6 ways to prepare your car for a family road trip



I love a good road trip! Having grown up in South Africa where the nearest city was a 7hr drive away you get used to long distance trips and besides driving in South African I have also done the length of the UK from the West Coast of Scotland to Cornwall as well as across France and Italy and I've learnt a few things along the way. I've had the experience of breaking down more than once with the kids in tow and navigating country roads, getting lost, taking the car on ferries and the Eurostar and even with all the ups and downs we have always enjoyed the journey because it's all apart of the adventure that is travel.

It's really important to have your car in tip-top shape before heading out on a road trip not only to reduce stress but also save you money. If your car breaks down while on a road trip it can end up costing you a whole lot more especially if you need to get it towed.

1. Make sure your MOT is up to date

Not only is having a valid MOT essential it's also the first point in car maintenance and is the Number 1 thing you need to check before going away. If you are due an MOT then make sure you visit a fully licensed and VOSA approved MOT testing centre such as Calmac Tyres and do your research beforehand and look for real person reviews. In general, the test costs around £40 and if your car is in very good condition it should hopefully pass first time without issues. For those who don't know an MOT checks lights, steering and suspension, windscreen and wipers, seatbelts, fuel systems, bodywork, brakes, wheels and tyres. An MOT mainly focuses on the safety and emissions which will give you peace of mind when driving long distances.

2. Book a service

If your MOT is already up to date then it would be worthwhile booking your car in for a service, it's doesn't necessarily need to be a full service especially if you don't have any immediate concerns so opting for at least a 49 point interim service could help put your mind at rest. An interim service still includes an oil and filter change, top-ups of essential fluids as well as break, steering and suspension checks. The main reasons for a service are to maintain a safer drive, reduce risks of future breakdowns and maintain it's value.

3. Take out breakdown cover

Even with all the preparation and checks things can still go wrong and you will pay a high premium to join a breakdown company at the side of the road or call out for a tow. The best thing you can do is take out breakdown cover before setting off and I can personally recommend this as we broke down on the way to Cornwall two years ago and luckily we were with the AA, yes we had to wait nearly two hours because it was peak summer time but we managed to get our car taken to a local garage and a car hire sorted for us so we could continue on our holiday.  Also money saving tip - do compare breakdown cover as they vary a lot in price, I recommend using Money supermarket for cover comparisons.

4. Pack an emergency kit

Having had my car not start more than once because of a rundown battery I now carry jump leads with me at all times as it's a simple issue that can be sorted out without having to call out breakdown services. I have learnt that it's really important to pack certain essentials in case of an emergency and not just jump leads but also a flashlight, water bottles, reflectors, first aid kit, a few non-perishable snacks such as breakfast bars (in case you breakdown and have to wait a long time). If your travelling with kids it may also be useful to pack toilet roll, hand sanitizer and baby wipes.

5. Pack a Map and plan a route in case your GPS fails.

It can be really easy to just rely on technology but what if that technology fails? Or you run out of battery? When embarking on a road trip it's really important to pack a map just in case, they usually don't cost more than a few pounds to get a recent road map of the UK and it can be a real lifesaver. Also planning a route beforehand can be really useful, including potential stops especially if your travelling with children. I always recommend checking our National Trust properties which can often be found 20mins from a motorway for a good place to run around and eat lunch as children will need more stops than adults.

6. Have copies of essential documents

If your travelling long distance in the UK it's worth having your Drivers license on your at all times as well as breakdown cover documentation and your insurance details. You never know when you made need these things and should you breakdown or have an accident somewhere without reception you won't be able to access your emails to get the details. If you do have a serious accident and need to get the car removed or try to sell it for scrap you will need your documents.

Please bear in mind that these tips are mainly for travelling in the UK, if you are planning to take your car to the European continent then there are additional things you need to do, such as carrying a breathalyser, GB sticker and warning triangle to name a few as well as carrying some additional documentation. There is a really good list here of everything you need.

Don't be put off hitting the road this summer, just think of all the amazing memories you can make! But with everything in life preparation is key and can really help prevent any issues and put your mind at rest that your car is in the best shape before you set off.

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Top tips for learning from home


home learning

As some of you may already know I work from home but prior to this while studying for my degree, in the last year I had to do a large portion of it from home, having had my son 6 weeks before the first day back of my final year at university. I learnt a lot about self-driven learning and creating a space conducive for learning and creativity. It's not something that comes overnight and it does have to be worked on. Also as I continually work on gaining more skills I am looking to doing a course at home, like many parents, online learning has opened a gateway to being able to improve employment opportunities and gain new skills around having a family.

Today, jobs rely on learning more than ever before. Shifts in the economy mean that more people occupy knowledge jobs - like consulting, management and digital and IT-based roles more than ever before. People in these positions need to learn the skill of learning to stay up to date with the latest developments in their field. It’s not just about access to the right information: it’s being able to process it and incorporate it into the way you perform your role.

