An Ad Hoc Guide to Travelling with a Minor

So it seems flights and hotels aren’t your only considerations when you decide to be awesome aunties and take your niece abroad.

No sooner had we received our confirmation emails than the magnitude of what we were taking on hit home.

By ourselves we would have been happy to play fast and loose with travel insurance, pack light, explore all day on foot and eat when we found something we fancied.  It doesn’t seem enough when you have a dote.

EHICSo first up we both responsibly applied for the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).  It’s free to apply and gives you access to state healthcare services throughout Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes even for free. In Denmark’s case – for free. Eims’ card may have come back with an error but even that was easily fixed with a quick call to the NHS. D-Daddy is applying for his, and on his he can add a child.  Peace of mind for free. Continue reading

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An Ad Hoc Guide to Passports

{Phase One of Operation Dote in Copenhagen – 3 months before departure}

A Rummage for Passports

Dotes need their passports renewed every 5 years. Lil D’s has just run out. The UK Passport Agency quotes 3 weeks as the average turn around time for passport renewal but we wanna get in there quick so we can book our flights and hotel with some peace of mind.

The process

  • Quick trip to the Post Office for a Passport Renewal form. Easy.
  • Taking of photographs. Attempt 1 – photo booth. Not so easy.passport 001

Passport photo requirements say that children under 6 don’t need to be looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression but Lil D is 7 and (by the way) totally capable of looking directly and neutrally at a camera if only the photo booth chair would cooperate. Result – Lil D craning her head up into the photo, perched half on the seat, half on her tippy toes. Not a keeper. On to Plan B

Plan B – avail of the local chemist’s passport service. HUGE success.

For barely a few pounds more than the cost of a photo booth you can buy the immediate knowledge that the photos taken will fulfil Passport Agency requirements. Priceless when you’re on a deadline. You also have time to brush your dote’s hair, breathe between shots, ensure your dote’s face is neutral and have complete creative control of the photo you can’t get rid of for 5 years. Next time my passport needs renewed, I’m totally coming back. Continue reading

Travelling with dotes – The beginning of an ad hoc guide

Last year we {aunties} took a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark.⇓

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Best. Decision. Ever.

A New Year’s Resolution to travel more and a childhood fascination with Scandinavia had us looking to the Vikings.  Sweden was the dream (Norwegian fjord cruise the bigger one) but research soon opened our eyes to Denmark.  Direct flights from Dublin at too-good-to-be-missed prices and we took the chance.  Sweet serendipity!

Since our visit (and a subsequent trip to Stockholm) our hearts sing of Copenhagen as our happy place. We recommend it to absolutely anyone who will listen.  Even as we were exploring on our first evening, we had it marked out as a great place to visit with dotes.

The thought resurfaced when we were looking at Lil D’s summer schedule. When we suggested we just do it to Lil D’s daddy, little did we know what obstacles would lie ahead.  Just book the flight and hotel? Noooo, there’s a ton of other stuff to consider. Over the next month, pre-departure, we’re going to pass on what we’ve been finding out.

The road to taking Lil D on holiday may be fraught with new challenges but fingers crossed we’re in for a fairytale ending.

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The {Wee Dotes} Postal Book Swap

Book Swap

Read all about it – our newest little venture is a book exchange 📖 And we’re very excited.  It blends two of our favourite things. Libraries and post! Eims is a total bibliophile and I’m an enthusiastic pen pal. If ever an idea seemed fated, this is it (^-^)

With Book Club well underway it’s become more and more apparent that with kids books we tend to read them once and put them on the shelf. Especially picture books.  It suddenly struck us as only sensible to pass on our favourites to other families, and spread the joy. Eureka💡

Right now we’re playing with the logistics and packaging.  Happy hours spent on moo.com designing some postable extras.  Can’t wait to see the results.

We love the thought of sending books to our friends and family who can then pass them on to others.  Who knows where they will end up! Here’s hoping some preloved stories make their way back to us too.   Fingers crossed for some postal surprises ✉

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Sports Day

Sports Day 002It was Lil’ D’s sports day last week, and I jumped at the chance to cheer on our Lil’ Champ. Expectations were high, thanks to reports from the practice field and the day got off to a good start: rain free!

Having arrived with Lil’ D’s daddy, things looked good as she registered that one of her aunties was present.   A loud exclamation to her friends reverberated across the field- it’s my auntie! Cue everyone turning to see said auntie.  I love surprising her, though it’s ridiculously hard to do, as she will often claim she knew already… psychic dote? Continue reading

Father’s Day

We are the most awesome giftgivers, fact.  Not only does our favourite Father get a membership to the National Trust he gets some homemade apple crumble and cinnamon custard too.

Apple Crumble

Ok, so most of our efforts were theoretical until yesterday, but when you can print temporary passes at home and pull together a dessert that screams Papa with store cupboard staples, more time doesn’t necessarily mean better results. Continue reading

June Book Club

I said a “Fee” and a “Fi” and a “Fo” and a “Fum” we’re about to review The Giant of Jum (by Elii Woollard and Benji Davies).

The Giant of Jum

About a month ago, Bear found a story in the Guardian telling her how to draw a Giant. http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/gallery/2015/may/27/how-to-draw-a-giant 

It turned out not only were the instructions easily followed, the illustrator had been part of the team who wrote this book.

We admit, both us read this one to ourselves and thought, well that was quite sweet, but maybe the rhymes are a bit clunky? The pictures are good though- we specially appreciated the dog who seems to be appearing in all kinds of strange places.

Then we had a dote to read to.  AND oh my, suddenly it makes sense- you read it like a giant would, so that when he talks about eating children, the little one’s shudder in fright.  (Well Lil’ D is quite the actress).  And when the little boy reveals his identity (won’t spoil it) there’s a moment when this could get dark.  It doesn’t, by the way…

Definitely a read out loud kind of book.