The Ultimate Autumn Family Camping Bucket list - 7 places to go



wild camping

We love camping and have done a lot of it over the years, we have camped from early spring through summer into autumn and each season requires different things and as long as you are prepared there isn't any reason why you cannot go camping in the autumn as a family. If you’re looking for a way to travel that allows you to disconnect from the fast pace of modern day life and spend time in nature, connecting with your family, whilst the weather’s still reasonably temperate, then now is the time to do it before winter really sets in. Not only does camping provide a cheap family holiday, but it’s also environmentally friendly and easy to organise as a family… indeed, it’s as simple as packing a few things in the boot and heading off into nature!

Many people are noticing that life has become much more distracting in recent years, especially when it comes to family time and connecting with each other - due to smartphones, tablets, computers and video games it’s necessary to carve out some time to stop, unwind, and connect with each other as well as ourselves. Camping in nature wether in a campsite or wild camping, will allow you to connect with your family by doing things that also connect you to nature such as building campfires, skimming stones, and having barbecues on the beach!

Being in nature can be a very grounding, calming and soothing experience which is particularly good for children that often get overstimulated - nature's playground is the ideal place to wear them out whilst also providing comfort and warmth, by being wrapped up in a tent together. That said, camping isn’t for everyone, and some people require a little more luxury in life than sleeping under a sheet of canvas on a blow up bed, this is particularly true of families that are used to living in beautiful modern homes such as those offered by Prospect Homes, though, camping doesn’t have to be uncomfortable nowadays, indeed, the trend of glamping offers a much more glamorous alternative to traditional camping, which enables a “plug and play” situation akin to buying a new home, as things are already set-up for you. This means, there’s no need to bring equipment, as it’s more like staying in a hotel - and there’s no faffing around with tent poles or pegs. Indeed, if comfort and an easier life is what you’re looking for, the idea of glamping with its modern and somewhat luxurious facilities can be a great option.

Camping wild
We stayed in a Tipi in West Wales

Now, let’s take a look at some destination inspiration from around the world.

1. Mount Cook National Park (New Zealand)

New Zealand is pretty much as far from the UK as you could wish to go, yet summer is coming, and with such incredible landscapes with the rugged region of the South Island, known for being one of the world’s greatest outdoor playgrounds, it might just be worth the trip! Oh, and it’s also where you’ll find the best spots for stargazing in the world.

2. Loch Lomond (Scotland)

In summer this area is full of tourists dotted around in their campervans and tents, yet in autumn it gets much less busy - and given the beautiful colours on offer as the leaves change colour, it’s the perfect time to visit. It’s legal to camp pretty much anywhere in Scotland, making it a great place to try out some wild camping; just be sure to pack some warm clothes, as it can get cold in Autumn. I actually did some wild camping in Scotland before having kids and woke up one morning next to Loch and went for a swim - something I want to repeat with my boys in tow

Make sure you pack the essentials and waterproofs of course.

3. Asturias (Spain)

This region of Northwest Spain with nearby highlights including the Picos de Europas and Camino de Santiago, contains several unspoilt villages scattered throughout lush mountains, a craggy coastline, and traditional fishing communities - making it a truly authentic place to visit, particularly when compared to the South of Spain. You’ll need a car, for sure, and it will help if you can speak a bit of Spanish, as the North is quite a traditional community that feels somewhat cut off from the rest of Spain, in this sense, as whilst it is welcoming to tourists, it’s not a tourist hotspot - meaning life remains very much “local”.

4. Cornwall (England)

There are too many cool places to camp in Cornwall to mention. You can’t go wrong with heading to St Ives, as this is one of the most family friendly spots to base yourself - with a beautiful harbour, cobbled streets and a vibrant yet relaxed nightlife with many open mic nights or acoustic entertainers scattered around the quaint lanes.

Then, there’s the coast just North of Newquay which is home to the Bedruthan Steps. These awe inspiring cliffs, with clear blue waters and soft white sand, are the pinnacle of Cornish beauty - and the drive between Newquay to Padstow highlights some of the UK’s most impressive coastal views.
Bedruthan Steps itself, is owned by the National Trust (meaning you can’t camp there) but there are plenty of places nearby to set up your tent; though it’s recommended to bring a torch if you’re camping on the cliffs, as there are no barriers, meaning walking around at night could be very hazardous indeed.

camping coffee

5. Cairngorms (Scotland)

The Cairngorms National Park is home to a cluster of mountains of which many are over 4000 feet in height. In terms of family friendliness, this place is more for the intrepid explorer that has a little more equipment than most families would - as it’s a mecca for climbers and more serious hikers..

