Thursday, 18 July 2019

Tel Aviv with Toddlers Part 2 - Brunch and Cafes

Brunch and Cafes in Tel Aviv

Brunch is big deal in Tel Aviv, no matter what day of the week it is you will always see the cafes full and on weekends in particular friends, families and couples all meet to spend lazy mornings and afternoons eating and drinking away. Most restaurants have large outdoor dining areas, often bigger than the actual restaurant itself, but with all the amazing weather why would you want to sit inside.

A traditional Israeli breakfast/brunch usually consist of fried eggs, salads, houmous, yoghurt and a large bread basket. All washed down with fresh juice and coffee.

The majority of restaurants and cafes here do not offer children's menus, at first this seemed a little strange to me since every other person we walked past had a pushchair or small child with them. However it soon became clear the reason they do not have a separate menu is because they often just share or eat with their parents. In the case of brunch, this is often very large and includes a big bread basket and several sides. It was always more than enough for the kids to share with us, even with me being a bread monster. Most restaurants do have high chairs but no baby changing facilities, we often just changed the little one in her pushchair on a portable changing mat. 

My favourite brunch restaurants:


Starting with Benedicts, this is somewhat of an institution in tel Aviv, with several branches around the city. It’s success has grown from the need of party goers wanting to enjoy a delicious hearty breakfast late at night and early in the morning before heading home to sleep of the hangover. Although it is open 24 hours a day, we chose to visit during the hours of daylight for brunch. Probably one of the largest menus I saw in Tel Aviv, with options for all day breakfasts, pancakes, main meals and even a kids menu. I chose the shakskula eggs, utterly delicious and with just enough spice to make my lips tingle whilst leaving me wanting more of it. Mr S went for a giant croissant filled with a beef burger and topped off with a gherkin, which for him was the perfect way to start the day. The kids loved the bread basket and fluffy pancakes. This is one of the restaurants that I have visited that I wish makes it international and opens up in London soon.


Salva Vida

Salsa Vida, the beachfront location and classic menu is why this place made my short list. The fresh ingredients used to produce a breakfast made with love. I went for the Melbourne option from the menu, whilst Mr S kept it simple and went for biggest option available. The kids just shared with us and feasted on the fresh breads and scrambled eggs.

Lehem VeShoo/ Bread & Co 

We visited Lehem VeShoo on the weekend and had to wait around 30 minutes for our table, showing how popular this place is. We shared a full breakfast alongside a courgette omelette, which to be honest only played second fiddle to all the baked goods on offer. We even ended up buying a full babka from the in house bakery as just one fix wasn’t quite enough. This was our final meal before our flight back and what struck me the most was how no one was in any rush to move here, leisurely enjoying their coffees and brunch.
Whereas I feel in London we are always just rushing from one thing to another, even at weekends. Maybe the food wasn’t extra delicious but my actually taking the time to enjoy it we could appreciate it more ( it was still delicious too ).



Cafes and Bakeries

Java Burger

A brief stop for coffee, a feed, cucumber juice and french toast. Making sure all members of the family where happy and catered for. The eclectic decor being very typical of the local neighbourhood cafes.

Rothschild Kiosk 

All along Rothschild Boulevard and coffee kiosk, filled with office workers grabbing a drink before rushing back and also locals enjoying their drinks and gossip in much more leisurely fashion. We kind of fit in between those two, with only a short window to drink our coffee before one of the kids wandered off. 

Aboelafia Bakery 

A very iconic old bakery and located in the centre of Jaffa, however much more a grab and go place rather than a sit down place, we grabbed a donut for the walk down to the port.



I also researched several others which stood out to me, however we did not get a chance to visit them. 

Lala Land
Hotel Montefiore
Cafe Xoho
Manta Ray

Check out the rest of this travel series:

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Travel Snack Ideas for Kids, Toddlers and Babies

Full Bellies are Happy Bellies

For me, one of the keys to travelling with happy kids is to make sure you are always fully stocked in the snack department. I find this is especially important when we travel further afield on long haul flights and to more remote locations. Everyone that travels with me always  knows that I will come prepared with half a suitcase of goodies, and you never know when they will come in handy.