So if you're looking to undertake one of many online courses available online, here are my top tips for creating a space at home to get the best results.

Strategy #1: Create A Learning Environment

Humans are creatures of habit and association. Most of us go to bed when it gets dark and wake when it gets light (or we would if we had the choice). We all clean our teeth religiously in the morning and at night - something that we learned in childhood. And we insist on wearing our seatbelts when travelling in the car.

These habits are automatic. We don’t even think about them most of the time. The good news is that you can put this tendency to form associations to good use by creating a learning environment: a physical location you go to when you want to educate yourself. What you want is a place that your brain will associate with the task of learning, priming you to develop your thinking. Make sure it's comfortable and that you have all the materials you need, with a minimum of distractions. If you have an office, snug or garage space you can close the door and separate yourself from family life that would be ideal.

It's also worth taking up some of the fantastic free online courses that are out there. We can all upskill for free these days, even if it's just improving digital and computer skills and taking online excel training to become more employable.  

online learning

Strategy #2: Learn In Short Bursts

If you want to learn faster, one of the best things that you can do is to learn in short bursts. It turns out that our brains aren’t particularly good at continually learning new things, hour after hour. They need time to consolidate what they’ve learned and consigned it to memory. Your brain finds it hard to do this if you continue to bombard it with new information.

If you take an online MBA course, you’ll no doubt see this research in practice. Many innovative educators insist that people take 10 minutes breaks between learning sessions to consolidate what they’ve learned. Doing this helps to foster the learning process.

Strategy #3: Pretend You’re Teaching Somebody Else

Ever wondered why your teachers at school seemed to know everything about everything to do with their subject matter? Researchers believe that it might be because they have to teach somebody else.

Teaching somebody else, even if you’re just pretending, is a potent method of enhancing your learning. Scientists believe that the reason for this has to do with the way the brain gives credence to teaching. It’s often hard for the brain to justify giving up resources for learning for learning’s sake. Creating new neural connections is an energy-intensive activity, and something the brain wants to avoid if it can help it.

But if there’s a purpose to the learning: for instance, teaching somebody else, then the brain will be more willing to take on board new information. This is why researchers believe teaching is the best way to learn: it forces you to consider learning as important and necessary.

Strategy #4: Practice Spacing

What sounds like a better strategy for you? Spending 90 minutes in a single session learning calculus, or spreading the learning out across three 30 minutes sessions, two days apart?  Researchers believe that the latter is more effective. It’s akin to watering a lawn. Watering a lawn for 90 minutes once per week will yield some benefits. But watering it for 30 minutes, three times per week is likely to have an even greater effect.

The same is true for learning. Repeatedly exposing yourself to the same information, over and over, helps to reinforce the information, making it easier to learn.

adult learning

Strategy #5: Mix It Up

It can be tempting to get into a habit of learning material in the same way. For instance, if you’re somebody who likes to learn by reading, then you will always prefer to go to the textbook to find out what you need to know.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, however, did research investigating whether people learn better when approaching the same material in different ways. The researchers split people up into two groups and then fed them educational material. In the first session, both groups got the same content, but in the second session, the treatment group were asked to perform learning tasks in a different way.

At the end of the experiment, those in the treatment group appeared to understand the material better and did better on the tests. So if you want to learn faster, then try approaching problems from different angles.

Strategy #6: Take A Nap

Going to sleep might not seem like the ideal way to learn, but there is evidence from the journal Psychological Science that napping may help. People who nap between learning sessions appear to assist their brains in consolidating what they’ve learned. The sleep group in the experiment did a better job of recalling information than the group who had to remain awake throughout the entire trial.


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Bournemouth Beach - The perfect family day out



Kids on the beach

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On the way back from our trip to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, we arrived late into Poole Ferry Port (around midnight) so there was no way we were going to head back to Cardiff that night and instead checked into a Travelodge in Poole although there are plenty of hotels in Bournemouth and decided to extend our holiday by one more day and explore a part of the coast we hadn't really been to before. I had heard really good things about Bournemouth and it's been somewhere I have wanted to take the kids for a while so this was a great opportunity to do just that. 

As soon as we got to our hotel we headed straight to bed as it had been a very long day and woke up ready to explore. As Poole is only a 20 min drive from Bournemouth it seemed like it was going to be a pretty easy place to get too but what we hadn't taken into account was it being a Bank Holiday Friday and not just any Bank Holiday but one with glorious warm and sunny weather so as you can imagine everyone in a 100 mile radius was heading to the beach. Luckily Bournemouth Beach is huge with more than enough space for everyone and we wanted to keep our itinerary for the day nice and loose and simply discover what was on offer. 

family beach

Beach chairs

We stumbled onto Alun Chine beach which is a beautiful blue flag beach around a 20 min stroll west of Bournemouth main pier yet has so much on offer for a day out. As soon as we parked up we knew we were going to have fun as you walk past a large outdoor nature inspired play park which colourful Beach huts lining the sand. No bright arcades or loud music but an expanse of clean sandy beach to run on. 

