Aphrodite Hills, Cyprus

I am not one for returning to the same place (apart from cities) and I have never returned to a sun holiday destination before…until last month. There are so many places in the World to visit and so little time that I like to explore as much as possible. However, I would like to introduce you to Aphrodite Hills, nestled in the hills above Paphos, Cyprus. I first visited here two years ago for my best friend’s wedding of which I was a bridesmaid and so choosing where to stay was already decided for us. I went with the hubby, my son (then 18 months old), my mum and my dad and we hired a self catering apartment in Theseus Village through Aphrodite Rentals. Fast forward two years to the month and we’re back, this time with our two sons, four friends and their four children. Not only did we stay in the same resort, we also booked the same apartment!

Aphrodite Hills Cyprus

Theseus Village Children’s Swimming Pool

Aphrodite Hills Theseus Village

View from BE02 Apartment Theseus Village

On a list of places I would recommend, it is most certainly high up there especially if you are looking for a luxurious family friendly holiday. Aphrodite Hills combines a 5 star hotel along with award winning villas and apartments. The resort also offers a wide range of activities to keep you, and your friends and family busy. There is an 18 hole Golf Course and practice facilities, tennis courts and a 5-a-side football pitch, an award winning health spa, gymnasium, shops, restaurants, bars, Kids Club and kids playground. The restaurant and bars are located around the Village Square within a traditional Cypriot setting. One of our favourite places to hang out was the Haagen Dazs cafe where we enjoyed daily ice-creams, coffees, milkshakes and other delicious treats.  I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough, it provides fantastic facilities for all the family.

Sensatori Hotel Aphrodite Hills

Sensatori Hotel

Sensatori Hotel

Sensatori Hotel Terrace

Aphrodite Hills Village

The Village

Aphrodite Hills - Playground

Children’s Playground

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One of my highlights was discovering the Retreat Spa. Winner of 2015 World Luxury Spa award it is certainly not to be missed. I didn’t have a treatment but took part in a Yoga class that was utterly amazing! Our instructor, Vanessa, was exceptional and combined three styles of yoga over the 75 minute class. Having trained for over 20 years in different countries, she really knows her stuff. The setting was tranquil and I have never felt as relaxed from a yoga session before. I am now trying to find a nearby class at home but I am afraid Vanessa is going to be hard to beat.

Paphos is just over a 4 hour flight away and most budget airlines fly there a couple of times a week. From the airport, the resort is only a 15-20 minute drive away and is very easy to find. The resort is conveniently situated near many local attractions. Here are a few places I would recommend visiting nearby:

– Pissouri Beach, located a 20 minute drive away is a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, water sports and building sandcastles! The sunbed vendors will take your orders for a nearby cafe serving fresh smoothies, ice-creams and milkshakes, although sadly the cafe was closed the day we visited. However, we ate in Captain’s Bay restaurant which served simple and easy food. Pissouri village which is located in the hills above the beach offers a good choice of restaurants offering authentic food around the village square. More information on Pissouri can be found here.

Pissouri Bay

Pissouri Bay

Pissouri Bay

Daddy & Harry at Pissouri Bay

Captain's Bay Pissouri Beach

Captain’s Bay

Pissouri Bay

Pissouri Bay

– Paphos – we ventured into Paphos on our previous trip but didn’t manage to get there this time. Paphos offers a waterpark, a zoo which is famous for its entertaining bird shows, is only a 25 minute drive from the resort and is very easy to get to.

– Limassol is approx 45 minutes drive away and is a large resort town with a brand new marina, old town with Castle and a promenade stretching for miles along the coast. Definitely worth a trip out if you fancy a change of scenery. Th Old Port Exhibition Centre is worth a visit too, you can buy all sorts of marine artifacts including some amazing smelling soaps and natural sponges, it is very hard not to bring lots of things home with you from here.

Limassol Old Town

Limassol’s  Old Town

OLd Port Exhibition Centre, Limassol

The Old Port Exhibition Centre

Limassol Beach

Limassol Beach

We booked our return stay through Aphrodite Rentals again and they were efficient and very helpful on both occasions. We found our apartment to be immaculate and it was cleaned part way through our stay too. Aphrodite Rentals supply there own 8509 magazine which is an independent guide on the resort and the local area. We dealt with Martin on our most recent visit and he couldn’t have made our stay any easier for us. We stayed in BE02 Theseus Village and the apartment was fantastically equipped. Comprising open plan living and dining area, fully fitted kitchen with dishwasher and washing machine, master bedroom with ensuite, twin bedroom and bathroom. The apartment benefits from fitted wardrobes, doors from both bedrooms and living area opening onto the veranda, TV and DVD player, air conditioning, BBQ, sun loungers and external furniture to dine and relax on. Everything was suitably provided making our stay comfortable and enjoyable.

BE02 Theseus Village

Harry & Sam relaxing

Thesesu Village Swimming Pool

One of the three swimming pools in Theseus Village

BE02 Theseus Village

Jack & Rose at dinner time

BE02 Theseus Village

Our home – BE02 Theseus Village

Garden & Veranda BE02 Theseus Village

Our Garden and Veranda

There is also a superb on-site supplier of baby and children equipment called Kids Travel Lite, who offer a wide choice of products.I have used this company twice and Yvonne was most accommodating at supplying our cot and highchair. We booked through her website and everything was set up for us in the apartment before we arrived, a box of toys was left for the children too which was very thoughtful and came in very handy too!

