Ireland Adventures: A Weekend in the Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are comprised of three islands off the west coast of Ireland – Inis Mor (largest), Inis Main (second-largest) and Inis Oirr (smallest). The islands are rural Ireland at it’s finest, and are a glimpse into old Ireland. The total population of the three islands combined is about 1,200 people, and the language spoken on the islands is predominantly Irish. The islands can only be reached by boat and, fun fact, only islanders are allowed drive on the islands!

Ireland Adventures: A Weekend in the Aran Islands

We recently attended a wedding of some wonderful friends on Inis Mor (Inishmore). As you can imagine, being on an island in the Atlantic can yield some pretty crazy weather, but we were blessed with fantastic weather for most of the weekend. Aside from the wedding (which was fabulous!), we spent some time exploring the island and meeting the locals.

How We Got There

We booked our ferry with Aran Island Ferries. They have multiple crossings a day, and parking just a 3 minute walk from the ferry terminal. You’ll need to arrive 30 minutes in advance to check-in for the crossing. The crossing can be a bit choppy, so if you get travel sickness, take precautions!

Where We Stayed

We stayed in a holiday home as we had my parents, Jack, and my in-laws with us. It was perfect for a large group, with all the amenities that we needed with a little one. However, there are a ton of B&B’s on the island (friends stayed here), and the wedding we attended was at the Aran Islands Hotel. This site has lots of information about accommodation on the Islands.

Bars & Restaurants

Considering how remote Inis Mor is, we were surprised by the quality of the bars & restaurants that we visited. One bar we didn’t get to was Joe Watty’s, but I am mentioning it as friends raved about the food and atmosphere.

  • The Bar: The Bar is front and center of the village of Kilronan – you can’t miss it! We ate here twice and the food is superb. Very reasonable, good, comfort Irish food (I recommend the Lamb Stew!). The bar itself is small, but there is a large outdoor patio area. The atmosphere is a fun, with a mix of tourists and locals. My brother-in-law even beat a local at a game of chess here!Ireland Adventures: A Weekend in the Aran Islands
  • Bayview Restaurant: We stopped by here for an early dinner – beautiful views of the water and the menu is great. I had a really tasty burger, and the pizza got good reviews from friends.
  • Aran Island Hotel: This hotel is in a stunning setting with views of the Islands and the bay. The food was great, and the bar area has traditional music regularly during the summer. Worth a stop even just for a drink with a view!

Activities

The wedding took up 2 of our 3 days on the Island, but I feel like we got to see plenty in our free time. Our accommodation was a 25 minute walk from Kilronan Village each way. Walking, or hiking, is. great way to explore the Island, but here are some other fun activities available;

  • Pony & Trap Rides: Pony & Trap tours are a fun way to explore the island, and are accompanied by locals who will point out the sights. You’ll pick up a pony & trap easily in Kilronan village upon exiting the Ferry Terminal.
  • Biking: Driving on the Islands is limited to locals, so biking is a must if you plan on seeing the entire island.  Bikes can be hired by the day here.Ireland Adventures: A Weekend in the Aran Islands 2
  • Shopping: The Aran Islands are famous for their knitwear (Aran Sweaters anyone?!). You’ll find genuine Aran Wool products at the Aran Sweater Market, and some other quality Irish-made goods here.Ireland Adventures: A Weekend in the Aran Islands

All in all, we had an amazing weekend surrounded by friends in a fabulous setting. We look forward to visiting again someday when we have more time to explore the Island!

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Style Guide: Concert Edition!

Look rock chick chic with our guide to concert style!

Happy Saturday, Gals! I’m in flying form today as Colm and I are attending the U2 Joshua Tree Tour in Dublin tonight! This marks our second time seeing U2 live – the last time was a mind-blowing 15 years ago at Slane Castle (God, I’m old!). We have really fond memories of it, so I’ve been counting down the days all week. Today’s post is a round-up of concert style – we’re talking concert tees, denim and some fab boots to top the look off!

Band T-Shirts

The Joshua Tree T-Shirt is mens, but I reckon would look great worn baggy with some skinnies, or knotted up. The other t-shirts give off a great rock vibe, and The Who T-shirt from Forever 21 is a bargain!