The coastline here is so fantastic that on a sunny day like the day we visited you could easily mistake it for somewhere in Europe and its so refreshing to just slow things down and enjoy the simple pleasures such as double ice-creams from the small but popular ice-cream kiosk. While the kids ran in and out of the water and built sandcastles (supervised by their Dad) I headed for a spot of shade in the Tropical gardens that overlook Alun Chine and offer a great view of the beach. 

Vesuvio Bournemouth

Bournemouth tropical garden

As the day went in we pop into Vesuvio Italian Restaurant for some ice cold lemonades for the kids and an Aperol Spritz for myself. The atmosphere here is great and the menu looked mouth watering although it was still a little early for supper but if you're looking for the best of Italian food overlooking the beach then this is the spot. 

As Bournemouth Beach promenade spans a pretty far distance every half hour a land-train arrives and stops off at a number of stops before reaching the Pier. Luckily we manage to get the last one of the day and jumped off Durely Beach Chine which is home to the best-positioned Harvester I have ever seen with the sand coming right up to the door and unrestricted views across the beach. While we usually avoid chains Harvesters was a safe bet for what had been a non-stop day of swimming and running around and like I said this certainly was not the normal run of the mill Harvester. I would advise booking in advance on weekends though as we did have a bit of a wait but it was well worth it. 

Train Bournemouth

Beach restaurant

Filled up on salad of good food and with the sun slowly going down we took a relaxing stroll back to Alun Chine with a full tummy and a full heart. While I know the centre of Bournemouth has plenty on offer, if your looking for a slower pace and a nice weekend break away from reality then I highly recommend making Alun Chine on Bournemouth beach a base and you can also hire out one of the beautiful pastel coloured Beach huts to top off a classic British seaside break. 


The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own
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Making a Loft Bathroom Extension Feel Spacious with VELUX Roof Windows



Velux window

*This is a paid partnership with VELUX and BritMums

We all know that natural daylight and fresh air are really good for our overall wellbeing and the more we can bring these two things into our home, the better. When we were doing our loft bathroom I wanted it to make it light and airy even though the space is very small. It now feels spacious and airy due to our VELUX roof window, which floods this small space with an abundance of natural daylight, making it one of my favourite rooms in the house. I find it incredible how one small change can have such a big impact on a room but it really can!

I know sometimes people overlook bathrooms but surprisingly we spend a lot of our time each day in one and stepping into a light and airy room first thing in the morning can really help lift the spirits and prepare you for a busy day ahead. The Scandinavians are well known for their minimalist and well-designed homes that have a real focus on bringing the outdoors in, using VELUX roof windows in their kitchen extensions or loft conversions, and I can see why -- it's a trend that I am so happy is being embraced in Britain.

We used Scandi-style design in our bathroom – I love the clean, uncluttered look with simple materials – glass, stone, metal. To get this pared-back style we had to think about clever storage space and streamlining. This is especially important if you have a loft conversion bathroom like ours where the footprint of the space is a bit less typical.

In true Scandi-style, our VELUX roof windows give us treetop views outside plus there are the benefits of ventilating an area that naturally gets steamy. Inside I stripped and painted an old cabinet to make it more minimalist and suit the new feel of the space. We gave the room a lick of new paint, which helps bounce the daylight from the roof windows around the room. I also replaced knobs with some vintage ones that – while a small detail – really smartened up the overall look.

The thing is, like us, you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to transform a loft bathroom into an appealing, design-forward space that you love stepping into first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The VELUX roof window configurator lets you compare different sizes and styles of roof windows as well as the cost so you can pick what’s right for your space and your pocketbook.

In the bathrooms section on the VELUX site, you can also get ideas for different approaches to open up a small room with daylight. Check out the different styles of roof windows https://www.velux.co.uk/products/roof-windows, including VELUX INTEGRA®, which makes opening and closing your windows ridiculously easy because you can operate them at the touch of a button. https://www.velux.co.uk/projects/room-gallery/bathroom
Getting inspired for your project

When it comes to our homes and interiors, being inspired by others and sharing ideas is key! I have been lucky enough to be part of this fantastic project with VELUX and 8 other amazing bloggers who have really inspired me with their stylish loft and kitchen extensions that have been transformed by using VELUX roof windows. I would love to share their spaces with you.

Stylish bathroom

I love what Catherine from Growing Family has done with her single-storey kitchen extension, using VELUX roof windows to help create an open plan family room that is flooded with natural daylight. It makes it a welcoming social space for the whole family. See more inspiration on her Pinterest Board.

