured me they would send maintenance down immediately. I spoke to a man who had used the spa only an hour before me, and it had all been working fine then, so I doubt this is a usual problem. I didn’t book a treatment, so I cannot comment on this. There was a small state of the art gym, which was great, and I’d have used, if I’d had more time.

Leisure facilities at The Montcalm

Breakfast
The breakfast… OH the breakfast. Just brilliant! There’s a decent time window which covers the late risers as well as the early birds, which is a good start. Breakfast consisted of a hot buffet, as well as a menu to order from if you fancied something a little more special. There was a cold buffet too, of cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts, croissants and pastries and even a granola, yoghurt and coulis type medley arranged all pretty in a glass. There were fresh fruit juices, smoothies in tall shot glasses and tea and coffee a plenty. We thoroughly enjoyed breakfast both mornings.

Breakfast at The Montcalm Hotel

Breakfast at The Montcalm

Breakfast at the Montcalm

Breakfast in the Jugged Hare at The Montcalm

The Jugged Hare
We also went down to The Jugged Hare in the evening for Dinner. We both ordered a traditional pie and mash. It was utterly delicious. I also sampled one of their desserts and my husband and I shared a bottle of wine. We found the menu to be rather pricey, but then again, we were in central London, and we’d only had to go down in the lift to get there! What’s more, we felt that we were perfectly welcome in there with our twins in their pushchair, even in the late evening. We also had drinks and snacks at the bar, which was lively and friendly.

The Jugged Hare, London
Baby Twins eating at The Jugged Hare, London
The Jugged Hare, London
The Jugged Hare, London
Britmums Live 2013 & The Montcalm (117)

Service
The main thing that struck me as five star throughout the hotel, the bar and the restaurant, was the service. There are a LOT of staff around to help you. Service in everything is polite, professional and not just fast, but instantaneous. Literally second to none.

Would I stay again?
The Montcalm wasn’t faultless, but it was very good and we have already booked to stay there again for the same conference next year!

 

6 Fundamental Furniture Items for your Nursery

August 18, 2014 in Parenting, Shopping by Emma Day

This is a post written by a different author, about furnishing an infant nursery

 

Designing a nursery can be a daunting task, especially for first time parents. A nursery will be your little one’s haven, so it has to be functional and attractive. You will need plan toys, furniture and proper children’s storage solutions, so that arranging the room does not involve maximum time and effort. Below are a few fundamental furniture items, which can make your room attractive without taking huge time and effort. 

 

 The Twins' Nursery

 

 

  1.  Cots: A cot is undeniably the pride and joy of any nursery. All nursery furniture manufacturers outline varied patterns and offer a vast range to its customers. The elementary purpose of a cot is to make sure that baby is protected. The elevated sides firstly thwart baby from rolling off while sleeping. Secondly, they also guarantee that babies stay all right inside when they are awake and try to scramble out. Cot beds can be changed into junior beds, making them handy for several more months to come, or they can also be converted into a fashionable sofa.
     
  2.  Bassinets: Moses baskets or Bassinets, as they are known, are comfortable hooded baskets. A bassinet coupled with stand is an ideal solution for baby’s sleep requirements while travelling and also whilst babies are young are sleeping in their parents room. Though, these are only appropriate for very young babies. Please remember that babies must never be left to nap in a bassinet unobserved and should move to a cot as soon as they are able to sit up. 
     

3. Storage Spaces: Childrens storage solutions come mostly in the form of changing units, under-cot drawers, wardrobes and toy boxes. A baby changing unit is designed to make nappy changes easier as its highest surface comes equipped with soft padding and is mounted at the precise height for the job. Below are cabinets or drawers for storage. One can expediently store all the changing accessories here.
 

  1.  Chairs: These are extremely useful, but ignored pieces of furniture. They are ergonomically fashioned for nursing mothers. If you’re pampering your baby or humming a lullaby, a glider chair is completely designed for the job. The silent and mild gliding motion assists to soothe the baby and permit you to feed him or her contentedly. These usually come with a gliding foot stool for additional comfort.
     
  2.  Mattresses: It’s no secret that babies require a lot of sleep. Therefore, the mattress is the thing they require most of the time. A perfect mattress comes up with a very soft and cushy outer cover that will appear soft and gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. Though, the mattress itself requires to be reasonably firm to give support to babys back. Cot mattresses have to be adequately waterproof to prevent leakage into the interior. Proper ventilation will assist with heat regulation and help prevent cot death. Choosing a mattress is the most important part of a babies nursery. 

6. Toys- Toys are the fundamental piece of your nursery. But you have to be careful that the toys which you have purchased so far must not hurt the baby or hinder his physiological or psychological development. Toys should always be age appropriate. 