 
Denim
I am still loving these River Island Amelie Jeans – I have a couple of pairs. You also can’t beat cut-off shorts at a gig, and these overalls are so cool!

 
Boots
Stay comfy but cool with a pair of booties – I’m all about comfort at concerts! All that dancing and walking for miles to the car, who needs heels?!

 
Have you been to any good concerts or festivals this summer? Share in the comments! Pop on over to my Instagram – I’ll be sharing photos of Bono & the lads!
Look rock chick chic with our guide to concert style!
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Love this Style Guide? Check out some others here and here!

My Favourite Blogging Tools!

The Essential Blogging Tools for Any Newbie Blogger

July is my third month of blogging, time flies! I’m having a blast with it, and have learned so much in the last three months. From teaching myself how to set up a website, to learning about marketing and social media promotion – it’s been a whirlwind! I’m sharing my favorite blogging tools today in the hopes that they will prove useful to other newbies.

Tailwind – Tailwind is a scheduling software that allows you to schedule pins for Pinterest. They’ve recently branched out to Instagram scheduling too, but I’ve yet to test that tool. I spend about 30 minutes per week scheduling out my pins for the week – social media automation at its finest! I’m also a member of several Tailwind Tribes, where groups pin solely from the members content. This greatly increases your reach – click here to join my “Pindamonium” tribe. If you’re interested in trying out Tailwind, click here to receive a free month trial!

Pexels.com – Pexels is a treasure trove of free stock photos to use on your blog. I use it to create pretty graphics for Pinterest and Instagram – including the graphics used in this post!

Convertkit – Convertkit is the first blogging tool I spent money on and it’s been worth every penny. For a monthly fee, I use it to create subscriber opt-ins – basically exclusive content that is tailored to my readers and entices them to subscribe to my blog. In just three weeks, my subscriber list has increased 30%. Convertkit can also be used for email marketing and creating newsletters. An absolute must for attracting and retaining traffic to your blog! It’s very easy to use – click here for more information.

Canva – Canva is a free design tool for creating amazing graphics for your blog. I mostly use the app so I can create graphics on the go. It has a wide range of templates, with specific templates for Blog Graphics, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

WordPress Instagram WD – This is my hands-down favourite WordPress plug-in. It’s free and imports my Instagram feed onto my homepage. I love it!

Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a necessary plug-in for any serious blogger. It analyzes your traffic, including page views and how long each session lasts. It has really helped me understand what my audience are attracted to, and where I need to improve. If you plan on monetizing your blog, many brands will want to see your Analytics so the sooner you start using it, the better.

Bluehost – I host my website on Bluehost. There are several different hosting options out there, but I found Bluehost to be reasonable, easy to use for a novice like me, and to have great customer service.

Epic Blog – I’ve seen many great online blog planning tools, but I like to do it old school style. Regina Anaejionu’s “Epic Blog” planner is my bible for planning content, and for jotting down ideas and goals.

What are your top blogging tools? I’m always on the lookout for new ways to improve my site – drop me a line in the comments!

The Essential Blogging Tools for Any Newbie Blogger

This post contains affiliate links.

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Read about our latest adventure – Moving to Ireland!

Exterior Home Makeover – From Drab to Fab!

We kicked off a makeover of our house, in anticipation of selling it before we move home, by having the exterior of the house painted. I’m SO happy with the results that I just had to share! We bought our house in 2013, and it definitely hadn’t been painted for several years before we moved in. It was starting to look really shabby, particularly around the side of the house. I was never crazy about the colour scheme but we kept putting off having it painted. Four years later, we finally bit the bullet. Here is the before:
I looked to Pinterest (follow me here!) for inspiration when choosing the colour palate. We had also noticed some other houses in our neighborhood that were painted dark blue, and thought it looked really striking.

The painting crew tackled the project in two phases. Phase 1 took place over a full weekend and involved power washing the entire exterior and prepping the house to be painted.