Velux Kitchen

Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos is currently in the process of converting her bathroom and is aiming to create a light and airy loft bathroom. She’s using tiles and mirrors to bounce the daylight coming in through a VELUX roof window, making the room feel lighter and brighter and giving the illusion of space. She has even more inspiration on her Pinterest board.

Light bathroom

Becky from A Beautiful Space has transformed her kitchen with a VELUX roof window. It’s added an abundance of daylight and has made the whole mood of the home feel lighter. What a stylish space to eat breakfast or enjoy a glass of wine. Do check out more inspiration over on her Pinterest Board.

Kitchen windows

Gill from A Baby on Board has completely changed her home with a loft conversion, using VELUX roof windows to help transform an unused space into a light and airy master bedroom with an open plan office! She also has some fantastic tips on planning your own loft conversion, so do pop by her blog and have a read as well as checking out her Pinterest board.

Loft room

Jenni from Chilling with Lucas has used VELUX roof windows to help create a bright and welcoming atmosphere in the kitchen, making it the heart of the home for cooking up a family meal or just catching up with friends. She has also felt the positives of starting each day with natural daylight in her single storey bedroom extension rather than using unnatural lights. Check her Pinterest board.

modern kitchen

Emma from Mummy..Mummy..MUM! has a wonderful loft conversion that she uses as a playroom (don't we all wish we had a dedicated playroom!). Thanks to the VELUX roof window they have installed, this space is full of natural light making it a great place for kids to come and play or just chill out with their friends. See her Pinterest board for more ideas.

Loft playroom

Clare from Maybush Studios is just embarking on her own journey to brighten up her daughter's bedroom by adding a pair of VELUX roof windows. She’s seen the huge impact they have made with her own parent's loft conversion so was inspired to do the same in her home. Pop by her inspiring blog filled with gorgeous photography as well as her Pinterest board.

Loft extension

Chrissy from Organise my House has had a real transformation since putting in VELUX roof windows into her single-story kitchen extension. It now floods the space with daylight and makes it is a place her family want to spend time together. Head to her blog to see what a big impact it's made to her home as well as her Pinterest board.


Simple kitchen

When it comes to my own bathroom, that’s now a space I enjoy and want to relax in. There is nothing nicer than a long bath in a natural light-filled room, just taking it easy and enjoying the simple things in life. There are still a few changes I have in mind for my bathroom, to help streamline it even more and create that Scandi-haven I have always wanted, but one thing is for sure: we love the bright, light feel our VELUX roof window has given our bathroom.

WIN with BritMums & VELUX

Now it’s your chance to win with BritMums and VELUX roof windows. All you need to do is create your own Pinterest mood board showing how VELUX roof windows bring daylight and fresh air into homes. This could include pictures of your own home, ideas for a renovation project you are planning or inspiration from elsewhere.

There are £800 worth of prizes available (1 * £200 John Lewis Voucher and 8 * £75 John Lewis Voucher). The competition will launch on 23rd April on BritMums website and Pinterest.

*This is a paid partnership with VELUX and Britmums

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Little Freddie Organic Food - their Journey so Far



If your a regular reader you may already know that for the past year I have been working as an ambassador with the family-run organic baby and toddler food brand called Little Freddie and have seen it flourish and go from strength to strength. Having met up with the small but passionate team last year in London, trying out some flavours before they were even on the market, adding feedback to packaging and seeing that being taken onboard and hearing the fantastic news that they had taken massive steps to make all of their pouches fully recyclable, watching my toddler gulp down their organic snacks with so much delight and seeing their range grow from pouches to smoothies and fingers foods, has been a really special experience for me. This time last year Little Freddie was only available online and with Ocado so walking into my local Sainsburys last month and seeing their range in store was a bit of a proud moment even if I only played a very small part in their journey.

I have always been very conscientious when it comes to what we eat as a family and like any parent want my children to be getting a nutritious and healthy balanced diet, making our meals from scratch most nights, encouraging a diet full of fruit and veg but like most I am also a working mother and family life is very busy. Getting that balance of being active, working, travelling, spending as much time outdoors as possible, school runs and everything in between, can be hard work and in reality it can be very easy for things to slide. So partnering up with Little Freddie has been a dream collaboration for me as it's founders know what family life is really like, how busy things can get but are passionate about providing the best quality organic ingredients for their kids on the go. 

What makes Little Freddie different? Well, firstly it's homegrown, developed by two loving parents and alongside a paediatric nutritionist. They never add sugars, preservatives or salt and they are constantly working to be the most sustainable baby and toddler food brand, having recently launched the Big Green Plan. For me though what really makes them different is the array of unique ingredients that you don't see in many other pouches on the market, such as pumpkin seed butter, coconut milk, wild rice, passionfruit and flaxseed to name a few. Having their range so easily and readily available in both Sainsburys and Boots available is great and I am excited to see what the next year holds for Little Freddie.