6. Brecon Beacons (WALES)

The Brecon Beacons are where a number of elite military forces, including the Gurkhas and Royal Marines complete their wilderness training. This might not sound ideal for the family, yet, just think how exciting it would be for a child to know he’s camping out in the same place the army do.

7. Lake Garda (Italy)

If you fly into Milan, and hire a car, in just an hour’s drive you will find Lake Garda and Lake Como. Similar in nature to the Lake District in the UK, the Italian Lakes offer a slightly warmer climate that means you can take your family camping here well into the autumn months. There are tons of activities to participate in, such as via ferrata and paragliding, neither of which are particularly expensive - or you could simply indulge in some of the best food in the world at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants, or create your own feast by having an authentic picnic with top local produce.

camping wales
forest camping

The Ultimate Autumn

I always feel I am very aware of trying to get outdoors as much as possible in the Autumn before that finger biting cold sets in and it's become our favourite month for being active. There is no reason to not have an adventure, go hiking and picnic on top of a local mountain, or try a zipline course, go paddleboarding or take up a new hobby together as a family like cycling. Autumn is really what you make of it and it's a great season to try something new.  

camping bucket list

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A Day in London with Microsoft Surface


London adventure

We were recently invited to London for the launch of the new Microsoft Surface, a piece of technology neither my son or I had tried out before and didn't really know what to expect but we always enjoy a good adventure to the big smoke and trying out something new so were really excited to find out more about what makes the new Microsoft Surface Go so special. 

I'm always really grateful that Cardiff has a high speed service direct to London meaning we can go from the Capital of Wales to the Capital of England in 2hrs! As we arrived a little early we headed to Westminster to spot the houses of Parliament and the rather covered up Big Ben as well as stand in awe of the London Eye. We always like to soak up as much of the vibrant atmosphere London has to offer even if we are only there for a few hours.

Big Ben

The event was held at The White Space near Covent Garden and offered creative and interactive sessions for both adults and children. While the adults listened to an inspiring panel discussion from industry leaders as well as recently summited Everest climber and TV presenter Ben Fogle who shared his thoughts on how technology can actually encourage children to get outdoors, get creative and how to use it as a tool in a modern world. I have to say we pretty strict when it comes to screens in our household and it's not something that is a a daily occurrence for my kids but after this talk I do feel a little better about incorporating apps into our outdoor learning and creative projects in the home. 

During the panel the kids were next door taking part in a creative project to create a digital coin and penguin using the Microsoft Surface Go. I sat in with my son for a while and I was really impressed by how intuitive and easy the Surface is to use and how children as young as 6 & 7 can make 3-D objects and animations with ease. The Surface certainly takes drawing to a new level with the easy to use pen and you can even project your images into real life and with the use of the inbuilt camera you can interact with your creations (on the screen of course).

Go Imagine

Creative workshop

Creative panel

After the first workshop there was a little break to catch up, network and have a bite to eat. It also gave everyone the chance to meet Ben Fogle, we are huge fans of his New Lives in the Wild show where people sell up everything and move to isolated parts of the world (my dream although can it come with wifi?). We then sat down for a another mini workshop where the kids learnt how to collage together images to make a magical animal, it was a lot of fun with plenty of original creations being made.

I think what impressed me the most was how easy the Surface is to use, I love that you can connect and disconnect the keyboard instantly turning it from a tablet to a laptop and back again. It also fits into the family dynamic really well being so intuitive for kids but also a high spec piece of kit for adults especially those that work in the creative field or content creators and freelancers. We had such a blast and really enjoyed learning more about the Surface in such a fun way.

Microsfot Surface Go

Go Imagine

I was invited to attend the event and was compensated for our time. 
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Amsterdam - the perfect child-free weekend destination



Dutch canals

When you’ve got young kids, nothing beats a family holiday. Getting away together is a fantastic way to spend quality time, keep the youngsters engaged, and even teach them a thing or two. One thing’s sure getting them used to flying and new cultures when they’re young is always a bonus. What’s more, there are plenty of family-friendly vacation spots to make the most of when travelling together and some Kid-focused hotels even host fun clubs should you want to mix culture and travel with also the odd break for an hour or two.

