๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ Pacific Ocean ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ We couldn't leave Peru without me taking my first ever dip in the Pacific Ocean.

It was bloody cold and the waves were huge so I settled for just a paddle.  But it felt great!

After being a bit grumpy (I was worrying about our tsunami exit route) a dip in the sea proper cheered me up.

Miraflores has some great beaches for surfing and their are surf school right on the beach that will sign you up there and then.

I was tempted but didn't fancy trying to squeeze on a wetsuit with an audience. โค๏ธ #pacificocean #oceansoftheworld #ilovethesea #swimallday #familybloggers #travelblog #photooftheday #kidsthattravel #worldschool
๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ Pucara Bulls ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ You'll find miniature versions of this bull all over Peru.  In a variety of colours too.

Some of the houses in the countryside will have two little bulls on the roof.

They arrived in Peru in the early years of the Spanish colony and were originally crafted as a cup.  They would be filled with chicha, a drink made from corn and mixed with blood.  This would be consumed by the priest in a cattle blessing ceremony.

Now, they are used as a blessing to Apus, the Inca mountain god, to bring health, wealth and unity to the owner. โค๏ธ #pucarabull #exploreperu ##travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics
๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ Hot Chocolate and Churros ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ The food in Peru is soooo good!  We didn't have one bad meal and the snacks are incredible.

Dan made it his personal mission to try everything and he did pretty well.  He did go back for seconds on some though, and that held him back.

Anyway, we had read about a place in Miraflores that did hot chocolate and churros and decided it was an absolute must.

Churros are a big thing in Lima.  People sell them everywhere and they are amazing.  But Manolo's is like the best.

You can get 6 churros and a mug of hot chocolate for S/16, which is less than ยฃ4.  Dan and the kids loved them.  Let's face it that drink looks more like melted chocolate. โค๏ธ #manolo #churros #miraflores #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ The Desert ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ I hadn't ever been to the desert before.  And if I'm being completely honest, I didn't know that Peru had any desert.  I'm learning, OK?

It is an amazing place!  We set out early in the morning to climb the sand dunes that surround Huacachina. 
Dan carried Alice but Emily walked to the top of a small peak all by herself.  We were super proud as it was hot and hard work.

We then took it in turns to look after the kids while the other climbed right to the top.

I thought I was going to die.  It was a hard climb.  It got steeper and hotter the closer you got to the top too.  But we both did it.  And boy, was it worth it?! โค๏ธ #explorethedesert #seizetheday #topoftheworld #travelfamily #suitcaselife #kidsthattravel #worldschoolers #worldschooling #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel
๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด Huacachina ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด After a night's stop at Paracas, we boarded another bus (only an hour this time) to Ica.

From Ica, we hopped in a taxi that took us to Huacachina.  A desert oasis!

This is a completely incredible place with a funky little vibe going on.  Surrounded by restaurants and hostels, this is a great place to hang out for a couple of nights.

It was here that we got to stay in our first hostel and we loved it.  It had a gorgeous garden with hammocks and a swimming pool.  It actually felt kinda luxurious.

We also got to catch up with a friends and have a spot of dinner too.  So sophisticated. โค๏ธ #huacachina #exploreperu #desertoasis  #traveltheworld #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง Paracas ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง As part of our stay in Peru, we wanted to get out of Lima and at least explore some of the many amazing things that the rest of the country has to offer.

One of the places we really wanted to go to was Paracas, as from here you can take a boat trip to the Ballastas Islands.

Now the Ballastas islands are excellent!  Home to a shed load of loads, some very rare but also a great place to see sea lions and PENGUINS.

The place was full of sea lions lounging about on rocks.  There were baby sea lions too with mummy sea lions that looked like they just wanted some peace and quiet.

Seeing penguins was a big one for us though, as this was on Emily's bucket list. 
We were all so happy to be able to seeing such beautiful animals living in their natural habitat. โค๏ธ #peru #penguins #ballastas #travelblog #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š Travel stories ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š I'm going to tell you a story now.  I'm writing this and scheduling it to go out later so I'm hoping by the time you read this the story will have an ending.

This is the story about why we bought the kids alpaca wool cardigans.

It starts in the USA, where we managed to gather a small collection of coins.  This included a one cent coin.

Fast forward to our last day in Colombia, where Alice finds this coin on the floor and decides to eat it.  I mean full on swallow it.