This blog post is part of the on-going paid Ambassador work I have done with Little Freddie this year
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8 things to do before a Family trip to a hot destination



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As we head towards summer many people are planning family trips abroad to warm and sunny destinations, travelling overseas is something we all look forward too, visiting beautiful countries such as Spain or Italy and enjoying fascinating cultures and people. However while this comes with a lot of excitement there are also some essential preparations we need to take to ensure everyone stays safe, healthy and has a good time. I thought I would share eight critical things that you and your family can do to prepare for a holiday in the sun.   

1. Pack loose-fitting clothes

Yes I know many pack outfits and styles for a breakaway (Instagram pictures come to mind) but do make sure you also take some practical and loose fitting clothes that help keep you cool and help you from overheating and feeling the effect of the heat, this is especially important for young children who just want to be comfortable and run around. 

2. Pack extra Sunscreen

You can never have enough sunscreen on a beach holiday so doubling up on the sunscreen is always a good idea as well as having some packed in your day bag and main luggage making it really accessible as soon as you get off the plane. Also, sunscreen is much cheaper at home and you will pay a premium buying it at a store near a beach. 

3. Carry Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Why do I sweat so much as soon as the sun comes out?" If so, then you need to look for a solution as soon as you can because most of the paradise and European summer destinations can get very hot. It may seem simple but making sure you pack some deodorant can help ensure you don't get caught out which can be a little embarrassing. 

4. Don't forget the Hat, Sunglasses and UV protective clothing 

We recently visited the Channel Islands and it was unseasonally warm and I was annoyed that I hadn't packed hats for the boys as a bucket hat is essential in hot weather and helps protect your head and neck. The same can be said for your eyes so investing in a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. For children packing some UV protective swimwear that covers most of the body will help alongside suncream to make sure their delicate skin doesn't feel the effects of the sun.  

5. Invest a child-friendly cameras

It's not only the adults that want to capture the holiday memories but also the kids. While my children are far from having phones of their own, my eldest who is 8 does have a camera which he enjoys capturing our adventures on. Getting him into photography also entrusting him with his own piece of tech has been a fun learning opportunity as well as encouraging personal responsibility. You don't have to buy a "kids camera" but rather a budget-friendly robust camera that takes a decent photo. 

6. Read Travel Guides by Others

When I travel I always read up "real" reviews by real people and with so many travelling enthusiasts around the world love documenting their travels on their respective social media accounts and blogs there is a wealth of information out there. Following these individuals and learning from their experiences can go a long way in preparing you for your trip and helping you find those hidden gems. You’ll not only know what to bring with you but also which places to visit and so on.

7. Learn the local language basics & get a translator app

I've just written a post about why it's important to learn the local language basics as it can really help to reduce stress as well as improve your overall travel experience. Many sunny destinations in Europe do not have English as a first language so one should expect it to be widely spoken. If you do run out of time or just have not got to gist with the local language than downloading a translator app can also be very handy.

8. Check you're up to date with your vaccinations

If you're travelling somewhere hot, especially exotic destinations, it's really important to make sure you all have your vaccines up to date as they can protect you against some serious and potentially fatal diseases found in other parts of the world. Just remember that some vaccines need to be given weeks in advance of the trip and are there to keep you and your family healthy. 

Travelling to other parts of the world, it is vital for you and your family to prepare in advance. Doing so will help eliminate many inconveniences that come your way. Remember to carry out extensive research on the best preparations for your vacation so that you are well equipped both physically, financially as well as psychologically. Last but not least, don’t forget to go out there and have as much fun as you can! Spain is indeed a beautiful country, and that’s enough a reason to have the time of your life during your stay.

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Travelling Abroad? Why you should learn the local language


female travel

Travelling, especially as a family can be an exciting time, discovering new cultures, experiencing new places, trying out the local food and opening your mind to a different way of life. Travel, however, can at times also be fairly stressful so planning in advance I find is always key, knowing where you are staying and get acquainted with the map of the area can help you feel less disorientated but what I find the biggest help is having a basic grasp of the local language.

I remember once when I was a young girl travelling with my parents in Paris, one evening, them with a phrasebook in hand trying to negotiate buying some baguettes from a small bakery in the Montmartre district for a budget dinner on the go. I remember there being a lot of back and forth and misunderstanding but they persevered and in the end managed to communicate enough to be successful. My parents always instilled in me that we are guests in another country and should never expect them to speak our language but instead try and speak theirs no matter how basic our level is, it's a mark of respect and politeness and the response in my experience has always been warm and helpful.