However, a short child-free break can be a really positive experience. I recently went to Durham for two nights, it was the first time I had ever left our kids for more than a night, that's over 7yrs of not one proper child-free weekend away and you know what it went really well. Then kids loved having fun with their grandparents and we had a fantastic time exploring the historical northern town of Durham we all felt renewed and refreshed from our weekend away. It's made us think more about the future, about exploring new and old places just the two of us. Of course, our main focus is always family-friendly breaks but it has opened our eyes to the benefits of child-free breaks away.

I've recently been thinking about visiting Amsterdam as it's one of my favourite cities as it's perfect both for family breaks, in fact we have taken the kids twice, as well as adult ones. I was lucky enough to live in the Dutch capital for a few months before having kids and it will always have a special place in my heart and while I love the family element I would also like to return to this fantastic city child-free at some point in the future. I thought I would put together a little list of why it's the perfect place for a short child-free weekend away that is easily accessible from the UK.

Street Art

The romantic setting

With its canal lined with narrowboats and picturesque buildings, Amsterdam is very unique and instantly eye-catching and just like other iconic cities such as Paris and Venice it definitely has that romantic edge to it. Rather than a gondola ride, you could book up for an iconic sunset canal cruise or enjoy sundowners from the Library bar which offers views across the city. During the day you could wander through the colourful floating flower market and beautiful tulips at Keukenhof. Also eating al fresco picnic style in Vondelpark, central Amsterdam’s largest green space without having to rush and just taking time to be present in the moment.

Canal boats

The Museums

Let’s be honest, Amsterdam’s museums are one of its primary selling points and while they have some really great interactive and child-friendly exhibitions there are some that are less interesting to the younger members of your family so being able to work around the Van Gogh museum without any signs of boredom from little ones is refreshing as it having the time to read the plaques and information, plus your adult-only status also leaves you free to snap up tickets for the Heineken Museum.

Boutique shopping in Nine Streets

We tried to pop into the Red Wing store while in Amsterdam with our kids last time and we lasted about 1 minute in the shop as they simply were not feeling it. Kids generally are not a huge fan of clothes shopping and there are some things on the continent that can be harder to find in the UK so being able to stroll through this very trendy part of town at your own speed would be bliss. The nine streets are packed with quirky speciality shops, designer good, vintage stores as well as cool hip concept stores.

Amsterdam hip
Cool Shops in Nine Streets

Explore the Capital by Bike

Yes you can of course do this with children but I know it would also be a lot of fun without as we could explore for much longer, at our own speed, stopping off at different cafes and bars when we felt like it and seeing the city from the best way, on wheels. I also love finding street art and Amsterdam is a haven for incredible street art.

Indulge in the local food

Amsterdam has a variety of local food delicacies that you need to try and you could easily spend a while day bouncing from one cafe to another and why not? While my kids are not the biggest foodies, although they are up for trying new things that rather be outside exploring than tasting new dishes so being able to spend time savouring each taste, not in a rush is something I would certainly enjoy. Stroopwafel and Poffertjes in the morning followed by all the Cheese and liquorice and I know John would enjoy the different kinds of local fish.

Coffee Shops and Red Lights

While I don't smoke and I hardly drink the two things that Amsterdam is very well known for is The Coffeeshops and the Red Light district. I used to have to ride my bike through parts of the red light district to get to work when I lived in Amsterdam and there are some very fantasticating points of view within the area such as one of the oldest churches and a Buddhist Temple although some parts are clearly inappropriate for children I would recommend exploring the area as it's completely different to anywhere else and one to tick of the bucket list. The same goes for Coffee Shops, you could visit an iconic one such as Green House United which has been frequented by celebrities over the years and of course, you don't have to partake in anything and these venues do also sell coffee as well.

If Amsterdam doesn't take your fancy or you actually want to spend more time in Holland exploring some of the other cities then why not visit Rotterdam as well? Here is a great guide to visiting Rotterdam for the first time by the fantastic bloggers at Fly Drive Explore.