This led to major panicking from Mummy and Daddy.  Lots of Googling happened including
โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ Parque de la Reserva โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ I had read about this park before heading to Lima and wanted to check it out.

This park contains 13 water fountains, all of them impressive and many of them interactive.  It holds the world record for the largest water fountain complex.

The kids loved this feature.  A 35m long tunnel that you could walk through and stay fairly dry.

Others include the Fuente Magica which has a jet of water that goes up 80m into the air and the Fuente de los Ninos which is a children's fountain that you can play in.

At night they all light up.  Then the Fantasia fountain comes to life with a light projection show, spanning its 120m length.

We had a magical evening walking around the fountains, drinking coffee and eating churros.  Another must-see in Lima! โค๏ธ #parquedelareserva #lightshow #lima #peru #seetheworld #familytravelin #familytravelers #travelblog #travelwithkids #exploretheworld
๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Huaca Pucllana ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Turns out there's not an emoji for Incan pyramid ruins, so you ended up with that.

Anyway, that's what this is.  Actually, it pre-dates the Inca period (200AD ish) and was a sacred place or place of worship at the time.

We didn't get to do the full tour unfortunately.  Kids were going a bit loopy in the sun, but we did get a pretty good look anyway.

The entire structure is made from mud and is assembled in a bookshelf formation.  The slabs stand on end with small gaps that allow for movement whilst retaining its strength.

It was here that I learnt that Lima has an average annual rainfall of less than 30mm.  Which is lucky otherwise this would have washed away a long time ago.

A great find in the heart of Miraflores, Lima! โค๏ธ #huacapucllana #miraflores #incaruins #exploreperu #loveperu #familytravels #travelphoto #travelblogger #familytravelblog
๐Ÿ‘’๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘œ Inka Market ๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘’ Immediately on arrival in Peru, I had a huge urge to spend all my money on brightly coloured clothing and accessories made from alpaca wool.

Therefore, we had to head to Inka Market.  This colourful market is an absolute must see in Miraflores.

Emily loved it!  She borrowed Dan's phone and wandered around snapping pictures of everything she liked.

The bag in this picture was a particular favourite early on and she kept talking about it.

The shop owners kept enticing us in by shoving knitted hats on the kids, scarves around my neck and generally waving around toy llamas.

I loved it!  I nearly spent all of my money there and then bought a ticket home.  It was beautiful!

If you are heading there my advice would be to take cash and remember that the prices are VERY flexible.

SPOILER ALERT:  We went back and got Emily the bag the next day! โค๏ธ #inkamarket #perusouvenirs #alpacas #photooftheday #lima #kidsofinstagram #travelfamily #familiesaroundtheworld #worldschoolers
๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ Painting in the park ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ After our initial walk down to the sea, we decided to explore the parks closer to our apartment.

Turns out the park is brilliant.  As well as being a place for local artists to sell their work, food stalls to dispense delicious treats and cats to wander freely, there is a play area for kids.

We all sort of lost our minds at finding this play area.  We hadn't visited a proper play area since Central Park in New York.

This park has swings and slides, climbing frames and seesaws and, of course, those wibbly wobbly horse things.

On top of that, it had some added bonuses.  Our favourite was that you could do painting in the park.

A couple of (rather entrepreneurial) women had set up some easels and had a selection of pictures that the children could paint.

For S./5 (a little more than ยฃ1), the kids sat and painted happily for the first time in a long time.

We had such a lovely evening watching our kids just be kids. โค๏ธ #kidsbeingkids #kidsaroundtheworld #familytravel #familytravelbog #advetnuretravel #slowtravel #letkidsbekids #lima #peru #miraflores

Teaching our kids to swim

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

We have paid out A LOT of money over the last four years to get our kids to learn to swim.ย  The figure is definitely in excess of ยฃ1,000.

 

I started taking Emily to lessons when she was just 7 weeks old.ย  As much as I loved our swimming lessons, there wasnโ€™t a lot of swimming going on.

 

Once I went back to work, the lessons trailed off and we started taking her as and when we had the opportunity.ย  It was great to be able to swim together as a family.

 

When Alice arrived on the scene, I didnโ€™t have enough hands to take them both swimming so I would wait until Dan was off and we would all go together.

 

It was only when Emily started nursery, I went back to work and we suddenly had a bit more of a routine that we started up swimming lessons again.