If that's not enough to persuade you here are 3 reasons why you should learn the local language before travelling somewhere new

1. It makes your travels much easier

You don't need to be fluent by any stretch of the imagination but just knowing some of the basics when travelling in a non-english speaking country will go a far way and make your whole experience an easier one. There is nothing more daunting than travelling to a city and negotiating local transport when you have no idea of what anything says or ordering that much needed cup of coffee after a long day of exploring. Also having a grasp of basic numeracy in another language can help you from being taken advantage of when buying at the local market or store.


2. To fully immerse yourself in the country

The only way to really experience a place is to get to know its history and the people and being able to communicate even on a basic level with able you to immerse yourself in the local culture on a deeper level. It also opens you up to meeting more local people and seeing the city or town through their eyes and having more shared experiences. If you're serious about immersing yourself in the local way of life then do check out Couchsurfing, which I have used a few times, not only for a place to stay but just to meet up with locals in a city and go for coffee. When I was in Zagreb a local girl took me to see a black and white Croatian film at an Art house theatre and it was fantastic - I'd never had known about this if I hadn't connected via Couchsurfing.

3. Develop a new life-long skill

Learning a new language takes times and while the basics are a massive help you can return home with a new love for learning and developing your skills further and can build on what you already know and being able to speak another language can help with job opportunities as well. Learning a new language also helps to improve memory, the ability to problem solve and creativity and can be helpful to your general wellbeing as well as opening more of the world up to you.

I'm sure by this point I have convinced you of the many reasons why learning the local language when travelling is key, now what is the best way to learn before you go? Well, there are a few.


1. Use a language school or online course

Gone are the days when you have to go at a set time each week, nowadays you can do most things in a time that suits you, in your own home but many providers still provide that face to face interaction via Skype and languagetrainers.co.uk offer just this which is amazing and means you still get all the benefits of one to one learning with a native speaker without having to leave the sofa! There are also some super easy to use apps and online language tools to help brush up your knowledge such as Duolingo, which is worth checking out.

2. Swap Language skills

There are plenty of people who want to improve their English skills, you may even know somewhere already, so meeting up on a weekly basis over coffee and doing a language swap is a great way to learn from a native speaker while also helping them improve their skills. These kinds of swaps are great as they can help build friendships and skills in a casual environment.

3. Watch Foreign films

When we are learning a new language we need to get ourselves acquainted with proper pronunciation and what better way than to enjoy a foreign film over the weekend? I love watching European movies, especially ones based in France or Italy. There is also plenty of resources and inspiration on YouTube that can help you get on your way and works well in addition to using a language course. 

When you are travelling in a foreign country you never have to feel embarrassed about trying to speak the local language especially as most locals are likely to be impressed that you're trying to communicate in the local dialect even if it's far from perfect. The great thing about learning a new language is you never know where it may take you or who you may meet during your journey so what not start today?

learning language

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Easter Adventures to be had across the UK


Easter holidays

The days are getting longer, and the kids are on their Easter holiday break so if you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to keeping the kids entertained over the school break, don't worry, I have it sorted.

There are eggs-cellent events for families taking place across the Easter school break all over the UK – and they don't all involve eating chocolate! Whether you want to take the family to an Easter-egg hunt or take a trip to a museum, check out my top Easter activities for kids in the UK. Whether you want to take it slow, wake up, get the waffle mix out and whip up a batch of waffles and have no plans or you want to pack as much in as possible, here are a few ideas. 

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 12-14th April

For the past three years I have taken my boys to the RHS Flower show and have always had a blast as there is an array of things to see and do and makes for a great day out. Located in Bute Park in the heart of the city, it the perfect way to get some garden inspiration as well as encourage children to get outdoors and learn about plants, flowers and wildlife in a fun way. You can get tickets here and also check out my vlog from last year. Also each paying adult can bring in two children under 16 for Free!

RHS flower show

Warner Bros Studio Tour – Leavesden

Enter the breathtaking world of Harry Potter and take a behind-the-scenes look at this worldwide phenomenon. Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, gives you an incredible glimpse into the magical world of one of the most successful movie series of all time. On the tour, you’ll be transported to an enchanting world bursting with special effects, amazing costumes, legendary props and mythical creatures. Take a look at https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk if you need more info. 