Amsterdam guide

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Small Bedroom? You can still go big on style



flamingo pink

Having a small bedroom, for some, is a deal-breaker when it comes to buying a house or looking for apartments for rent in Miami. There’s nothing easy about designing a bedroom smaller than the rest of the rooms in the house, particularly when the biggest focal point of a bedroom is, of course, the bed. The bed base, the mattress, the duvets and pillows – they all make a statement. Whenever you walk into your bedroom, you want to feel calm and at ease, not overwhelmed by the clutter and mess because the bedroom is smaller, and so doesn’t have a good solution for storage. It’s for this reason that you need to consider how to design your small bedroom so that it works well for you. In my house our living spaces are much larger than our bedroom which is one of the smaller rooms but we have made it work.

Modern downsizing, new builds and apartment living have decreased bedroom size over the years, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a functional, comfortable and beautiful space to sleep in. Unfortunately, modern downsizing hasn’t married well with modern design – which says that bedrooms should have things like living spaces or a small office area. The fact of the matter is that the bedroom is a place to sleep, and as long as you plan to spend some time visiting now, you can make sure that your bedroom is the comfortable space that you need to have. So, with all of that in mind, how can you make your small bedroom big in style?

simple bedroom

Go Big…With Colour - If you want your bedroom to be light, bright and airy, you can’t go wrong with a plain white theme. Being able to add pops of the right colour throughout in your rugs and bedding is exactly what your bedroom needs to look beautiful. You can even see the drama in layered white on white textures.

Go Big…With Corners - Okay, so the floor space in the bedroom isn’t the right square footage. So, you need to maximise the floor space that you do have while trying to have the super king bed you’ve always wanted. Use the corners of the room, pushing your bed right into those corners and really enjoying all that extra floor space that’s just opened up.

Go Big…With Going Small - Ah, minimalism, how you’ve taught us so much! A minimalist bedroom; one with a bed and a bedside table on display and not much else, is a bedroom that is beautiful to look at, stylish and easy to maintain. There’s no clutter. There’s no mess. There’s just you, your bed, and a good night of sleep ahead.

Go Big...With Mirrors - Mirrors reflect everything, which means that you can reflect the space that you do have in the room. This can help to create the illusion of more floor space; even when you don’t actually have any.

Your bedroom may be small, but your ideas can continue to be big. There’s really no limit on the choices that you can make for your bedroom, just as long as it serves the purpose that you need it to serve.

interior design

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4 Easy ways to save money on Family Travel



When you love to travel as a family, it can sometimes seem like all your spare money gets spent on your adventures. In fact, you may even be holding off on doing some things and visiting particular places because you are worried about the cost involved. Happily, if you put the tactics below into action, family holidays don't have to cost a fortune. Something that means you and your brood can get away, and still have plenty of money in the bank. Read on to find out more.

Explore the UK

One way to get away on a regular basis without breaking the bank is to explore the UK instead of always heading abroad. After all, UK breaks usually mean that you don't need to pay for flights, or if you do they will be cheaper. You can also choose to travel there under your own steam in your own vehicle as well, something that can help save a fortune on public transport. Lastly, you have the option of choosing a short break, of one or two nights, something that can make your travel as a family a lot easier on the wallet.

Also, even if you don't want to drive to the opposite end of the country to where you live, there will be some fantastic places that are local to you that you haven't explored. Remember no rules are saying that you have to travel hours to you given location, and you might just find an exciting gem of a place less than an hour from your doorstep!

Get Discount Savvy

Next, if you are looking to make travelling with your family as economical as possible, it's an excellent idea to book flights, accommodation, and packages in sales, with discount vouchers and alway make sure you use price comparison websites.

Happily, there are plenty of sources like Net Voucher Codes online that you can use all year round to get a hefty reduction in the price of your break. If you book your flights and accommodation separately, you may even be able to combine the savings of more than one voucher, further decreasing the cost of your chosen break.

Find bargain flights and train fares

Of course, everyone knows about those fantastic flight bargains that you get, where it costs £50 or under return, to travel to Europe. However, not everyone understands how actually to get these. One way is to wait until the airline release their news seats, as prices are usually based on demand, so when they have a glut to fill, you will pay less, also being flexible with your times and dates is key to getting the best deal and signing up to airlines newsletters means you will be sure to know when they do have sales on. Then there are the smart apps that allow you to search for cheap flights either by destination like Skyscanner or by how much you want to spend like Kayak. 