The second phase was painting and took place over a two-day period. We were actually away for the weekend while they painted, which was ideal as Jack wasn’t exposed to any fumes. We arrived back from our trip to a fabulous makeover!
See the before and after of our amazing exterior home makeover!
The paint colours used are Kelly Moore Paints Night Sky with Swiss Coffee Trim (also Kelly Moore). The front door is Claret Rose by Benjamin Moore Paints.I love a red front door, and the slight orange tinge to this colour really makes it pop!
Do you love it as much as I do? Let me know! Also, stay tuned for more updates on our renovations – subscribe for updates straight to your inbox!

Style Guide: Accessories for Summer!

Happy Style Guide Saturday! We’re shining a pretty, sparkling spotlight on accessories today. Accessories are the most exciting part of dressing up and can make or break an outfit.  Here are my top picks for accessories for this summer:

Fuchsia Statement Tassel Earrings
Black Pom-Pom Earrings
“Ellen” Tassel Earrings
“June” Statement Necklace
Bauble Bar Bib Necklace
“Ellie” Multi-Tassel Necklace
Suede Tassel Earrings
You might say I’m obsessed with tassels right now! All of the retailers above ship internationally, and some are smaller boutiques for those one-off pieces (while supporting small businesses!). I’d love to hear what summer accessories you can’t live without – let me know in the comments!

Loving our Style posts? Check out our Summer Style Guide!

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Check out my beauty must-haves!

5 Baby Products We Love!

Check out the 5 Must Have Baby Products We are Loving - From the Dockatot to Diaper Bags!

I can’t believe our wee man is almost 5 months old! It really is true what everyone says, the newborn phase is so brief. Jack amazes us every day with a new skill he has picked up, and I just know it’ll be no time at all before he’s scooting and trying to pull himself up! He is taking a real interest in his surroundings, chatting away, and starting to become really interested in his toys. We still get great use out of a lot of the items we bought before he was born, like the Ergo, his play gym and his Rock & Play, but we’ve added some new favourite products to our collection!

Sophie the Giraffe Teether

I’ll admit that I always thought Sophie was the stupidest baby product – I couldn’t understand why she was on everyone’s must-have list. The guys at work bought Sophie for Jack (they threw me a shower too which was adorable!), and I popped her on a shelf and forgot about her. Fast forward to Jack hitting the 3 1/2 month mark, and starting to chew his hands. I decided to try Sophie out, and he loves her! She is soft and totally safe for him to chomp on, plus I think he just likes to hold her and look at her. The only downside to Sophie is that she squeaks, so Atticus thinks she is a dog toy!

Dockatot

Jack slept in the Rock & Play until he was 9 weeks old. He slept 7-8 hour stretches in it, and it was amazing. It’s a temporary solution, of course, and I was starting to really worry about him starting to roll over, so we transitioned him to the crib. Disaster. He trashed around in the crib and woke every hour, on the hour, for two weeks. I was seriously sleep deprived, and desperate, when I ordered the Dockatot at 4am with next day delivery. I should note that this product is NOT recommended by the manufacturer for use in a crib, but that is exactly where we put it (it is breathable). Right away our little man started sleeping 4-5 hour stretches in it, and now regularly gives us the dream 7-8 hours. It’s also wonderful for travel as it’s portable, and comes with it’s own bag. You can bring it anywhere, from room to room for nap time, camping, to the beach and so on. The cover zips off and is machine washable too. It’s pricey, but it was worth every penny.

Magic Merlin Sleepsuit

I bought the Magic Merlin Sleepsuit out of desperation and sleep deprivation around the same time as I bought the Dockatot. We had ripped the bandaid off swaddling when we transitioned to the crib, and Jack kept waking himself up with his hands. The Magic Merlin suit is like a weighted, wearable blanket, that slightly separates the arms and legs so the startle reflex is limited. They apparently feel like they are being held. I was skeptical, but it works perfectly. He looks like a ridiculous Michelin man in it, and we couldn’t stop laughing the first time we put it on, but it’s amazing. We put it on him a couple of nights a week and he sleeps great in it.

Fawn Design Backpack

I have a great nappy bag (see it here), that I love but with all the traveling that we have been doing, and all of the summer activities we’ve been up to, a backpack has been really handy. The Fawn Design bag is gorgeous, practical and can be worn as a backpack or a shoulder bag. It’s pricey, and it took me weeks of stalking the website before I actually ordered it, but I’m happy with my purchase. This SkipHop version also looks like a great option.

