Travelling with kids – Alcudian Pins Review

Beach in Alcudia, Spain

Or… Hotels that cater for Swenglish families, and why the Swedes not say sorry when they bump into you.

When you find a hotel that caters for your Swedish❤️English family it makes you so very, very happy. It almost feels like “home from home from home”.

It’s like a beautiful village, filled with your people. You can speak English and Swedish, sing snapsvisor with gusto and bring out all your glorious Swenglish-ness… You could start your day with a wonderful fry up followed by a game of Kubb (and the people around you would totally know the rules) ending it with wine from a tetra pack container.

We sometimes travel with our extended Swedish family and as it happens TUI (former Thomson) also operates in Scandinavia. Bonus!

One of these hotels we’ve found is Alcudia Pins in Playa del Muro, Mallorca Spain. It offered pretty much everything we were looking for. We wanted a child friendly hotel in Spain with a *Bamse kids club, pools, a beach nearby and All Inclusive.

And we knew we wanted a hotel with bilingual reps. It’s so important that my kids are exposed to, and get to practice speaking, Swedish – especially with other kids. Swedish adults tend to switch to English as soon as they hear my kids aren’t native, whereas kids generally won’t. (Mind you, Swedish kids are unbelievably good at speaking English nowadays!)

Alcudia Pins

The hotel delivered on all accounts. As I mentioned above, the reps were amazing and looked after our son so well. He was a bit worried initially but soon got the hang on things. He loved being in Bamse club and having the advantage of being able to speak both languages really boosted his confidence. Whenever there was a word or a phrase he didn’t understand the reps would help him out. I was incredibly proud of him, as it must have been quite daunting, and hard work at times.

The hotel was really clean and hotel staff couldn’t do enough for you. Always smiling and saying hello. I don’t know why, but I find that so important. Staff taking the time to look up and greet you. The hotel room was spacious and had everything we needed. The decor was bit dated perhaps, but it didn’t bother us really. We had a one bedroom apartment, with a lounge area, a kitchenette and comfy beds. Our view wasn’t amazing, (overlooking the road) but it didn’t matter as we didn’t travel abroad to spend time in our hotel room.

Jackson on sun lounger

Alcudia Pins is ideal for families as there is so much on offer. Obviously the pools and the beach are a great draw, but there’s also table tennis, a games room/amusement type games and small rides, a playground, a soft play area – you and your kids will not be bored!

As it’s ideal for Families it is overrun by kids. If you get annoyed by little ones running amok and playing, splashing around and generally being kids then this hotel is not for you.

We ventured out of the hotel a few times and it was a welcome break.

One of the trips was to a really fun acrobatic/circus show called Pirates which I will highly recommend!!

(Unfortunately the transfer was quite long, about an hour or so, and as I’ve mentioned previously my son gets travel sick so… yeah, not great. He ended up wearing a fantastic pirate souvenir t-shirt though so he was happy! Every cloud and all that).

Church in Old Town

We also went into the Old Town and it’s beautiful. The market was amazing – but make sure you haggle. Also, if you end up buying a beautiful brown leather bag, at a great price JUST FOR YOU, beware that it may be camel and will NEVER EVER EVER smell like anything else but camel even though you’ve literally tried anything and everything from newspapers to vinegar to leaving a cloth soaked in bleach inside the bag to actually just leaving it in the garage for months and months to get the smell to go away… Or so I’ve heard anyway. (Ahem)

The restaurants were great and there were many options to choose from. We were All Inclusive with the kind of food which generally caters for everyone. At the pool bar there are the usual suspects, burgers and sausages, jackets with different fillings and the buffet restaurant near reception had a fantastic variety of food to choose from. The themed restaurants are definitely worth a visit as they are table service and is a nice change from the buffet restaurant.

We never had to queue for very long, (albeit it was starting to get busier our second week at the hotel), and there was always plenty of seats in the restaurants. Staff, again, super friendly and helpful.