When it comes to trains it's always a good idea checking if the fare is cheaper by splitting the train journey up and you don't even have to change trains. Visit sites such as Split my fare which will give you the cheapest option and best of all if your really savvy you can still book these yourself and apply voucher codes or cash back options to these. When it comes to international trains signing up with Eurostar newsletter you will be the first to know when they release their annual £50 seats, also look into an Eurorail pass if you are planning to travel a lot in Europe as this could save you money. 

Consider your dining options carefully

Lastly, if you genuinely want to save money as a family when you travel, it's important to review your dining options carefully. Why? Well, because eating out at restaurants twice or even three times a day can really add up and can add a hearty amount even when your just on a staycation. With this in mind, it may be more economical in the long run to consider self-catering and even all-inclusive packages for your family breaks. We are huge fans of self-catering because it gives us more freedom with regards to when we eat which fits our family dynamic better and also reduces costs massively as we can eat budget friendly healthy meals on our travels without paying triple the price as we would eating out.

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Paddleboarding on the River Wye with Inspire2Adventure



River Wye

Having had my first taste of Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) earlier this year in Swansea and then again on the River Avon in Bath and enjoying both thoroughly I was super excited to come down and spend the day on the River Wye with Inspire2Adventure who plan an array of activities in the area from kayaking to mountain biking and everything in between. Over the past few years there has been a big rise in popularity of learning to SUP mainly do to how accessible it is, you don't need any real skills, it's suitable from children to grandparents and it's much easier than you think.

Having grown up surfing I have always felt fairly comfortable in the water and on a board but even if your not I can assure you they are very buoyant and easy to balance on. What was especially exciting about our day on the river was having the chance to go on the mega sup with 3 other bloggers (and two children) which was so much fun!



We met at a large field only a few minutes away from the centre of Monmouth with plenty of places to park. You are given a safety brief as well as getting to know the equipment more and helping pump up the inflatable paddle boards, of course the Mega-Sup takes more than one person to pump up. The organisers are incredible knowledgeable and from the moment you arrive you feel encouraged and supported. Once everyone has their buoyancy aids on it's only a few seconds walk down to the launch area and at this time of the year the river is very low, in fact in some areas it's less then waist high.

First off I was on the Mega-Sup which with three other lovely ladies and we had such a laugh navigating it along the river. First we started out kneeling and getting the hang of things as team work is required if you don't want to end up in the river, because if one person has the shakes it can cause a  ripple effect for everyone on board. Within no time however we had the hang of it and were up on our feet.

paddle boarding river wye

Paddleboarding River Wye

Once everyone had managed to get on their feet we then swapped over with the single SUP boards, we did this on the water which was interesting to say the least but lucky we all managed to stay dry. As everyone had warmed up by this point it didn't take long to get readjusted and enjoy the calm and tranquility of the river. It feels similar to drifting along on a raft but you have control over the speed and direction. I enjoyed myself so much that I am not on the lookout for a SUP board for myself as it's just so fun and a really good work out too. There is nothing better than spending a few hours floating down a river in beautiful surroundings and I highly recommend you give it a go!

Standup paddle boarding

Thanks to Inspire2Adventure for inviting me to take part in their blogger event
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6 ways to create the earthy minimalist look in your home


simple interiors

More and more people are turning their backs on stuff, decluttering their homes and minds to create a more relaxed and calm space and getting back to more natural inspired living spaces. This is something I personally have been working on and having travelled a lot over the past few years and I've noticed this trend follow through in many hotels and Airbnb's we have stayed in as creating a place that both looks and feels good and becomes a haven is really key. As the world seems to be more and more manic than ever by simplifying your home you can detach yourself from that a little and can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Reminding ourselves of your earthly connect with nature is important as we live in an increasing digital world is really important.

Here are 6 tips on simplifying your home as well as bring more earthing, organic and natural elements into your home

1. Set aside time to do a big declutter

The best way to have a quick impact on your home is to set aside at least two full days to go through everything and have a proper declutter. I find trying to do a little bit here and there does work over the longterm but can take a while before you feel any difference and if you have kids can often feel fruitless as stuff continually seems to come into the home. Setting time to really short through what you need and do not need (try be as ruthless as possible) sets a president for the whole home and will instantly make you feel calmer. It will also give you a better view of your home and what you have to work with.

house plants

2. Focus on natural light

We all know that we feel better when we get as much natural light into our lives as possible, especially with more and more people struggling with Vitamin D (the feel good vitamin thats released  when we spend time in the sunshine). So making the most of any windows and doors we have in the home is key and cheapest natural element to bring into your home and immediately makes any room feel calmer and lighter. So try not hide your window under heavy curtains, while we all want to block out the summer sun in the morning you do make sure to lift the blinds, tie back curtains and make your windows a focus. Also using mirror to help bounce more light around the room.

