Pack Light for a Weekend Away with the Kids

If you’re planning on heading off on a weekend getaway with the kids, one thing you’ll want to do is ensure you’re packing light.

Now, this is definitely easier said than done! Any parent knows just how much extra stuff a trip with the kids usually requires. It’s surprising how much stuff kids actually need when they go anywhere; especially if they’re young children. However, there are ways to pack a little lighter and below you’ll discover just a few of them.

pack light kids travel

Make a list of what you need

One of the best ways to avoid overpacking, is to make a list of the things you actually need. While you may want to follow an ultimate family packing list, often you’ll find these can be pretty extensive!

So, instead focus on the basics. Consider the age of your children and what they’ll actually need. If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, packing light is going to be a challenge. However, slightly older children aren’t going to need the same level of necessities, so you can afford to be a little ruthless when putting their list together. For example, do they really need an entire wardrobe of clothes? Cut out anything you feel you can get away with and you’ll be surprised just how much space this tip alone can save you.

Clever clothes packing

Following on from the last point, your children aren’t going to need as many clothes as you might think. You can also get clever with the clothes you do pack.

For example, why not combine clothing and entertainment and invest in trainers which convert to roller skates? You can pick up some pretty trendy Heely’s trainers from companies like Proline Skates.

Take the right luggage

Instead of carrying one or two large combined suitcases, it could work out easier if you were to take a few smaller suitcases. Having a small to medium suitcase for each of your children, doesn’t just free up space in the boot of the car, but it also helps them to feel a little more independent.

Overall, packing light isn’t always easy when you’ve got kids. However, the above are just a few ways you can save a little space on your next weekend away. The key is to be ruthless with what you’re packing and to ensure you only take the bare essentials.

Dreaming of the Perfect Engagement Ring

Many young girls dream about getting married one day, especially when they see the oh so romantic fairy tale style weddings that are portrayed in their favourite Disney films!

Getting married is something girls like to discuss on a regular basis… and it’s not even a husband they’re interested in half the time… it’s just having the wedding day!

wedding engagement

Yes, that’s right! We love nothing more than to discuss the whole shebang as there’s literally so much to fantasise about…. where we would like it to take place… will it be abroad somewhere hot and idyllic on a stunning beach, or will it be more traditional in a church? Will it be a Summer or Winter wedding? What would be the colour scheme? Who would we invite? And most importantly…. what kind of dress would we wear?

Dreaming about that fairy tale wedding dress is just heavenly….. being a princess for the day!

We love it!

As we get older though, our attention turns to maybe the more materialistic object of our desires…. the engagement ring!

As soon as we have our first serious boyfriend, this is definitely on our minds! We look in shop windows, even with our boyfriends, and point out rings we like the look of! This is childish behaviour obviously because we’ll probably have broken up the following week and also, things look a lot different when we’re older! We would be expecting our future husband to know exactly what kind of ring to buy us. And to produce this perfect piece in a proposal to end all proposals!

But this is unrealistic and actually, I think most women now would prefer to choose their own. For the man to propose initially, then they could go off and choose the ring together…. with the choice ultimately being all hers. That way there can be no awkward thoughts like ‘Oh I don’t like it!’ or ‘Oh no it doesn’t fit properly!’

Imagining the most beautiful, exquisite diamond engagement ring is another fantasy us girls have on a regular basis, and this just gets more intense as a relationships develops! Every girl has a different idea of what her perfect ring would look like so unless you’ve done the window shopping together already…. it’s probably best to go and pick your own I think!

For me, I love a diamond solitaire.

engagement ring

There’s just something special and romantic about a single diamond. The bigger, the better obviously!

I have to admit. I chose my own engagement ring and it’s similar to the one in the photo. Mine is platinum but white gold is a very popular choice too and comes in cheaper…. which means saving on the precious metal could add you more diamond, right ladies?!

Gold is coming back in fashion too. Rose gold is very popular in other jewellery choices but not it seems, as an engagement ring. White gold and platinum still reign supreme!

What’s most important though is you have to love the ring completely. After all, you’ll be wearing it for a very long time, hopefully forever more!