But – and herein lies a HUGE difference between our beautiful cultures… as it got busier and guests had to interact more due to space limitations – it became very clear that the English and Swedes have two very different ways of approaching certain things in life.

Swedes will happily wait their turn in a queue – as will the Brits. In this we are equal. Swedes will not eat the last meatball on the smörgåsbord, neither would the English eat the last roast potato, but with physical contact, the Swedes show their true Viking colours…

Palm Tree, Old Town

I’ll explain.

In England, if you’re walking down the street, and you’re accidentally bumped into – you apologise.

The person who bumped into you apologises.

Then you apologise again, for, well… having to apologise and the person apologises to you again for having to apologise for having to apologise in the first place. (This goes on for all eternity).

In Sweden it goes like this:

You walk down the road, person bumps into you, they continue walking.

End of story.

Sometimes, if the physical contact is great enough, if they step on your feet/toes say, the person MAY say something like “Oj!”, roughly translated to “whoops”.

My husband really can’t understand this behaviour at all. It’s hard to explain really. Swedes aren’t bothered about it all and it’s not like we don’t say sorry because we’re rude, it’s just… well, one of those lovely little differences.

Alcudia Pins pool, nighttime

The evening performances were great. Obviously geared towards kids and families but the standard was pretty high. We always managed to get a seat and there was a bar right by the stage.

All in all, our two weeks flew by and we had a fabulous time and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

We’re always on the look out for Swedish❤️English hotels so let me know if you’ve been to any recently!

Kram

Jessica

Jackson at Bamse Club

*Bamse is a Swedish cartoon character. He is the strongest and kindest bear in the world. Definitely not a Viking. I think he would say sorry if he bumped into you. Most definitely a Swenglish Bear.

Sweden Day

It’s Sweden day today. Since moving away 17 years ago it’s become a day when I reflect on what it means to me living abroad, away from my friends and family.

For me Sweden is home. It’s family. It’s memories and childhood. It’s running through fields barefoot. It’s going for bike rides with my friends. It’s swimming in lakes on hot summer days. It’s singing in church wearing my best summer dress. It’s picking flowers in meadows. It’s picking mushrooms. It’s going on a boat to the island. It’s Astrid Lindgren and ABBA. It’s Swedish humour and Fika.

Living abroad almost makes you more Swedish. Our traditions become so more important, particularly our holidays. Lucia and Christmas, Midsommar and Crayfish parties. Heck, even Eurovision!

Most memories of Sweden and my childhood are covered with a rosy pink hue. The longer I stay away, the more my memories alter themselves, adding a suitable photo filter.

I know it’s not the reality, but it’s what my brain likes to think is true. Or maybe it’s my heart?

The UK is my home and where I’ve decided to live and raise my children. I’m so happy here and couldn’t ever imagine not living here.

I’m a member of a few “Swedes abroad” groups on Facebook and the conversations are always the same – regardless of what new country we have adopted.

We miss the Swedish summers, we miss being outdoors. We miss how family oriented Sweden is as a country, not only in terms of equal childcare rights, but how everything is child friendly, putting the kids in focus.

We miss the food. Gosh, do we miss the food.

I had a food delivery the other day of foods I love and I could have cried. Unless you’ve lived abroad yourself it’s a hard one to explain fully.

On the whole, I’ve become British. I say sorry when someone bumps into me, I love a queue and will always happily talk about the weather. I cook a pretty mean roast and I drink a lot of tea. I’m polite and open minded – something that’s a bit of oxymoron having lived in London for most of my adult years!

But my core is still Swedish and I miss it sometimes.

Below is a list of very Swedish things:

  1. Swedes love their coffee. 6 cups a day is standard. (Preferably had with nice pastries and/or cinnamon buns.) I love my coffee too, and a proper coffee maker was one of the first things I bought when I moved to London.

  1. You always take your shoes off inside. You wouldn’t wear your coat inside so why your shoes? I don’t get it.

  2. Be bad at small talk. I’m quite good at this actually, but says more about my personality than anything else. I like to talk. A lot. To anyone.