3. Embrace Houseplants

Nothing screams eatery more than natural greenery so if your a fan of Scandinavian interiors than you will know that their love of bringing nature and plants indoors has become more mainstream and for good reasons as not only does it add a relaxing atmosphere to any room but also can have positive benefits for both your physical and mental health as it can help to purify the air in your room. House plants are also very atheistically pleasing and a very budget friendly option to embrace the earthy trend this year. You can learn more about the benefits of indoor houseplants in this online guide.

simple interior

4. Make your bathroom a sanctuary

The bathroom is one of the easiest spaces to declutter and make a place that feels tranquil and peaceful and space to have some downtime especially as connecting with water and warmth is something our bodies crave. Get rid of any products and cosmetics you don't use and are just taking up space and free up as much shelf space as possible. Treat yourself to some good organic skin products and candles and with two of the other points try bring as much natural light into the room as possible as well as houseplants. If your looking to remodel a room then this is the one space you should consider first and it's worth checking out Harrogate bathroom for some inspiration.

relaxing bathroom

5. Upcycle Materials

The whole point about minimalising your home is to simplify your life and streamline things as well as being more sustainable and hopefully producing less waste and living a more ethical inspired life and therefore it should be just about chucking things out. If you can upcycle anything than do so and it can really help to incorporate those earthy trends such as reusing timber or wood for things like window frames or kitchen cabinets. Pinterest is a great platform for DIY and interior inspiration. 

6. Change your colour scheme

We all know that mood and colour is strongly connected and switching to a more nature and earthy palette can really help you capture that mood you are trying to create. It doesn't even have to involve painting (although you can ofcourse) just switching it up with some light browns and olive greens
with cushions, throws and artworks can make your home feel more connected to the outdoors.

simple interiors

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A weekend guide to Historical Durham



Following on from my review of Hotel Indigo Durham I thought I would put together a little weekend guide to the beautiful and historical town of Durham as we had such a fantastic time and I was really surprised at how much there was to see and do and all very accessible by walking making it a great weekend destination.

Firstly Durham is well connected by rail and road and we arrived into Durham by train from Cardiff and with it being a small station you don't have to pull luggage very far, in fact within about 2 minutes we were into a taxi and on our way. Yes you can walk down into the town but with the station on quite a steep hill we decided to take the easy route to the hotel via taxi (only cost £4). As Durham isn't the biggest city is the perfect place for a weekend break so here are a few ideas of what to do if your planning on visiting.

What to See

1. Durham Cathedral

The UNESCO world heritage sight that is Durham Cathedral simply cannot be left out, even if you opt not to explore inside you have to at least walk up to the Palace green to take it all in and have a walk around the beautiful gardens surrounding the Cathedral. If you do want to explore inside which I recommend because it's such an architectural feat of a building then opting for a guided tour is a good idea as you get a far better insight into the history and it only costs £5 for an hour long tour, you can also pair this up with the Open Treasures exhibition which I found fascinating. Also if your a Harry Potter fan than visiting the Cathedral is a must as part of the film was shot here.

2. Durham Castle

Unfortunately over the weekend we were in Durham the castle was being used for a private event but we still managed to walk up to the gates and have a little sneak peak. The castle however usually is open to the general public through guided tours as the building is still in use. The castle also shares the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Cathedral only a minute away across the Palace green

3. River Cruise on The Weir

During out stay one of the highlights was taking The Prince Bishops River Cruise on the River Weir. It's such a relaxing way to see the city from a different perspective and the one-hour cruise also provides some great narration as well as views of the Cathedral, Castle and Bridges. The cruise only costs £8 and has a sundeck and bar on board and if your only going to be in Durham for one day I recommend you do this.

Where to Eat

1. The Flat White Kitchen

If your looking for that hit of artisan coffee brewed by a bearded hipster than The Flat White Kitchen is the perfect place to grab some brunch or coffee and cake before heading out and exploring the city more. The laid back atmosphere and cosy interior make this independent coffee shop the perfect haven when you have been walking for a few hours.