Here are a few of my highlights that I think make Aphrodite Hills an ideal child friendly destination:

– Gardens outside our ground floor apartment offered plenty of space for the children to play

– The apartment was well equipped and the veranda was perfect for having early dinners with the children

– Communal swimming pools outside the apartments were child friendly and one of them was shaded

– Childrens’ adventure playground is set in sand so no need to worry about any accidents

– On-site supermarket offers a wide choice of baby essentials including formula, nappies, swim nappies etc. and a wide selection of toys and water floats to choose from

– Football and tennis academy with regular classes

Football Academy Aphrodite Hills

Football Academy

Football Academy Aphrodite Hills

Football Academy

– The Haagen Dazs shop!

Kids Travel Lite  hiring facility

– Plenty of beaches within a short drive away.

I actually found that the beach was the easiest place to keep my 11 month old son safe and occupied. As he is not walking he was able to crawl around to his hearts content and loved discovering and playing with the sand. He was also a keen water baby and so loved crawling into the sea too.

Pissouri Bay

Jack on the beach at Pissouri Bay

Daddy & Jack

Daddy & Jack

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Harry & Krishna’s funny faces

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Happy Jack

Ice-cream & pancakes at Haagen Dazs

Yummy ice-cream & pancakes at Haagen Dazs!

Aphrodite Hills has given me two brilliant and memorable family holidays. In fact it has been both of my sons first holidays abroad which means we’ll have some pretty special photos to look back on. Although I might find it difficult working out which one is which given that the two boys look so similar and they have both shared the same clothes!

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Clare Robinson – A Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

One of the many joys of having children is capturing all those amazing moments on camera. Like many of us today, I use the camera on my iPhone and there is nothing I love to do more than look back at all the pictures I have taken of my two boys. However nothing compares to photographs being taken by a professional.The quality they are able to achieve is well worth the investment.

We first met Clare when she came to take some snaps of Harry’s Christening, she came highly recommended by my Auntie who kindly gifted us a two hour photography session with her. It was such a lovely gift and one we were very much looking forward to using. So in Summer 2014, not long after Jack was born, we arranged for Clare to come to our house to capture some photos of the boys together. We decided to do the photo shoot at home as we thought the boys would be more comfortable in their own environment and because we wanted our photos to have a true personal feel.

Clare has a natural approach and clearly enjoys what she does. She made us feel completely at ease and was incredible patient with us, especially our highly energetic then 2 year old who didn’t want to be told what to do that day! Clare uses a mixture of 35mm film and digital photography, although she confesses to favouring film shots herself due to the element of surprise you get when they are processed. Truth be told, after Clare left we felt a little deflated, we were exhausted with trying to engage both boys and we honestly felt like it had been an impossible task capturing any decent images. However, we were completely blown away when we saw the end results. Clare hand delivered all the images on a USB for us to keep, we could then flick through and order any prints directly from her. We had a great time looking through all the images, we were genuinely surprised and over the moon with how many quality photos there were and nearly all of them were framers! We now have some wonderful photos to treasure and they already take pride of place in our living room!

Here are some of our favourite pics!

Claire Robinson Photography

Claire Robinson PhotographyClaire Robinson Photography045Claire Robinson PhotographyClaire Robinson PhotographyClare Robinson Photography                      

If you are thinking of investing in some high quality family photos or looking for someone to photograph a special occasion then we highly recommend Clare. In fact we have asked Clare to photograph Jack’s Christening this Summer so we can add to our collection!

For more information and to see more of Clare’s work click here.

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Captain Dan Tastic… Friendly, Fun and Fantastic!

Ahoy there…..Looking for a pirate entertainer for your child’s birthday party, then look no further! We hired Captain Dan Tastic for our son’s 3rd birthday party and were blown away with how successful the party was and how much our son and his friends, both boys and girls, enjoyed the show.

Captain Dan & Harry

Having to organise our first proper party for 15 kiddies, I think I was a little disillusioned as to how much entertainment the children needed. I thought a few games of musical bumps and some balloon making would go down a treat….Thankfully my husband disagreed with me and suggested we get a professional in so I started my research. Harry wanted a pirate party and Captain Dan Tastic was relatively easy to find amongst the google searches. After a phone call and a couple of hearty emails Captain Dan was booked and keeping in character all the way through the booking process I was beginning to get more excited than our son!

Captain Dan arrived on time and was set up in minutes. He was armed with a huge array of props including treasure chests, costumes (including a hilarious shark outfit), swords and skulls and had the children completely engaged from the start with his witty pirate accent and  interaction. Our party was primarily children between the ages of 2-4 with a couple of older boys but he was able to engage with all ages including the children who were taken aback at first and needed some time to warm up. He had many tricks up his sleeve and all pirate themes were covered. The children loved the magic tricks and I can honestly say the children were fully entertained for the whole show. Even the parents commented on how much fun they had!

I have never seen our son laugh and enjoy himself as much, seeing him with his friends mesmorised by Captain Dan and his party tricks was just a complete joy to watch. Harry’s highlight was when Captain Dan allowed the children to squirt him with a water gun, the kids loved it. I would not hesitate recommending him to anyone looking for a fantastic kids entertainer. So much so we will definitely use him again in the future.

For more information or to make a booking then visit http://www.captaindantastic.comHarrys PartyHarry Party 3