Baby Infant Stroller Toy

We hang this stretchy, musical caterpillar off our cart seat, and it has saved many a meltdown. Jack has only recently become interested in it (it was hanging there from Day 1), but it shuts him up immediately once he starts getting fussy. He pulls at the rings, stares at the mirror (so vain, that one!) and just paws at it. It’s easily detachable with velcro too so we give it to him to play with when we’re out for dinner too. A cheap distracter!

I wonder what goodies we will find ourselves loving at the 9-12 month marks? If you have any recommendations, pop them in the comments!

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Check out the 5 Must Have Baby Products We are Loving - From the Dockatot to Diaper Bags!

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Check out our Baby Essentials Checklist!

 

 

Things We Love – Chatbooks!

Check out our review of Chatbooks, an app that creates books from your Instagram feed! Get your first book FREE using our link!

Happy Monday Folks! I’ve been dying to share this amazing photo book service with you all – Chatbooks! It’s an app that connects with your Instagram account (or Facebook or your phone) and assembles all of your photos into a book! It pulls in the date, location and caption. Best of all, the softcover book is just $8! Click here to get your first book totally free! (Note that by ordering through my link, I get a $5 credit towards my next Chatbook)

We have an Instagram specifically for Jack so our friends and family across the world can follow along as he grows. This is his first Chatbook – I titled it “Volume 1”, and plan to continue having books printed periodically as he grows. Isn’t it the coolest idea?! It would make a great gift too for grandparents.

Our book is the softcover version and holds 60 pictures. There are other options available, including custom options for specific occasions like weddings. The entire process took about 10 minutes – I just linked the account, edited the title and cover, and hit checkout. Shipping was fast and I am so, so happy with the finished product!

This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

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What else are we loving?

Check out our spotlight on MGM Illustrations!

 

Our Guide to Sun Protection for Baby!

”Tis the season for sunshine, bbq’s and the beach folks! After months of torrential rain in California (seriously!), I’m so happy to see the sun finally appear. I’ve been making the most of it by taking Jack out as much as possible. It can be tricky trying to keep a baby safe in the sun, so here are my must-haves for keeping your little one cool & protected.

1. Sunscreen
Okay, so I know the recommendation is no sunscreen for babies under 6 months but this seems impossible to me. Each to their own, but I lather this Babyganics SPF 50 on Jack every time we go outside. My motto is its better to be safe than sorry!

2. Sunhat
Sunhats are a must if you are taking your babe out in the sun. We have a bucket hat for day to day wear, and a hat for the pool that covers his neck.

3. Rashguard with UV Protection
I dished on Jack’s holiday wardrobe here – he has a couple of cute rashguards with UV protection that give him complete coverage when he’s in the pool.

4. Stroller Fan
We use this every day when we’re out and about. It clips onto the stroller, and as a bonus, distracts baby when they’re getting fussy.

5. Umbrella
This umbrella attaches to the stroller and gives great coverage to keep baby shaded. It’s adjustable too so you can move it around to suit.

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6. Sunglasses
Most babies hate bright sunlight, so shades are an adorable necessity in summer. Friends bought us these great Ro-sham-bo shades as a gift. They’re completely bendable so baby can’t break them, and BPA free for when baby inevitably chews on them. They also have matching adult shades #twinning!

7. Cover Up

This is a no-brainer, I know, but whenever possible keep your little one covered up. Light, long-sleeved shirts and long pants are best.

Stay safe and have a great summer with your little one!

This post contains affiliate links

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Read our Holiday Essentials for Baby

Flying with Baby – A Survival Guide

We did it! We survived our first round-trip flight with our little man! I was so, so nervous about flying with a baby. We’ve all been on those flights with the hysterical kid & the mother who looks like she’s on her last nerve – I was fully prepared to be that mother. However, the flights were a breeze! Jack was calm, curious and even slept for long enough for us to have a drink & relax! Today, I’m sharing my tips for surviving flying with a baby;

Stay Calm

It’s 100% true that babies feed off their parents energy. If you’re stressed, your little one will sense it and react. So, stay calm, remember that people fly with kids every day, and take deep breaths.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Prepare for the flight by making a list of what you need to carry with you onto the flight – ID’s, bottles/food, nappies, wipes etc. Pack your carry-on the night before and double check you have everything before leaving for the airport.