2.  Garden Gate Cafe at Crook Hall

If you feel like talking a walk across the city and just outside of the busy centre and fancy a garden cream tea in beautiful surroundings that I really recommend The Garden Gate Cafe. There is a fantastic sun terrace which is dog friendly and we were lucky the sun was out and we could enjoy eating al fresco. The also have a delicious selection of home made cake and quiches.

3. Tapas Factory, Elvet Bridge

If your looking for Authentic Spanish Tapas then this place is a must, run by two Spanish brothers this place offers up some really authentic tapas with plenty of meat and vegetarian options. It has a nice laid back atmosphere and is a great spot for have a nice social evening meal over a glass of wine.

4. Tin Of Sardines Gin Bar

If you are a fan of Gin and lets be honest who isn't then you need to check out the Tin of Sardines, but beware you may have to wait to get a seat as this is one of the smallest bars you will ever visit but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot to offer with over 200 gins to choose from. We managed to get a seat outside after our meal at The Tapas Factory (which is right next door).

5. Milbank Arms

If you have fancy exploring further afield and heading out of Durham for a few hours and are looking for the best Sunday lunch in County Durham, then Milbank Arms serves up some delicious locally sourced food in a stunning setting and they also offer accommodation if you wanted to combine your break between the chic city of Durham and time spent in the Yorkshire Dales.
Where to Stay

We stayed at Hotel Indigo Durham which is housed in a listed building and is very stylish and chic but not pretentious at all and I highly recommend you consider it if your visiting as we couldn't fault our stay. It also ended up being a fantastic base for us to explore what was on offer in Durham as it was only a few minutes walk from the centre. I have written a full review about the hotel here. There are of course plenty of other places to stay I would say find somewhere that allows you to walk everywhere as Durham isn't that big and it's an easy city to explore over a weekend.

We really enjoyed our time exploring this Northern Gem and really want to visit this part of the world more because there is still so much we haven't seen. If you want a little bit more inspiration then do check out my vlog from our trip.

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Going on a Road Trip? 5 Essential Car & Tyre Checks you need to do



I love a good road trip, we have been on many which I have documented on this blog as well as growing up in South Africa and driving extensively across that country. Over the years we have had very smooth trips to equally disasters ones such as breaking down near Exeter on the way to the Isles of Scilly in the middle of the summer holidays and having to wait on a hard shoulder with two small children for more than 2hrs, which is no fun believe me.

With a rise in staycations more and more of us are hitting the roads in the UK and exploring what is on our doorstep, as well as some taking the step further and driving across Europe. Of course you cannot foresee every unexpected mishap along the way but you can prepare and make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition it can be to hopefully prevent any issues as well as being organised in the event you do breakdown.

Here are 5 essential car and tyre checks you need to do before heading off on a road trip.

1. Check Fluids

So simple and so important yet many people overlook checking on fluid levels which is crazy because it can prevent breakdown. You want to make a list and tick it off as you go making sure you check your oil, coolant, brake build and windscreen wash. I also always carry a small bottle of oil and a 2 litre bottle of water in the boot on any trips we make as it's always best to be prepared.

2. Tyres

This is one of the most important checks that needs to be done and also making sure your tyres are roadworthy is not only a legal requirement but also for your own safety. If tyres are not maintained and neglected you could find yourself with a sudden blow out as well as a higher risk of accidents and worn tyres also do not perform well and consume more fuel which is not what you want especially on a long trip. If your tyre tread is worn and getting close to the legal tread I do highly recommend getting them replaced as soon as possible and certainly before your trip. Also make sure you have a spare with the right tyre pressure with you at all times and back to tyre pressure do look at your car manual and adjust your tyre pressure at your local petrol station to the right amount. If you are heading across the Channel and want to get rid of the old tyres, you can book car tyres from DAT tyres now

3. Lights

Again another legal requirement is to make sure all your lights are working properly so before heading off you want to check your headlights, indicators, tail lights and reverse lights and if any are out then you need to replace them and I would recommend going to somewhere like Halfords to do this as it could be a fuse and not the bulb.

4. Servicing

A lot of these will be done at your annual servicing and if your car is in need of one don't put it off, rather get your full or part service done before leaving for a big trip as this will usually flag up any issues as well as put your mind to rest. They will check all your car fluids and also check your tyres and give you an overall of the condition of your car.