Storytelling and Music Sessions (0 to 4-year-olds) – Royal Albert Hall

Storytelling veterans Paul Rubinstein, Becky Dixon and Samantha Sutherland will take little ones on an interactive journey through the history of the world-famous venue. They’ll present a series of sessions for babies and toddlers, with a view to engage and encourage communication between parents/carers. The kids can have a go on some musical instruments, too, and enjoy singing, movement and stories.  The aim? To develop self-confidence, coordination and awareness through sounds, songs, rhythms and rhymes, as well as learn all about the hall’s musical history. The sessions run up until 25 April and tickets cost £5

Free Gingerbread Baking Masterclass – GAIL’s Bakery (3 venues in London)

Try your hand at a spot of gingerbread baking and decorating at GAIL’s Bakery this Easter. With bunny cookie cutters and rolling pins at the ready, you and the kids will use GAIL’s famous speculoos biscuit dough to make your delicious creations. Once you’ve baked your handmade treats, kids can then decorate them with icing before taking them home to devour – along with other GAIL’s goodies. And rest assured: there’ll be enough for you to eat, too! 

easter gingerbread

Leeds Castle – Kent

Walk off all the Easter chocolate at Leeds Castle. Stroll through the glorious woodland and admire the blossoming parklands. Marvel at the rainbow tulips in the beautiful grounds and witness daffodils bedecking the ancient moat. There’s a family-friendly event this Easter at the castle with the Junk Orchestra. Little ones can get creative with the skilfully assembled pieces of ‘rubbish’ and help create an awesome structure. They’ll place all their creations on the Pavilion Lawn which was erected by respected eco artist Sarah Turner. 

Easter Egg Hunts and Chocolate Party – Whitemead Forest Park 

Located in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, Whitemead Forest Park promises a fun-filled Easter break. Stay in a woodland lodge, cabin (with hot tub), glamping pod, caravan or modern apartment.
The popular family resort even has its own on-site swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar. What’s more, there’s a raft of kids’ activities on-scene – namely the site-wide Easter-egg hunts. And let’s not forget the exclusive chocolate party where kids get involved in loads of madcap chocolate games!

Eureka! – Halifax

Featuring six interactive zones, this National Children’s Museum event lets your youngsters learn about the incredible world of science and technology this Easter holiday. Taking place every day from Saturday 6 April to Sunday 28 April, your kids will be totally awestruck. They’ll watch science demonstrations and learn about everything from deserts to the human body. For a truly one-off Easter weekend, how about taking the whole family to meet the Easter Bunny here? Created by Same Difference Arts, you can come here from Friday 19 to Monday 22 April.

Easter Egg Hunts with the National Trust 

Every year National Trust properties pair up with Cadburys and put on an array of fun activites and easter egg hunts. We have taken part in two over the years, once at Aberdulais Falls and the other at Dyffryn Gardens. The hunts involve searching for clues and figuring out puzzles and gets the kids outdoors, running around and being active with of course a little treat at the end. It's always a fun way to spend the day and National Trust properties are of course inspiring places to be such as Bodiam Castle in Sussex, one of the most atmospheric fairytale castles and great for the whole family.

Springtime activities

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Letting my kids do my makeup with Cosmetify



mother of boys

*In Collaboration with Cosmetify

I have a pretty straight forward and simple makeup routine, in fact on most days when I am doing the school run I go out with little more than some foundation or BB cream, concealer (to hide those day eyes) and some lip balm. Of course when I attend a work event, special occasion or drinks out I make more of an effort and certainly have a safe go-to look with my favourite red lipstick. I think on reflection, I have just become a little stuck in my ways because I'm time short at the moment and it's easy to forget that makeup should be fun and to experiment with it a little more.

So I was really excited when Cosmetify got in touch and asked if I wanted to do something super fun which involved choosing a few new makeup items and getting the kids to be creative, on me, I thought why not and needless to say the kids were onboard!

makeup tutorial

For those who don't know who or what Cosmetify is, it's a website that brings together all the best beauty and skincare products in the UK, in one place, making it an easy shopping experience for all your needs. You can also filter to see only vegan, cruelty free, ethical or organic products which is great and let's just say your certainly spoilt for choice as the website has EVERYTHING!

As I knew the children would be in charge I decided to keep my choices fun but simple and avoid things like eyeliner as that just seemed a bad idea in the hands of a 4yr old, although I did brave it with Mascara. Here is the list of products I decided to try out, everything is cruelty free and from what I can see vegan as well and I can personally recommend each and every one, they are all amazing.

1. Brushworks Mini Brush Set
2. Lottie London - Selfie Ready Matte foundation
3. Lottie London Blush Crush Zayn
4. NYX Cosmic metals eye shadow palette
5. 3ina Ultra lengthening mascara
6. 3ina Matte lipstick
7. Ciate mini nail polish

After washing my face and putting on some moisturiser, I applied the Lottie London foundation to give the boys as much of a blank canvas to work with and they couldn't wait to get stuck in. They started out with the blush and then moved onto the eyeshadow and I have to say I was pretty impressed with their application, wasn't nearly as bad as I thought! But then we moved onto the lipstick and that did go a little wrong but all with a good dose of humour.

family fun

The mascara was a bit of an eye raising experience if I do say so myself as I did worry for my eyes so we quickly moved onto the nail varnish which my youngest absolutely loved doing and has been asking daily since if he can make my nails pretty again.