Family Friendly Spots for your London To-Do List

If you’re heading to the Big Smoke, a.k.a. our wonderful capital city London, with the kids, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options for things to do there!

From a day sampling ice creams and meeting penguins, to an evening at the theatre, I’ve rounded up some of favourite family-friendly activities to add to your to-do list.

theatre days out trips london discount tickets

Enjoy a Night at the Theatre

Going to the theatre is definitely one of our favourite London things to do. It’s full of great theatres so you’re spoilt for choice for fun shows that your kids will remember for years to come. With shows like Matilda, School of Rock and The Lion King getting rave reviews from audiences of all ages. Plus, you can find some great theatre ticket deals if you book in advance!

Rub Shoulders with Celebs at Madame Tussauds

Get your camera phones ready for a day out with the Queen, One Direction and the Beckhams at Madame Tussauds. It might not be the real thing, but you’ll have amazing photos that you’ll cherish forever! They have loads of interactive zones, like their new Star Wars Legends experience’ so kids of all ages will find a celeb to be starstruck by!

Relax in Granary Square

This public spot always has plenty going on, whatever time of the year you visit. In the summer you can take a picnic and let the kids dash through the gorgeous fountains. They even have a Granary Squirt app that lets you control the jets!

By the canal, there’s always something fun going on. In the late summer there’s a floating cinema, at Halloween it was filled with thousands of carved pumpkins and it was draped in gorgeous blooms during the Chelsea Flower Show.

theatre days out trips london discount tickets

Get Close to Nature at London Zoo

Get up close and personal with over 750 species of animals at London Zoo, including lions, monkeys, gorillas and penguins. If you or your kids are nature-lovers, this spot needs to be added to your London bucket list! They even have after hours events and keeper for a day experiences that kids are sure to adore.

Mix Your Desserts with Science at Chin Chin Labs

For a truly unique treat, head to Chin Chin Labs and feast on delicious ice creams frozen with liquid nitrogen. The menu changes weekly so you never know what exciting concoction you’ll get next. With incredible flavours like burnt butter caramel, pandan and purple violet, you’ll be just as happy as your kids in this joyous and fun-filled lab!

Make planning for the family trip to London a breeze by taking your kids to any or all of these five favourite spots in the city to make lasting memories. Let’s face it, they’re not just for the kids – the adults are sure to have a whale of a time too!

We’re having a Heatwave

So Great Britain is in the middle of a heatwave!

Glorious isn’t it?

I can’t remember the last time we had such fabulous, prolonged good weather.

Normally we get the odd few hot days then it’s back to rain or grey skies! Our Summer seems to have been around May time the past few years, then the summer holidays are dire. You can’t plan anything or go to the seaside because you’ll freeze to death!

Hence, I’m enjoying our summer while it lasts and I’m praying it stays till the end of July and into August as we’re off to a couple of festivals! It doesn’t even have to stay THIS hot… as long as it’s reasonably warm and NO rain! We don’t do rain thank you very much!

Thing is though, I haven’t got that many Summer clothes to wear when the weather is like this! We didn’t go away last year so I didn’t buy anything new! This year we’re hoping to get a last minute bargain in late August so I’d better start shopping before all the Autumn stuff arrives! Have you noticed that all the shops seem to stop renewing their Summer stock whilst it’s still Summer?! Annoying! So if you leave holiday shopping to the last minute you’ll find it near impossible to get anything!

I’m going to a wedding too in late September so I’ve been looking at dresses from Esprit, a company who I think do a great mix of casual, every day wear and classier type clothes.

How gorgeous is this halter neck dress……

esprit dress summer fashion dresses

This dress could easily be dressed up or down and looks as though you’d stay lovely and cool in it… nice a flowy and not too tight! Absolutely perfect for this heat!

Talking of heat, one thing I would absolutely love to have in the garden when a heatwave is upon us is  hot tub! Even in the Winter, in the right enclosure it could definitely still be used, especially if you have kids!

