Venus Beach Hotel Review

We recently returned from our much anticipated family holiday to Cyprus and stayed at Venus Beach Hotel, a 5* hotel with a 5* service.

Prior to searching for hotels for our vacation in Cyprus, myself and my husband had only stayed either self-catering or bed and breakfast and hadn’t spent too much time looking for the ‘perfect’ holiday home as ‘cheap and cheerful‘ was good enough for us being a couple without children and we rather enjoyed exploring the country, food and scenery more than what the hotel could offer us.

Now with 2 young children, things were different and safety, comfort & great food were now our top priorities as we would be spending majority of the time at the hotel and only exploring during the day. Therefore we decided to go half-board and booked our holiday location and hotel with On The Beach

My first thoughts from the photos was that the scenery was beautiful and the hotel grounds clean and modern looking with a gorgeous overlook of the beach and hotel pool area. The hotel rooms looked well sized (as we needed a family room for the 4 of us) with modern decor and an added balcony with a sea view. I showed it to my husband who also approved and we booked with a deposit and paid weekly until the rest of the balance was finally paid off.

Arrival

We arrived to the hotel after an hour delay at around 11pm (Cypriot time) and we’re all very tired from the journey but also excited to be spending our first night in our holiday home. We had been dropped off using a private taxi service (which I highly recommend as it only took about 15-20 minutes to arrive)

Once I had gone inside to let reception know we had arrived I was amazed by the beauty of the chandeliers, the high ceilings and the attention to modern art on the walls and staircase. Myself and my husband knew we had made the right choice in those split seconds and my optimism grew even further.

The man on reception (I didn’t remember to take his name) was very polite and called someone to come and take our bags and also offered us some cold orange juice, after sorting out all the paperwork they offered us a free ‘lunch voucher’ to use at any time during our stay as we had already missed dinner; after telling us our room number we eagerly went to our room with our bags following via room service.

We were greeted to a bright and spacious room with 2 single beds pushed together plus a separate single bed and a cot. Nia-Mae enjoyed having her own bed and I was glad that there was enough room for myself and Josiah without half my body hanging off the bed. I chose not to use the cot as I didn’t want to wake up throughout the night to give him night feeds. Even with all of the furniture around there was still space for 4 of us to move around without feeling too over-crowded. We had been lucky to get a sea-view and the night time scenery was magical with lots of lights and an array of a deep blue from the pool and sea. It was perfect and we all slept very well on our first night!

Food

Breakfast was served from 7am-10am which was perfect for us as it gave us all enough time to be showered and ready in order to enjoy a good amount of time eating without feeling rushed.

We had a selection of buffet style food that served fruit, yogurts, cereal and fried breakfast. The choices were amazing and there was something for all of us (including Josiah who was recently BLW) Everything tasted wonderfully especially my selection of fruit and strawberry yogurt for starters followed by my fry-up of eggs, sausages, beans and crepes drizzled with maple syrup. My husband loved the same fried breakfast with added omelettes and Nia-Mae & Josiah rotated between fruit with strawberry yogurt and crepes with maple syrup. The drinks were bottomless which served either orange, apple or grapefruit juice as well as water. There was also a selection of Cypriot flavoured teas (but I found this tasted differently to what I was accustomed to and I missed my English breakfast – which they didn’t serve or my regular herbal teas)

Dinner was served from 7pm-10pm and was additionally just as delicious as the breakfast buffet choices; served in the same way there was so much to choose from with a different theme each night. My favourite theme was Cypriot and Italian and I loved getting food from the ‘live kitchen’ where you choose from a variety of pastas, toppings and sauces that are fried right in front of you by a chef! It was fantastic to see the flames of the pan rise in the night sky and the aromas from the delicacies being prepared for your impatient taste buds.

If we ended up having rooms in our bellies from all the food we demolished, we again were spoilt for choice from a buffet selection of desserts. My particular favourite was a strawberry cheesecake that was served on Italian Night (which I regretfully didn’t get extra servings off!) I could talk about how delicious the food was throughout the rest of the blog and writing this just takes me back to eating all the different flavours with the gorgeous palm trees blowing in the cool breeze with the sight of the all the oranges and yellows from the slow sunset which then turned into night sky accessorised perfectly with the bright shining diamond-like stars.

I definitely ate lots while we stayed the week there and even put on half a stone because I just couldn’t resist going back for more! Along with the gorgeous weather, this was definitely my best thing about the hotel and we are very grateful to the hard working chiefs, waiters and waitresses for their excellent service.