We laughed a lot making the vlog and it was really fun for all of us! I think if I gave the kids a chance they would do my makeup every day!

makeup fun

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Simple ways to bring more nature into your life


childhood in nature

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Spring is now upon us and it feels like we are all waking up from a winter hibernation and it's time to make up for the long cold winter and get outdoors and embrace everything is has to offer. The great thing about the outdoors is for the most part it's free and has huge wellbeing benefits for all ages. Of course you don't always have to be on some big adventure or challenge but simply spending time pottering around your own garden is good for you and can be a great lesson for children on how to bring more nature into your garden space.

When it comes to anything like this it's important to just focus on works best for your family or lifestyle and not get too caught up with whatever everyone else is doing, ignore your neighbours neatly clipped lawns and tamed beds, as long as what your doing is bringing joy and happiness to you and your family then that's all that matters. So in this post I am going to focus on simple and fun ways to enjoy nature at home and further afield. 

kids outdoors

5 Simple ways for families to embrace Nature away from the home

1. Go on a bug hunt at your local park. The woodland trust has some free printable mini-beast spotter sheets which I have used a few times with both of my boys as they are nice and simple and a local green space is perfect for this. 
2. Go Geocaching and join in the worlds largest treasure hunt! We have done Geocaching twice before but now my youngest is a little older this is something we are going to do a lot more of this summer. I have already checked and there are 2544 geocaches in Cardiff alone so there is bound to be one near you and it's completely free to set up a Geocache account and download the app
3. Head to the beach and enjoy the simple pleasures that is collecting shells and rock pooling as there is so much to discover doing this! You never really know what your going to come across in a rock-pool and is fascinating for both parents and children. There is also lots of shell animal craft inspiration over on Simple As That blog.
4. Head to the summit of a local hill or mountain. This year we are planning to tick some local Trig points off which are often found at the top of prominent hills and mountains and are great fun for kids to work towards as it gives them a real sense of achievement when they reach the top. Hiking is one of the best free activities you can do as a family and on a recent hike this weekend we spotted an array of Birds of prey flying above us as well as plenty of insects and bugs. 

Garth Hill

5. Get creative in nature - nature can be a wonderful base for creativity and artistic pursuits such as finding a quiet spot near a meadow and drawing for a couple of hours or do some leaf rubbing with kids. Another favourite with my two is taking some environmentally friendly clay into the forest and creating some green clay men on the trees. 

Simple ways to bring nature into your garden 

As nice as perfectly manicured lawns are if your outdoor space is too spotless it's not always the most appealing to wildlife as some need small nooks and crannies to live in or longer grass to thrive and with butterflies, bees and birds facing some tough times in the UK we need to think how we can accommodate native species better.

If you’re looking to encourage native species into your garden, then consider letting some of it grow a little wilder. Have a section that looks just like a meadow if you can and plant some shrubs and flowers that actively encourage visitors to your garden.


The famous Buddleia is your first item on your shopping list. Not only does it grow well between summer and autumn it will attract all manner of winged insects to your garden. Different varieties bloom at different points, so if you want to extend your visitor season, grow a few different varieties. The lovely Sedum is another option to consider with its delicate pale pink flowers. Other colours are available, but the pink variety produces much more nectar and is therefore more attractive to visitors.


Create fragrance and attract honey bees with a Lavender plant or any other purple plant. Bees can see this colour much more easily than others so tend to gravitate towards purple coloured plants more. Catmint will also do the job alongside beautiful Alliums but don’t feel limited to purple, the bees will happily buzz around exploring and find flowers of all shades and tones. You can also have fun making your own bee or bug hotel to attract more into your outdoor space - this is also perfect for those who have smaller gardens, patios or small balcony areas.

bee hotel


Create a safe haven for flying wildlife with bird boxes. Depending on how large you cut the hole and where you place it in your garden, you can attract all kinds of different species. Feed your visitors with specially-made bird food hanging from trees and don’t forget the fat balls that provide so much essential energy for birds during the winter months, you can also try make your own by rolling pinecones in peanut butter and bird seeds or pick up a cool box from Boxwild.

As an added wildlife bonus, you might want to create a little pond area in your garden to attract, newts, frogs and of course fish. Take a look at Swell UK to get started.  If you’re looking to help our declining hedgehog population consider creating a bespoke hedgehog house and offering some dog or cat food to attract them into the garden at night.

With so much beautiful and endangered wildlife on our shores, turning your garden into a haven of food and shelter is a worthwhile activity. Watching stunning butterflies and hearing the buzz of bees are satisfying sights and sounds and only take a well-planted shrub here and there. Consider sharing your open space with bees, birds and butterflies and possibly the odd hedgehog and you’ll be glad you gave up your clipped lawns for a garden alive with colour and sounds.

get outdoors

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