  3. Be direct. The Swedish language is direct and to the point. I struggle with this now as I want to add a “thank you, thanks, please, cheers, ta!” to most sentences.

  4. Only eating sweets (candy) on a Saturday. I used to follow this rule religiously but can’t say that I do anymore. I may revisit it as we eat far too many sweet things generally.

  5. The Swedes love the outdoors and will head out whatever the weather. There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing. I use this quote ALL THE TIME. Just dress according to the weather you’ll be okay.

  1. We love candles. We love them. A lot. Why? Well, you never know when there’ll be a powercut or thunder and lightening. Are you going to IKEA in the near future? Check out their candle department and you’ll see what I mean.

  1. Smörgåstårta is a thing. We serve this at family events; christenings, birthdays and the like. It’s basically a massive club sandwich and it’s beautiful and the best thing ever. The first time I made this for my husband he thought I’d made it as a joke.

So there you have it. Happy Sweden Day everyone. Hope you’re celebrating with a lovely smörgåstårta and a cup of coffee somewhere.

Kram Jessica

Pack up and Go

I love clever packaging. And pretty and interesting packaging. Eco and sustainable packaging. Packaging you can eat, keep and sometimes even wear… You see where I’m going here.


Packaging can make a brand and I’m fascinated. I am buying it. All of it. Pretty much everyone knows what Apple packaging looks like. You know what the box that your iPad or iPhone comes delivered in will look like. Perfume boxes, make up packaging…

I bought a teether from a small independent company called Blossom and Bear recently and the packaging was absolutely beautiful. It looked elegant and exclusive. I went back to their website and bought my friend a gift so she too can experience the pretty packaging. (And the item itself of course!)

Poor packaging can also devalue a product. You can have the best face cream or shampoo in the world but if your packaging is not up to scratch then I ain’t buying.

We missed our flights to Sweden over Easter (curse you M25!!) and had to rebook flights for the following day. I’ve been living in the UK for 17 years and I’ve never missed a flight before.

(Okay. I lie. I did miss a flight in 2003 during my Uni days, but it was because I decided to take the tube during rush hour to Liverpool Street. Big mistake. Huge. As I was a penniless student and couldn’t afford the hotel I had to stay at the airport overnight, sleeping on the freezing cold airport floor. That in itself was an adventure. It was like another world. seriously, the people you meet in those kind of situations. I’ll tell you all about it one day.)

The only available flights were with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from Heathrow to Arlanda. I had promised my parents we’d be home for Easter so we had no choice but to rebook and go. This turned out to be the best silver lining, ever. The whole experience was pretty amazing from check in to the super cool, clean airport lounge to landing in the beautiful city of Stockholm.

The two older kids quickly settled into their flight routine. They’re so used to flying now so they’re happy watching a film on their iPads and then generally have a nap. It was Alfie’s first flight and he aced it. I nursed him at take off and landing and he slept in between – result. The only downside was that, since we booked the night before, and the flight was fully booked, we couldn’t get seat next to each other which was a shame. B and the kids sat together and I had the baby on my lap. However, I had a very nice lady next to me who offered to hold the baby at various point during the flight. We really lucked out!

Mid flight lunch was absolutely delicious and super healthy. Smoked salmon flakes, a squeeze of lemon, buck wheat and crispy kale salad. (I’ve already copied this at home since and it’s so good and easy to make!) And so… Packaging. The salad came served in a CUBE. Inside where different layers and compartments. The cutlery and condiments were all hidden inside the CUBE. So wonderfully sleek and clever. (Much like the Scandinavians!) in fact, it looked bit like a posh watch gift box mixed with a bit of Apple coolness. Truly a thing of beauty.

Obviously, I’m not advocating racing down the M25 with three screaming children and ultimately missing flights in order to have lunches that are served in CUBES but if you do find yourself in said circumstance then FEAR NOT. ALL IS NOT LOST!

Lunch will be served in a CUBE.

Kram

Jessica