Scenery

There really isn’t enough words to describe the scenic views that we saw for the week. Pictures don’t do it justice to how beautiful it looked and the atmosphere around the pool was so fun and inclusive. From families and wedding parties, to couples and individuals the hotel catered for everyone. The smell of sun tan lotion, the sounds of splashes from the pool and the taste of dripping ice-cream and ice cold bottled water will always be my happy memories of Venus Beach Hotel!

Service

The staff and service was 10/10, they always went the extra mile for you and always greeted you with either a smile or hello. This really was a bonus to our stay as sometimes the lack of customer service can let the stay of accommodations down but all the staff were so hard working and helpful, it made the stay with young children that tiny bit easier. Especially on our last day when our checkout was 12 noon but the flight wasn’t until 10:45pm! Once breakfast was over we were given another room to stay in until it was time to leave free of charge, this definitely helped with that final prep before departure. We also used our free lunch voucher at around 2:30pm which came in very handy as it carried us over (with the addition of snacks) until our private taxi arrived to pick us up for the airport.

This is Skevi Nikolaou (Guest Relations Manager) who provided a very friendly and approachable customer service and always with a smile!

We would definitely recommend staying at Venus Beach Hotel if coming to Cyprus, they are even opposite a Lidl which we often visited for our munchies around the pool or balcony seats at the bar area.

I would say that the only thing we expected more of was evening entertainment (especially for younger children); even though they had a Kids Club, Nia-Mae was too young for this and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone without anyone she knew. My feelings are that it would have made our evening meals a lot smoother with young children having evening hotel entertainment on our sides.

Despite this thank you so much to all those that helped to make our stay the wonderful experience it was and we can’t wait to revisit again in the near future!

*This was not an ad and I genuinely wanted to write a review about the positive stay myself and my family had. All opinions and accounts stated are my own.

The Evolution Of Instagram

Social media has taken the masses by storm and is seen as unusual if you aren’t a part of a social network whether it be Instagram, Facebook or Twitter; communicating to others through photos and statuses is the new norm and for many of us as mothers can be a helpline in a sometimes very lonely journey.

For me Instagram started out as a platform where I mostly connected with friends I knew in ‘real life’ but a new world was opened up when I started my business Picture This Decor just after giving birth to Nia-Mae. It was wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded mumpreneurs that seemed to emphasise with the daily battle and balance of building a small business, raising children and taking care of a home. I soon found a tight knit community and grew my account with many loyal customers that have helped keep my small business standing and growing from strength to strength.

Not long after opening my Instagram business account I was introduced into the world of ‘Brand Reps and Enthusiasts ‘ and this concept was so foreign to me but something I definitely wanted to be a part of. I had already started an Instagram account for Nia-Mae, with the sole purpose of posting photos as a visual diary but there were so many lovely ‘Instagram handmade shops’ that while being on maternity leave baby clothes shopping was the only logical thing to pre-occupy my time (along with Netflix bingeing)

We were soon part of a few brand rep and enthusiasts teams with some beautiful handmade clothes and bow shops. Myself and Nia-Mae found it fun and a special way to bond dressing up and taking photos while I also formed many friendships as a result of this which is so reassuring that you can have that support without judgment.

Here are some of the Instagram shops we were honoured to rep for:-

Little Bowhemians

Too Much Cute U.K.

Baby Haute Couture

Grace Elizabeth Designs

Arias Boutique

Evie Et Al

Coral And Sky

Nia-Mae loved putting on her outfits and modelling in front of the camera

Motherhood and life are generally busy enough but also adding Instagram in the mix and it can get pretty chaotic and stressful (if you allow it) I was getting busier in my business and growing another play mate for Nia-Mae which became so exhausting that social media and the love of taking beautiful photos was the last thing on my mind so I rightly prioritised and concentrated on my business and personal page and took a step back from Nia-Mae’s page and the world of brand repping.

Although I would still scan through the page to keep up with the latest trends from Insta handmade shops, time went really quickly and before you know it over a year had passed since being active on her page; Josiah was here and I wanted to get back to what I’d loved and missed which was taking photos of my babies. So with a new name change along came Grace Has Found Me and I concentrated in trying to engage with my followers that had remained loyal in my absence plus find new accounts to interact with. But how so much had changed in that space of time and along with Instagrams new algorithms it was so hard for me to see the pages I wanted to see and for others to see mine. I quickly had to learn that it was now the world of ‘Pod and Engagement Groups’ for you to really be noticed and although accounts were still active in brand reps and enthusiasts there was something new called Influencing where Instagram accounts that have good reach and engagement rates are given the opportunity to work with various brands to advertise everyday products that are used while also promoting them to their target audiences; resulting in better awareness and marketing for that brand. In exchange for the advertising of a brands product or service these will be ‘gifted’ to various accounts which acts as a payment for promoting the product/service on their page or likewise some brands actually pay accounts in exchange for advertisement and promotion to ‘real audiences’.