 

Over the last year, our girls have had a swimming lesson once a week and random family trips to a public pool.ย  Both have always been confident in the water and their lessons really helped them to develop that.

A month of gym membership

In the month that we spent staying with my parents, before setting off on our travels, we paid for a four-week gym membership.ย  During this time, we took the kids swimming every day bar a handful of times.

 

The impact on her water confidence and swimming ability was huge.ย  Suddenly, the girls went from being average swimmers for their age to outstanding.

 

Emily went from needing armbands to stay up and a lot of encouragement to be able to swim short distances on her own.

 

On top of this her ability to swim underwater improved too.ย  She was now able to swim with her head in the water for good distances.

 

Plus, she started practising diving underwater.ย  She would push herself off from the side and swim down to the bottom.ย  Sometimes she would need a little help, but she was starting to figure it out on her own.

 

Alice gained massively in confidence too.ย  Usually nervous to jump in from the side at her lesson, now she thought it was the best game ever.

 

In addition, she was learning to swim short distances with her head underwater and no armbands.ย  She was like a fish!

 

Swimming in Florida

We always knew that our time in Florida would do wonders for developing the kidsโ€™ swimming.ย  We werenโ€™t wrong about that.

 

Access to a private pool

We were so fortunate to have access to a private pool during our three weeks in Orlando, Florida.ย  When we first arrived, it was a fight to make Emily put her swimming costume on before jumping in.

 

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Again, we had the chance to swim every day and this time for hours every day.ย  Emily absolutely loved it, and we had to bribe her most days to get her to come indoors and put some clothes on.

 

During our time there, Emily went from confident to super confident and super competent.ย  We almost became a bit complacent, because she is now so good at swimming that we forget that she is actually only four years old.

 

Emily also perfected her surface diving.ย  After sporadic attempts at this back in the UK, she now loves diving down to the bottom of the pool.ย  We have a selection of dive toys for her to practise with.

 

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When we arrived in Florida, Alice seemed to have lost all her water confidence.ย  She was reluctant to go in the water at all.ย  She preferred sitting on the edge and didnโ€™t even want to put her swimming costume on sometimes.

 

However, over the three weeks, she gradually warmed to it again, and now super confident and genius little swimmer Alice is back.

 

With a swift push to the bottom, she will grab a dive toy and then swim her way back up to the surface.ย  She will jump off the side and swim over to you without fear.ย  Sheโ€™s a complete liability though, so we must watch her constantly.

 

Typhoon Lagoon

As part of our Disney tickets, we had access to the water park Typhoon Lagoon.ย  I love water parks so was super excited to go, but apprehensive about how the kids would respond.

 

Well, I can say that Disney does water parks just as well as they do theme parks.ย  It was perfectly set up for families with differing levels of ability.

 

Emily thought it was the best place in the WORLD!ย  She loved it so much that she made us go three times in the two weeks.

 

She loved the slides, the huge wave machine that would knock her off her feet, the kidsโ€™ section Ketchakiddee creak with its little kids’ rapid ride and the huge family rapid rides too.

 

This brave little girl wanted to do it all.ย  She even got upset when she was too short to go on some of the more exhilarating flumes.

 

Cocoa Beach

I am going to write an entirely separate post about our day at Cocoa Beach because we had so much fun.ย  It was fantastic to see Emily using her water skills in the sea.

 

I’m a huge lover of swimming in the ocean and it is exciting for me that the girls are enjoying it too.ย  We are trying to swim in as many different seas and oceans as we can over the next year.

 

Jumping in the waves and running along the sand is one of life’s joys, so I’m glad that our first beach visit of this trip was a success.

 

Kids and swimming

Will I get my kids lessons when we get home?ย  Of course!ย  Their technique is terrible.ย  Ha!ย  But I really do think that the best thing you can do for your children to improve their swimming is to take them on holiday.

 

The regular and consistent exposure to water has done absolute wonders for our two.ย  It is a skill that they will have for the rest of their lives.ย  I hope that they will always find immense joy in the water!

Many of us want our kids to grow up as good swimmers. We have spent a fortune on lessons but look at where they are now.

Disclaimer:ย  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.ย  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.ย  Read the full disclaimerย here.

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Welcome to Our Adventurehood; we’re the Jessops!

Join us as we travel the world.ย  Starting in the USA, before heading to South America, Southeast Asia and more.

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