To go through the best collection of nursery furniture, Born to Toddle is one name where you can get the entire range online, at very reasonable prices.   

 

 

 

Disclaimer 3

My Sunday Photo

August 10, 2014 in Uncategorized by Emma Day

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We have been moving house all week. I picked these from the garden in my new house. I have zero knowledge of flowers and suspect they are probably weeds, but they brightened up my new kitchen anyway!

OneDad3Girls

My Sunday Photo

August 3, 2014 in Uncategorized by Emma Day

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OneDad3Girls

Silly Luck and Paddys Pigeon

August 1, 2014 in Uncategorized by Emma Day

Luck. It’s a funny thing isn’t it. My family seem to get hit by a ton of bad luck, all at once, and when we get a little bit of good luck – that all comes at once too.

People think odd things are lucky too… like having a bird poo on you… that’s meant to be lucky? On holiday in Devon recently, a bird missed me by about a foot. Personally, I’d call THAT lucky!

Or a lucky rabbits foot? Well that’s not very lucky for the poor rabbit now is it?

The number thirteen… how is that lucky for some, but an omen to others?

I’ve lost count of the number of times a black cat has crossed my path, or I’ve let a money spider walk across my hand. I’m not entirely convinced that brought me either luck or fortune.

And the number of hours I sat there as a child, counting the leaves on clovers is ridiculous. I am convinced that four leaf clovers do not exist!

Whilst I remain skeptical and think that luck is purely… luck, and not caused by anything we do as humans, I will still always get excited when something superstitiously lucky happens!

Paddy Power recently launched a new tv advert about luck… featuring the paddy power pigeon, pooping pink goo on lucky ladies! You can see it here:

Paddy Power also created a comical infographic about 7 “lucky buggers”…
Paddy Power Pidgeon

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Let’s pretend…

July 30, 2014 in Childhood, Games, Holidays, Parenting, Uncategorized by Emma Day

Let’s pretend…

siblings playing together

I’ve been brought back to my childhood recently, through numerous trips to the park with my girls, because all the kids, still play all the same games that they did twenty years ago. Most commonly, that neverending game, “let’s pretend…” .

There is so much on social media at the moment about how the youth of today don’t get out in the fresh air and rely on their minds alone for entertainment. That we had better upbringings before smart phones and interactive gaming. It’s all doom and gloom, but in the summer time, I think you can really appreciate that that analogy is not entirely true. That children can still appreciate walks, beaches, parks, sports and making games up out of thin air. Despite all the computer games and technology kids have these days, make-believe is still rife. And that makes me smile.

 

Let's pretend...

Games start with “let’s pretend” and the entire game (which can last hours) consists of every sentence starting with the word “pretend…”. Each child acts out their own little daydreams and tells the other children what they are thinking, doing and seeing, until they are united in one big game.

The most common of these (in girls at least) still seems to be “mums and dads”. I remember nobody ever wanted to be the baby, because all you had to do was sit in an imaginary cot and say “goo goo” or pretend to be asleep.

Playground objects become pirate ships, fairy castles, war zones, ponies and shops. Everything you could ever want, is a hands reach away – invisible of course, but if you can imagine it, you can touch it.

It’s funny as an adult, seeing these same games played through different eyes. As a child I could imagine endless scenarios and everything around me became a part of that pretend world. As an adult… You can see nothing there, but what is really there.

Children have incredible imaginations and its so lovely to see how they develop them through play.

 

It’s lovely also, to be jolted back to my own awesome childhood, every now and then.

If kids chose our holiday activities…

July 30, 2014 in Holidays, Travel, Uncategorized by Emma Day

What would holidays be like if our children chose EVERYTHING that we did?

Pretty crazy I would think. At first anyway. Actually it turns out, that kids want a lot of the same things we do. Whilst as responsible parents we can’t say yes to EVERYTHING, it’s great to allow our children to have an input on what we do on holiday.

So no… my darling cherubs, you’re not staying up past midnight every night, or eating ice cream for every meal, but I will make sure our holidays are always fun!

Parkdean Holidays wanted to know exactly what it is that children want from their holidays, so they asked the kids and then produced a guide, by kids, for kids, on how to have an amazing holiday! It’s called “The UK our way” and features everything from beaches and how to make the best sandcastles, to the tastiest regional Ice cream and Fish and chips.

The interactive guide pairs the best locations for each activity and even features maps and local holiday resorts.

Many of the UK’s top tourist attractions are showcased in this guide, from zoos and theme parks, to tank museums, adventure piers and shops. Crabbing, swimming, bike rides, picnics and taking stunning photos that will capture precious family moments in beautiful locations.