Since being active I have managed to work with some wonderful brands and have been so grateful to receive gifted items that I would have most likely bought (or wanted to buy) in assistance as a Mum or generally in my lifestyle.

Here are some of the brands that we luckily have managed to work with:-

Gummee Teething

Twist Shake Baby

Lollipop Baby Camera

Ziggle UK

Snugglebundl

These items are things that are used in our every day life and routine and although the items were gifted all opinions and reviews are my own.

Instagram has created so many platforms and new opportunities that I’m really grateful and blessed to have and although it can also be access to ‘keyboard warriors’ and ‘internet trolls’ I have aimed to focus on the positive outcome. As we continue to grow as an account, a family and myself as a wife and mother I aim to use Instagram as a positive platform and evolve to be the best version of myself!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and look out for future exciting collaborations coming from Grace Has Found Me!

A Day Out At Greenwich Maritime Museum

On Saturday 6th April we had a family day out in Greenwich to visit the Maritime Museum. It was lovely to be able to spend the day out as a family with the kids as this is something that we tend to struggle balancing with our busy schedules but definitely intend to do more often.

The Maritime Museum is a place where you can discover the history and treasures behind the associations with the sea and navigation which helps you to understand how these events help shape and change the world we live in today.

The museum itself is free entry and consists of 2 floors with lots to see with the layout being split into various wings allowing easier navigation. It is very child friendly including those with babies and buggies; with easy and spacious access to lifts.

We didn’t get to see everything (as we were with extended family members so had to be sensitive of their time) but was fascinated and entertained by all the painting, figures and activities that we participated in. We walked around and visited 3 main areas which was The Cutty Sark Figure Heads, Sea Things, Polar Worlds and lastly The Great Map/Great Map Café.

Cutty Sark (Figureheads and Decoration)

Cutty Sark is home to the largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads in the world.

Figureheads are the carved wooden sculptures that decorate the prows of sailing ships. It was thought to be that the figure heads were the spirit of the vessel and offered the crew protection from harsh seas and safeguarding their homeward journeys.

The superstitions of the figurehead meant that the crew would go to great lengths to protect it with most figureheads being ‘females’ probably because of ships being referred to as ‘she’ and as women were not often allowed to board the ships, the figurehead could have been a representation of the sole company on a ship.

We enjoyed leisurely walking around and looking at all the different types of colourful figureheads. There was lots of space for all of us so it didn’t feel overcrowded with a buggy and Nia-Mae also had room to explore.

Sea Things

Sea Things allows the experience of visual spectacles of over 600 objects, where you can also get involved in hands-on-activities such as a maritime personality quiz and interactive share and discovery Maritime memories. Many of the objects are open display so you get to observe and touch close up.

We didn’t get to experience everything in this gallery as there was so much to see and everyones attention span was different with it being a larger group but this is definitely something we would want to participate in at a future date and would recommend for a family with children especially the interactive part.

Polar Worlds

The Polar regions have been a focus for British exploration and scientific enquiry for centuries and continues to do so especially with the era of climate change. This also paved the way for mythical characters and hero’s, where some were lost and some carry on today.

It was lovely to see all the paintings and videos capturing the cold and dangerous climates that explorers bravely faced. Yet being amazed how communities survive in freezing conditions and observing some of the Arctic and Antarctic wildlife.

The Great Map

Lastly we visited the Great Map area where there was a huge floor atlas which you can explore the world, join in with events and play interactive games for children of all ages with it all being free!

Nia-Mae enjoyed using the tablet that allowed her to explore different parts of the world while going on her voyage searching for requested treasures.

There was also 3 toy ships where children could play around on them independently or assisted by an adult by being pushed on the floor atlas (like Nia-Mae was by her daddy)

It was also a way for us all to relax, and for me to feed Josiah with lots of space for his buggy as the Great Map is located next to the Great Map Café where you can sit while kids play all within eyesight.

There was so much more to explore and experience and this is something that can easily be a whole day out. We would definitely want to come back and look at the other areas that we didn’t get a chance to see.

Thank you for having us Greenwich Maritime Museum!

The World Of A Mumpreneur 

Hey everyone! So it’s currently pouring down with rain, my daughter is content playing and I’ve decided to take a break from my orders today but only because I need more supplies but while I have that opportunity I thought I’d catch up with blogging…

It has been super hard juggling so many balls in the air including blogging but I’m going to continue doing my best because I find this therapeutic; like writing in a diary only that it’s viewed publically! 

Today I’m going to write my quickly my experiences on how I’ve found it so far being a ‘mumprenuer’ as the popular term is at the moment. 