Check out our Baby Holiday Essentials & Packing List!

Have ID’s at the Ready

Keep all your families ID’s together in an easy-to-reach spot (perhaps a zipped pouch in your carry-on). For domestic travel, you’ll need your babes birth certificate at TSA. For international travel, you’ll need a passport for your little one.

Have Bottles/Formula at the Ready

If you use formula, you can bring it through security. You can actually bring it mixed with water, but I decided to just buy water after security to mix it with. You will need to take out all bottles and formula when you go through security. I brought 6 bottles in my carry on and filled 3 with the measured amount of formula I would need. I brought a formula dispenser with measured formula in it too, so I was set for 6 bottles if necessary. To make it easier to go through security, I popped all the bottles and formula into a laundry bag, so I just had to pull that out of the carry on at TSA.

Arrive Early

Security takes longer with kids, so give yourself plenty of extra time at the airport by arriving early.

Wear Comfy Clothing

Dress yourself, and baby, in comfy clothing. We put Jack in PJ’s, with a onesie underneath. The onesie was a tip from a friend – if it’s cold,  it’s an extra layer but if it’s too hot, you can strip baby down.

Bring your Car Seat on Board (if possible)

We booked a seat for Jack as the flight was pretty cheap, meaning we had a full row to ourselves. This worked out perfectly as we had somewhere to put him when he was sleeping. If you don’t book a seat, try asking at the gate if there are any free seats – you may get lucky!

Bring a Sling/Carrier on Board

Disclaimer – We didn’t end up using the Ergo on the flight but I saw a couple of parents who did. It’ll help calm your baby down, and will leave your hands free (especially if you’re traveling alone).

Pack a Pacifier

Jack loves his Wubbanub, so I always have a couple in my bag. It was very helpful at keeping any ear discomfort at bay during the flight.

Feed on Take-off & Landing

Be ready to feed your baby on take-off and on landing. Not only will it help alleviate the pressure on their ears, but it will give them comfort.

Overpack on Essentials 

We were delayed for 4 hours on our outbound flight. It wasn’t fun, but at least I had enough formula to last us through to the next morning as we ended up landing at 2am. Overpack on the essential items – food, formula & nappies.

Pack 2 x  Extra Outfits

Planes make babies poop – it’s weird, but it’s true. Pack two extra outfits for your little one in case of a blowout.

Pack Toys for the Plane

Jack is only three months old, but I packed his favourite book and his tummy-time mirror in my carry-on. It made for a great distraction when we were waiting around for the plane to take-off, and helped prevent a meltdown or two onboard.

Read our ideas for playtime with an infant here!

Pack a Blanket

Bring a light blanket on the plane in case it gets chilly.

Overall, we found that people went out of their way to accommodate us in the airport and on the flight. With a little organization, and a positive attitude, flying with baby is definitely doable. Happy flying!

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Orlando Adventures – A Week in Orlando with a Baby!

Our re-cap of a week in Orlando with a baby - What we got up to without visiting the parks!

We recently spent a fun-filled week in Orlando on our first family trip, and I have been dying to share it with you all! Colm attended a conference, and as I’m on maternity leave (and have never been to Florida), Jack and I tagged along (#freehotelstay). We didn’t venture to any theme parks as Jack is a little too small, plus the weather was pretty stormy when we were there. However, we did have a lot of fun! Read on to hear all about our time in the Sunshine State!

Where We Stayed

We spent the week at the Hyatt Regency on International Drive (Tourist Central!). The hotel itself was on the far end of I-Drive, as the locals call it, and is connected to the convention centre. It is catered towards business clientele, which I found out on my first morning when I was the only person in shorts amidst a sea of suits! The atmosphere in the hotel wasn’t stuffy though, and the staff were really fantastic. They were so helpful and friendly, and went out of their way to chat to Jack and I when we were hanging out having a coffee or lunch.