On our trip to Kenya a few years ago, we landed at Nairobi airport just as it started raining, which meant a normal transfer time of 45 minutes to our hotel quickly changed to a 4 hour transfer. Luckily I had plenty of snacks in my hand luggage to keep us going and the little one actually just slept for this entire journey. 

Plane Journeys

My kids, even if it is a pre ordered kids meal tend to not really eat much on the plane. We always feed them before take off but the majority of our flights are long haul, and flying through time zones mean I always like to be prepared with lots of options for them to snack on. With regards to airport and airline security, I have never had any issue taking snacks, milk, water or fruit on board when travelling with the kids, they may do some extra levels of testing but I have never been refused when carrying anything. As they are older now, and we try to cut back on plastic consumption we tend to take our own water bottles on the plane, last time these were filled to the max for the car journey and we forgot to empty them out before security but they happily let us empty them out and then refill after security. I tend to always pack liquids and pouches separately so I can quickly pull them out along with our medicine bag. 


Since both of mine were breastfed I would just bring myself on the plane. My oldest, however did have formula from around 10 months so I always just travelled with a few bottles of ready made formula, much easier than making up the powder version.With my youngest she just moved straight onto cows milk, which is actually slightly harder to have on board. On long haul flights, either I will fill up a flask with warm milk from a coffee shop before boarding, there is often milk on board the plane too but it might be too cold to help aid sleep and end up waking them up more. This also depends on the airline, for example Easyjet do not have any milk on board.
Image result for paw patrol milk
I have also taken these great cartoons of long life milk on board when they are older toddlers, but they aren’t the easiest to find.
The best place to find them is Morrison’s, Asda and Poundland. 

Food Snacks

Pouches are a great snack and I always make sure I have a few of these in my bag, whether this is travelling to an exotic location or just going to our local park.
Fruit - I will grab a banana, apple and cut up some grapes, strawberries etc too. Just remember to take these items out before you land in certain countries.
Dry Snacks- Cheerios, popcorn, pom bears, biscuits, raisins, all those ridiculously expensive packets of fruit in various forms we feel we need to buy for our kids are truly worth it when it keeps them entertained for 20 minutes on the plane.
If it is a very long day flight, I’ll also grab a few sandwiches from the airport for them to have too just in case the bread roll and cheese from the plane food is not up to their standard.
Popcorn is always a favourite, especially when they settle in to watch one of their favourite movies. 
Cereal bars - good alternative to breakfast, although this is one meal they normally eat most of, especially the fruit and yoghurt. 
Favourites - this is the start of their holiday and as long as you know the treats won’t have them bouncing off the plane walls, their favourite biscuits or sweets can work like magic to prevent any wars that may break out in the air. 

Resort Holidays

Once a year, we tend to do a classic all inclusive resort based holiday for which I travel with a lot less snacks as I know the kids generally will be happy snacking on fruit, ice cream and French fries during the day. I do still keep some snacks for example I find after bath time, before we go to dinner they are always really hungry and need something to tied them over before our main evening meal. 

Adventure Holidays 

This is the main reason behind doing this post. When we have travelled to India, Kenya, Japan, South Africa and the US; I have always gone very prepared. If you ask Mr S, maybe a bit too over prepared. Kenya, South Africa and the US all involved very long car journeys, these iconic road trips have meant though that food and drink is not always available so having snacks and drinks to hand is a must. 
With Japan and India, plenty of food and snack options are available however they might no always be familiar ones, or taste like snacks the kids are used to and finally we often stay in remote locations, like the amazing Msambweni in Diani, where the nearest supermarket was around a 45 minute drive away. By being prepared it also puts my over planning head at peace too, and I enjoy the holiday and travel much more knowing that I’m all covered on the snack front. 
An example of what I often travel with when we do more off the beaten track holidays is;