We’ve actually been pricing some up and some are rather reasonable! This one here is from the hot tub barn and is the perfect size. They’re also great for relaxation and winding down after a busy or stressful day! Definitely need one of these in my life right now!

hot tub spa

I am absolutely loving this heatwave.. everyone has a tan and looks healthy! It’s not doing me many favours in the work department though! Working from home means I just want to be outside in the garden instead of sitting at my desk. But taking the laptop outside isn’t as easy as it sounds… the screen isn’t easy to see, even in the shade and for me to be accessible to the WIFI I have to sit in a certain corner of the garden, which isn’t the most comfortable!

Oh well, there are worse problems to have I suppose!

Hope you are enjoying the weather too…. long may it continue!

 

13 Years Ago

Ah the month of June! One of my most favourite times of the year… because that’s when my little baby girl first came into this world.

13 years ago and I couldn’t believe my luck!

I was absolutely convinced I was having another boy. I didn’t allow myself for one second to imagine that I’d be lucky enough to get a girl this time round! I even went so far as avoiding anything pink in the shops. In Mothercare I would steer clear of the baby girl section…. because then I would imagine having a girl, want a girl, and perhaps it would’ve made me disappointed when it wasn’t a girl!

Not that I didn’t want a boy. My son was the love of my life and I enjoyed every single moment with him. I wanted a boy when I had him… and was over the moon that I got what I wanted. I wouldn’t be that lucky and get what I wanted again would I? Having another little boy would’ve been wonderful too of course, but it’s only natural to want to experience the other gender.

We didn’t find out what we were having, we wanted it to be a surprise.

So that June, 13 years ago…. we were absolutely over the moon… and shocked, that we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl!

Wow! I really lucked out!

Having her come into this world and into our lives was the most perfect moment.

And she has been the most perfect daughter.

If someone would’ve asked me at any point before children to describe my perfect little girl in terms of looks and personality… I would’ve described her down to a tee!

She’s everything I ever dreamed of. Such a girly girl, which, after having a boy for six years before she came along, was just wonderful. I bought pink everything! Actually, I was so into the pink she had no choice BUT be girly!

On my side of the family she is the only girl out of TEN grand children!

She is surrounded by boys, as I was as a child. Lots of boy cousins and of course her three brothers! It has certainly taught her to hold her own and she’s not afraid of getting down and dirty playing boy games!  She also has the wickedest sense of humour!

Yet she remains delightfully feminine (most of the time!) and loves pretty things!

I absolutely love being with her.

I can’t believe she is now a teenager! The years have flown by.

Thirteen years have gone in the blink of an eye and now our girl is big… almost as tall as me!

I miss her littleness… the tiny girl she used to be.

I wonder what these teenage years will be like for her? So many changes ahead and life lessons to learn…. but I’m looking forward to experiencing all of that with her. We’re so close now. I hope we never lose the special bond we share.

She’s such a good girl with a big heart. She has so much love for everyone and is equally adored by everyone who knows her.

My precious girl xx

Choosing Toys Which Grow with your Kids

The sheer number of toys available these days can be a little overwhelming. Kids are literally spoilt for choice with something to suit all age ranges and preferences. However, the trouble is, so many toys that you buy for your kids end up either being thrown out in a year’s time or given away.

If you’re buying toys for young children, it can make a lot of sense to invest in toys that will grow with them. This provides much better value for money and gives your kids a gift they can enjoy for many years. The question is which toys can you buy that will grow with your child? Below you’ll discover some of the best toys available right now that will grow with your kids.

Educational Interactive Toys

One of the best types of toys that grow with your kids is educational interactive toys. These include things like the Leapfrog Leapstart. This early learning system is designed to grow with your child, increasing in difficulty as they age. It teaches them about animals, numbers and phonics. As they get older, you simply buy additional books to match their new abilities.

Scooters

Scooters are another great choice. They’re fun for all ages and can be used for many years. Even toddler scooters from SkateHut can be used for years. What’s great about this toy is the fact it is also super-fun. You could even invest in adult scooters and play along with your toddler as a great family activity.

Choosing Toys Which Grow with your Kids scooter skate hut

In today’s digital world, it’s good to give the kids active toys to play with. So, if you are investing in educational interactive toys, make sure you’re also buying something to keep their body active too.