The weather was a total disappointment while we were in Orlando – it was very warm, and most mornings were sunny. but by afternoon it was stormy and often raining. This meant that we spent a lot of time indoors, usually in the hotel. The aspect of our holiday that I was most excited about was the pool. This trip marked Jack’s first time in a swimming pool, so on Day 1 we dressed him up, inflated his floaty and headed for the terrace pool. Located on the 4th floor, it has a lap pool and a small wading pool for kids. It was FREEZING, and our wee man got the shock of his life – to say he hated it is an understatement. After chatting up the receptionist at the front desk the next day, she told me to try the baby pool in the main ground floor pool area. I made a beeline for it and the result was much, much better;

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

We have a water baby! The main pool area at the Hyatt is gorgeous. It has a slide, a river, a huge main pool, poolside bar, table tennis and lots of sun loungers. In particular the baby pool has a great set up with a (warm!) baby pool, statues of Disney characters and a sand pit. It’s also gated so felt very safe.

Check out Jack’s Holiday Essentials Here!


Dinner & Drinks

With Jack in tow, we didn’t venture too far for dinner and drinks. We stuck to International Drive, and ate at the hotel, Pointe Orlando, or the I-Drive 360 Centre. There are some fantastic options on International Drive, and all were within easy walking distance of the hotel.

B-Line Diner: Located in the Hyatt, this is your standard diner. It had a decent menu, good breakfasts and drool- worthy desserts. Seriously, they had tiramisu in a cup! It also has a coffee kiosk for to-go drinks and snack like sandwiches and salads.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby
Coffee Etcetera: Coffee Shop in the Hyatt – Serves Starbucks espresso drinks and pastries.

Urban Tide: This is one of the Hyatt’s two upscale restaurants. We loved it, and ate here twice. The food was fantastic, with a menu focused on seafood. I recommend the Paella and the Seafood Charcuterie.

Fiorenzo: Also in the Hyatt (we have a kid y’all!). Standard steakhouse but the service was great, ambience was romantic, and the food was decent.

The Pub: The Pub is an English bar located in Pointe Orlando, about 3 blocks from the Hyatt. We went in the early evening but it was pretty busy. The food was good, definitely a comfort food type of spot.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

Capital Grille: The Capital Grille is also located in Pointe Orlando and serves an extensive menu of fresh, seasonal food. I had the best veggie burger here!

Shake Shack: Ok, I know this is a chain but it was totally new to me! This was recommended to us by a local when we said we were on the hunt for a burger. It did not disappoint! I had the best burger of my life here, and the second best concrete (Ted Drewes in St Louis is the best, obviously!). The Shake Shack we went to was at I-Drive 360.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby
Super Stormy Shake Shack!

Tin Roof: Tin Roof is a country bar located at I-Drive 360. It has live music every night, even when we stopped by for a drink at 5pm. They have a good cocktail menu, and the atmosphere was great! Jack loved the music and it seemed like a really fun bar.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

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What We Did

We mostly hung out on International Drive, and found there was plenty to do. Here are the main spots we visited;

Pointe Orlando: Pointe Orlando is an outdoor shopping and entertainment area on International Drive. It has some good options for dining along with stores like Charming Charlie, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister and Tommy Hilfiger. For entertainment, it has a cinema, bowling, laser tag and a comedy club.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

I-Drive 360: I-Drive 360 is a 20 minute walk from the Hyatt. It’s a tourist hub but a lot of fun.  You’ll find gift stores, restaurants, bars and attractions like the Orlando Eye, Madam Tussauds & Sealife here. Along with the restaurants we visited here, Jack and I spent a morning checking out the Sealife Aquarium. Infants are free and he was mesmerized by all the lights and displays.

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby Our Guide to Spending a Week in Orlando with a Baby

Other fun attractions that we didn’t get to check out, mostly because of the weather, were the Crazy Golf, Magic Museum and Ripleys Believe It or Not. All of these, and more, are on International Drive. Overall, we had a wonderful first family holiday. I hope to go back when Jack is older and check out the theme parks like Disney and Universal, but there is plenty to see and do in Orlando without the parks. If you do visit and see Mickey Mouse, tell him I said Hello!

Check out our Guide to spending a week in Orlando with a baby

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Check out our travel adventures to Alaska and Truckee!