5. Breakdown cover

I have broken down enough times over the years to know that even the most basic breakdown cover can be a godsend especially when you have children in the car. It also saves so much money if you sign up before a trip rather than on the roadside should an issue arise. There are some really competitive prices out there and you can usually get basic cover from around £30 per year.

These are all essential checks that need to be done before going on any big trip but should also be done every 6 months especially on the main family car because basic maintenance can not only prevent breakdowns or issues but also save you plenty of money in the longterm. If your looking for more road trip tips check out my post on how to stay stylish on the road trip and healthy food to pack for a trip

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7 things every Freelancer needs to do



I have touched a few times on the pros and cons of working freelance, for yourself and from home and while it really suits my lifestyle it can be a bit of a balancing act especially when you throw in kids, travelling a lot, running a home and all the life admin that goes along with it. With more and more people working in the digital landscape as well as those deciding to start up their own business and taking the leap into opening a store, hairdresser, garage etc its always going to be a bit of leap of faith but being prepared is so important. If you are like me and a working freelance mum then do check out my post about how to succeed as a work from home parent.

If you are thinking about going on your own, becoming a freelancer or starting your own business then you need to consider the following.

1. Timing

Make sure it's the right time to take the leap. I decided to not go back to may place of work after I had my first child, I had a couple of months with maternity pay while building up my blog income and once my maternity stopped I realised I was making almost the same as I was at work and felt it was the best time to make the leap and I haven't looked back. So it's wise to build up your business as much as you can before leaving your current work because if it starts to take off you will have no other option but to drop one of them. Also try and be as financial stable before becoming self-employed as you may take a pay dip for the first year or so.

2. Have a clear business plan

Know your audience and what you want to achieve and be very clear about that from the start while still be flexible with regards to potential change. If you don't have a vision things will become difficult down the line and knowing who you are targeting, where your clients come from and how to market to that really is the key to success.

3. Learn Discipline

As soon as you start working for yourself it gives you a lot of freedom but also a lot of responsibility as the buck stops with you with regards to how productive you are with your day. Whether your working from home, out of a co-working space or a shop you need to learn discipline and not procrastinate or become distracted as you want to get the most out of your work hours as possible. Do try and keep things exciting and if you need a change of scenery for an hour or so give yourself that time but also commit to being productive and getting work done.

5. Register with HMRC

One of the first things you need to do when you become self-employed is register with HMRC for tax return, this is an essential step and cannot be overlooked as it's your responsibility to communicate with HMRC on your earnings no matter how small or big they are. Also consider getting insurance for your business even if you are an individual working from home it's important to have yourself covered should anything unexpected happen.

6. Invest in yourself

To be able to do your job to a high standard you need the right equipment. Working as a content creator I know that every few years I need to update my laptop (remember when my laptop blew up), camera and phone as these are essential tools which cannot be overlooked. Yes you can mend and make do for a while but whatever industry you work in your need to have the right tools, for example if you were a barber and every year or so invests in a new clippers and scissors and the same would go for if you started your own garage and needed auto repair software to make your business run smoother.

7. Learn to hustle and deal with rejection

It can be hard out there, there will be times you will lose out on a campaign because perhaps someone undercut you or you were simply not what that client was looking for but don't get disheartened. You need to learn to put yourself out there and also deal with rejection as it's all part of the parcel when it comes to working freelance. If people don't know who you are and your business is hard to find then you need to go out and work on your marketing, approach people, go to networking events, always have business cards on you and email people of interest who make need your skills, the worst they can say in no and at least you put yourself out there.

Part of putting yourself out there is also working on building a solid social media following, a place where you can share your services and skills with your followers in a genuine and organic way. As time-consuming as this can be you do need to invest time on all the main platforms, such as Instagram, tiktok, facebook etc, this can be a slow process and a following does help build your authority in your niche so while working organically is always best there are ways to jump start this such as using Cheap Twicsy TikTok followers to get going. 

The great thing about working for yourself is you set your ours and also for many millennials it means you can work from anywhere and become digitally nomadic and travel more which is a major bonus but you also need to be realistic and put the work in. I hope these tips help you get you on your way and if your looking fora little inspiration on what to do from home check out this post about 5 interesting work from home roles.

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