For those of you that are not aware I started my small business just before the new year called Picture.This Frame (for some reason the link isn’t working) but the web address is 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/picturethisframeshop

I unexpectedly found I had a creative side which was birthed while looking for personalised Christmas presents for my family members on behalf of my daughter. I wanted to get them personalised frames that they could put their photographs in as they don’t live close so don’t get to see her often. 

While late at night an idea popped into my head that I could make them myself although I have no prior skill in art or craft at all! I searched materials and embellishments that I liked and put something together which actually turned out decent. My husband was also impressed and I started seeing what other frames I could create and the idea grew from there! I bravely set up an Instagram account and an Etsy shop and the outcome has astonished me so much from all the positive feedback, praise and encouragement from the publc. 

It has been 3 months since this all began and the journey has been a hard but exciting one so far, thankfully I have a daughter who is in an established routine so I currently work around her sleep times and occasionally when she is content playing by herself but due to all my frames being handmade myself this takes a considerable amount of time and I take pride in my work being a perfectionst that each frame has to be exactly the way the customer wants; resulting in an average time of 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time per frame (dependant on the design) but if I am working around Nia-Mae then this is obviously longer. 

I sit here smiling to myself thinking its actually funny that I was adamant that I could never do anything creative or have the will power or drive to run my own business and although this is small beginnings I have already learnt many lessons along the way in what works and doesnt work through the kind words and advice from other business owners and also social media being a powerful and main platform for reaching my clientele. 

I have great respect for all those that have created and grafted their business from scratch because although I enjoy what I do there have already been frustrating times where ive felt to pack it all in! Multi-tasking is difficult to master in this business and I personally I think especially for a mother who has her own business as this does not remove her title or duties and for myself I am also a wife with a husband that needs my attention…

As I work from my dinning room table I often look over towards the direction of my husband and daughter and feel guilty for not spending my evenings with them. I do my best to fulfil my orders at the beginning of the week so to have as much free time for my family as possible but this is still a working practice! But I am a firm believer of quality over quantity so when I do catch up on family time it is throughly enjoyed… 

My dream is one day being able to have this as my full time job having the comfort of working from home, setting my own hours and even choosing to work in my PJ’s with the washing machine as background noise if I want! But I now currently take all the experiences I can in order to nuture my God given gift into providing special and personlised keepsakes and decor for homes and events. I am so excited to what the future holds and pray that I have an abundance of ideas and that my creativity never funs dry. 

I am deeply humbled that people would want to purchase something I have made and place it in thier homes and it is the positive reviews and feedback from customers and supporters that keeps me going through the early morning starts to the late night finishes! 

Lastly but not at all leastly I want to say A BIG THANK YOU to all my customers because by  supporting my small business you make it that much more achieveable in reaching my dreams!!! 

You can follow Picture.This Frame on-

Instagram:- @picture.this__xo

Facebook:- @picture.thisframe2

 


Women Empowerment

So over the past couple of weeks I’ve really been inspired to start a few new projects… one of them being blogging and another tapping into my artistry and beginning a hobby/craft/small business (whatever it may agument into) 

Im not gonna lie, this may seem like a minor accomplishment to others but for myself 

I’m really coming out of the boat and treading on foreign water!!!

Now in the past, I have tried to be supportive and encouraging the best way I can but like everyone else have miserably failed when friends have launched projects, dreams and business ventures and with a hint of green in my heart wish that I could be brave enough to begin such accomplishments. This has led me to question…

“Why is it so hard to show genuine support to our family and friends but easy enough for the stranger whom we follow on social media??!”

Please don’t get it twisted as I’m not saying supporting this way is wrong and is definitely needed and commended but I do believe that there’s somthing powerful in knowing a person’s journey, witnessing their struggles, set backs and falls to then see them victorious and purged like gold! Recently I have been making a conscious effort to whole-heartedly support those that I know in events or business projects almost as if it were my own vision or dream; I’m not naive in thinking that every product or event can be attended but a few words of encouragement and affirmation can really go the distance and this is what we should practise in empowering other women. 

 

I really agree with the above statement but also know that while healthy competition is good, a necessity at times it shouldn’t be at the detriment of bringing others down so that we ourselves can succeed. If this is the case then serious assessment over our character should be done. We should practise

“Monitoring our hearts, motives, our insecurities and relationships”

When we honestly do this, only then can we access whether we are genuinely being an asset to our friends and family… or are we being roadblocks??! 

It can not be healthy secretly being hopeful in the downfall of people’s successes especially for those we call our ‘loved ones’ something is disturbingly erroneous! 

Let’s not be these women… let’s be the loudest cheerleaders we can!!! An assistant to the platform of others success!