  • Long life milk, either for the kiddos to drink straight up, have in cereal or I also often ask for the chefs to use this to make fresh milkshakes.
  • Long life milkshakes - my favourite brand is Happy Monkey. My kids do not like juices, so milkshake and water is the only drinks I take but obviously fruit shoots or even flavoured water if your little ones enjoy these.
  • Croissants/ Brioche - you can often buy these from the supermarkets in individual packets so you can just throw a few into your day bag when you are out and about for the day.
  • Custard - my kids love the stuff and it’s great alternative to ice cream if they get a sore throat on holiday from too many cold drinks and ice lollies.
  • Long life yoghurt - my favourite for this is the GOGO squeeze yoghurts. We first tried this in America and loved them, so I was very happy when I found them in our local Tesco’s. Top tip - they are not located with the baby Ella pouches, but more likely with the dried fruits and custards section.
  • Cereal - my little one loves Coco Pops on holiday, for him that’s the true sign that he is not having breakfast at home. So I either try to take the small individual packets or Poundland also do a small bag of them. For the baby I always take weetabix. Cereal is great for when they wake up in the middle of the night with jet lag, as I find they are easier to get back to sleep on a full tummy. 
  • Savoury snacks - crisps, popcorn, nuts, Veggie straws, which are actually a cheaper and bigger version of the kiddielicous ones. 
  • Sweet snacks - biscuits, cake bars, cereal bars, fruit pouches, rice cakes and dried fruits. 
  • Fresh fruit  - we always encourage them to eat fruit with breakfast and I will often take a few pieces with me for the day too as these make the perfect snack. 
Generally the kids are pretty good eaters so I worry less about their diet when on holiday,  but I feel it always helps to have some of their familiar favourites on the days they do not eat much dinner and also when they wake or sleep at odd times due to the different time zones. 

I do also always try to buy local snacks too, one my favourite things to do on holiday is going to a local supermarket, I just love the adventure of it all ;). California was one of my all time greatest snack hauls, I just loved the petrol stations and huge CVS stores along the way, I would always grab a packet of 'chips', m&m's and cookies. Luckily we had a huge car with a central reservation between the seats big enough to store plenty of my buys.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Lemon and Cardamon Summer Sponge Cake

In my last cake post, I shared my love for my new 5inch cake tins so I had to post another reciepe for them for all those people who took inspiration and purchased these little baby tins.

The recent sunshine and abundance of non waxed lemons in my fridge inspired this light zesty sponge cake, perfect for an after dinner treat served with fresh strawberries or with a cup of tea after a busy day at work.

I love the smell and taste of fresh lemons in this cakes. It reminds me so much of summer, but not as much as sun screen. Especially after having kids and always lathering it on them, the smell of this always reminds me of hot sticky days in the sun shine.

This recipe makes two 5inch cakes.

120g Stork
120g + 1 Tbsp Caster sugar
135g Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp freshly ground Cardamom 
2 Eggs
2 Lemons
80g Icing Sugar

1. Pre heat oven to 160 fan/gas mark 4 and line the baking tins.
2. Beat together stork and caster sugar in a stand mixture for 4 minutes.
3. Meanwhile whisk together two eggs.
4. Zest and juice one lemon.
5. Add eggs mixture, zest and lemon juice and beat for a further 2 minutes.
6. Add flour, baking powder and freshly ground cardamom.
7. Place into  two pre lined cake cases.
8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until cooked through.
9. Whilst the cake is baking, combine and heat the juice of half a lemon with 1 tbsp of caster sugar to form a sugar syrup. 
10. Once the cake is cooked but still warm in the tin, pierce several holes with a wooden skewer and pour over syrup.
11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before placing onto a wire cooling rack.
12. Whilst the cake is cooling, make lemon icing with remaining half a lemon, zest and icing sugar.
13. Pour over cake and enjoy.