Lego

Lego is one of the few toys which has stood the test of time. While it may not be suitable for very young children, depending upon the set, it’s something that’s going to be played with for many years to come.

The great thing about Lego is that it is fully-adaptable. There’s no end to the things you can create with them. As your child ages, they could even start to create more intricate objects such as a pinball machine!

As you can see, there’s a lot of toys you can buy which grow with your child. If you want to ensure you’re getting good value for money, choose any of the toys listed above.

Easy Rubbish Removal with Clearabee

With local Councils being extremely picky when it comes to emptying your bins…. you know…. not taking them if they are slightly overflowing or being fastidious about whether the recycling is in the correct one…. it can be an extremely frustrating and annoying experience just getting rid of your household waste!

rubbish removal clearabee

Annoying extra rubbish

What do you do if you have more waste one week? Where does it go if you can’t put it in the bin? Rubbish removal can be stressful, especially if you’ve had an occasion like a birthday… extra toy boxes for example from presents or a party meaning lots of people creating lots more rubbish! Maybe you’ve been having a clearout of one of the rooms…. changing furniture… or tidying up the garden… where do you end up putting everything you no longer want or need?

You probably decide upon leaving it all in one corner of the house, if you have space, or it ends up being left in the garden, leaving an unsightly mess until you ‘get around’ to removing it properly. Only this never happens, and it tends to sit there festering for months!

This is going on right here in my own house to be honest!

We have loads of broken outdoor toys and old paddling pools etc we need to get rid of. We even have one of those bike trailers that you pull kids around in just sitting in the garden right now. It’s all ripped and ruined but do you think we have removed it? No. Well short of physically taking it to a dump, which isn’t feasible as it’s too big to get in my car… where do I take it?

How to get rid of rubbish quickly and easily

I’ve recently been learning about a fantastic, nationwide rubbish removal company, Clearabee who are simply perfect for these types of jobs.

You can use them as and when, for a small job or for a mammoth clear out… such as furniture. They even do a same day clearance which is absolutely amazing!

rubbish removal clearabee

Man & Van

Their Man & Van service is the most popular, with every employee working directly for the company, no outsourcing, so you can rest assured he will have been rigorously vetted to provide a high quality, trustworthy service. Simply book online, choosing one of the many options for size of removals… and that’s it!

Clearabee also do a Skip Bag (Beebag) which they send out to you to keep and fill up at your leisure. It’s like a traditional skip in that way, only you can keep it where you like, you’re not restricted to it being on a drive or on the road, which incurs extra costs! The bags come in different sizes too so no need to have a huge bag just sitting around forever waiting to be filled… like what usually happens with skips! Or worse, passers by end up putting their own rubbish into your skip!

rubbish removal clearabee

It’s not always big things that clog up the bins though. Sometimes we just have too much household waste. The normal every day stuff that would just be thrown in the wheelie bin that we can’t put in there because, well, they’re full and of course we know, the refuse collectors won’t collect it if it’s even slightly overflowing!

But… Clearabee will take care of this too! Simply order some of their bin bags and fill up as you would any other black bag and a Clearbee Man with a Van will pop by, at your convenience, and remove it for you. This straightforward rubbish removal service is also eco friendly, with 90% of the waste being recycled, even the vans used for this purpose are smaller and much more economical.

Clearabee also work for many businesses who need more rubbish removal than usual.. or even just a one off job of removing items due to a shop or office refit! Prices are significantly reduced too if you join their loyalty scheme, for the home or for business premises! Definitely worth thinking about if you use them regularly.

That’s better…

Sometimes, a friend or a relative might step in and say they will help with your rubbish removal which, although cheap, is not always conducive! Not knowing when this help will materialise can end up being rather stressful as it’s clogginmg up your home or outside space, but you don’t want to pester anyone who’s been good enough to offer. So realistically, in the long run, it’s best to just go with a great company like Clearabee and get rid of it straight away, then it’s not driving you mad every time you look at it and you can move forward, concentrating on the next job in hand.

Tidy house, tidy mind so they say!

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