The kids have thought of everything and you can see it all here…

In association with Parkdean Holidays

My Sunday Photo

July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized by Emma Day

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OneDad3Girls

A sports day without tears?

July 25, 2014 in Childhood, Fitness, Health, Parenting, School, Sport, Uncategorized by Emma Day

Sports Day July 2014 (7)Bunny has just finished year two of primary school and as per school tradition, sports day came near to the end of term. We are not a particularly sporty family. Wait, what am I saying? We do NO SPORT AT ALL!

I played rugby back in my school days, until I broke my left wrist in a rather spectacular fashion… which pretty much put me off all sport, except cycling. Then I broke my right arm cycling. I got detention for being so bad at TABLE tennis, that my teacher thought I was taking the mick. In badminton, I got pulled out of class and made to play by myself against a wall for six weeks because I just couldn’t hit the darn thing! In all other sports involving balls, I did the typically girly thing of putting my hands in front of my face, shutting my eyes and whimpering. I was ALWAYS last to be picked for any team. Once it came to leaving school… that was pretty much the end of sport for me.

Hubs decided to get sporty a couple of years ago. He joined a football team and went off for his first session. He was discharged from hospital several hours later, with a broken collarbone which required surgery. His version of sport now involves a large tv screen and a pint.

Bunny has not miraculously inherited a love of sport from further up the gene pool. She doesn’t get it. She’s not a competitive child and sports day usually includes tears.

At sports day, when Bunny was in reception class, she saw me across the field and BAM… tears and sobbing because she wanted a cuddle from mummy!

In year one, Bunny just did NOT want to do any sports. She stropped through most of her races and cried because her friend was mean to her, and because she “HATES sports day”.

So as you can imagine, I approached year two sports day with caution. I dreaded seeing my little beauty cry again. I gave her all the usual reassuring parent advice, including that the most important thing, was to try her best and have fun. I was apprehensive, but she went in with her usual headstrong confidence (which doesn’t normally falter until the nerves kick in).

And I’m pleased to say… that this year, she did not cry once! She almost even enjoyed it. And at one point (until she fell over) she was even winning the sack race! Sports Day July 2014 (54)

So this year’s sports day was a proud mummy moment for me.
Sports Day July 2014 (6)

She did however, cry at the schools Race For Life, because her sign had fallen off her back. Her sign said “I race for… My Mummy”, in her own writing. A kind teacher put it back on for her and she ran her race, whilst talking the hind legs off a donkey to her headmaster. That made me even prouder. She raised £40 for Cancer Research and told me how important that was to her, because of my having Cancer last year.

She’s every bit my mini-me.

Getting your children to brush their teeth

July 22, 2014 in Health by Emma Day

This is a post aimed at getting your children into a good toothcare regime and was not written by this blog’s author.

Getting Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth

 

Children’s teeth can decay more quickly than adults’ do, so it’s very important to get your children used to brushing their teeth as early as possible. However, some children can be reluctant tooth-brushers!

 

Baby teeth

It’s a good idea to begin brushing babies’ teeth as soon as the first tooth appears at about six months. Use a soft babies’ toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of toothpaste: one that contains fluoride and is designed for children aged up to three years. If your child is reluctant at first, persevere: it may help you to reach the back teeth if you gently cradle your child’s head from behind while brushing.

 

All about routine

Let your child brush for themselves as early as possible. Just brush again once they have finished, checking that the back teeth are cleaned properly. An electric toothbrush can speed up this brushing routine. Children should brush their teeth twice a day, in the morning, either before or after breakfast, and last thing before bedtime. Repeat this daily to get them into a good habit.

 

Top tooth brushing tips

1. If your child is reluctant, try and be as enthusiastic about tooth brushing yourself as you can – let your kids watch you cleaning your teeth, and make lots of noise while you’re doing it. If your child sees teeth cleaning as a fun activity, he or she will be keen to join in.

2. Give your child some warning that it’s nearly time to brush their teeth, so that they are prepared for the activity, and use clear but firm language. For example, say “It’s time to clean your teeth now”, rather than ask the question: “Would you like to clean your teeth now?”

3. Go shopping with your child and allow them to choose their own toothbrush. Children’s toothbrushes are made in a range of colourful, character themed designs, such as pirates, mermaids and so on. An electric toothbrush is an excellent idea to help young children clean their teeth properly and is recommended by dentists.  Re-chargeable or battery operated, some have flashing lights, and play a tune, which helps the child to brush their teeth for the recommended length of time.

4. Make tooth brushing as much fun as possible. Try singing a song while your child brushes – it will make the routine activity more like a game.

 

It is vital to create routine for kids brushing their teeth, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.