Moments of Joy from 2020



I know 2020 was one of the most difficult years globally we have had to face in a very long time. No one could foresee it and very few were fully prepared, especially in the UK. We have learnt how to adapt and change our lives to hopefully keep others safe until the pandemic is fully resolved and while there were plenty of lows in 2020 there were also some amazing highs as well as a new appreciation for what we have on our doorstep.

While 2020 was also hard for many not only health-wise but also financially, mentally, socially and affecting everyone in some way I also don't want to forget the moments of joy we had despite all of this because there really were some great times and I think it's easy to overlook these when we think back to 2020.

So here are a few of our personal moments of happiness within the chaos of what was 2020 and I hope you had similar moments too. 

Before Covid Hit

There was a short period at the start of 2020 when we still (unknowingly) had it really good and luckily we managed to squeeze a few fun mini road trips in before the lockdowns hit in the March. Including our annual trip to West Wales and exploring the National Botanical Gardens and a History inspired trip to Chester to check out all the Roman Ruins. We also started the year with a lovely walk up Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Brecon Beacons and watched the sunset, as well as our usual Castle adventures (slowly ticking off all the Welsh Castles).

During the first lockdown

The first lockdown definitely felt like the most monumental one (although the Welsh National Lockdown we are currently in right now over Christmas also has that feeling) and we very quickly had to learn to live with restrictions such as only being able to go for walks once a day initially and stay within a 5 mile radius. But this meant we quickly discovered what amazing places walks we had on our doorstep, including a fantastic mountain summit hike and like everyone else we felt forever grateful for having a garden and outdoor space. We also spent Easter under lockdown which was rather interesting but also very family-focused and on the topic of family, I have to say my boys where incredibly understanding of not seeing their grandparents in order to keep them safe. 

Rhondda Cynon Taff

A strange summer

Summer was a weird and wonderful time, we had really good weather for one and while there was to some degree a sense of normality we were also very aware things were not normal. Masks, social distancing, still not seeing family, limited social time, zoom calls, all of these had no entered our lives. So we focused on being outdoors as much as possible. We went wild swimming together and explored parts of the Wye Valley on my SUP board, as well as some canoeing, sunny days skateboarding together and my eldest also tried his hand at surfing. The one big "outing" for me was also an early birthday session at The Wave in Bristol which is an artificial surfing wave and it was amazing. 

surfer mum

Summer 2020

Back in Lockdown

The regained freedom we had in Summer didn't last long in Wales, especially as my area of Wales went into local lockdown in the middle fo September and we have been under some sort of restrictions since then. But we are learning to live and thrive regardless while still taking all the precautions we need to keep others safe. Even though we spent lots of time outdoors this year we never ate in a cafe, pub or restaurant since the pandemic started, we have socially distanced all year, the kids have been home since March and we always wear our masks, wash hands and use common sense. 

Here's to hopefully a more positive 2021 all round but the one thing 2020 has taught me is how adaptable we can be and that joy can be found in nearly all situations.

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Last Minute Small Business Christmas Gift Guide



 Christmas shopping this year hasn't been the same as before, we are heavily relying on online shopping but also want to support local independent makers and find a thoughtful, sustainable gift.  Many of us have not been as organised as normal so ff your still looking for something special here is a list of places still shipping this week for every member of the family then check out my last minute Christmas gift guide for the whole family. 

For Travel Lovers & Adventure Seekers

Mini Soap Bar Travel Tin from Six Feet and Clean £12 - if your looking to reduce plastic and support a small UK business this is a great choice, Their shampoo bars are fantastic and this Travel Tin comes with 4 travel sized handmade soap bars using 100% natural ingredients. 

An illustrated guide to wild swimming by Flora Jamieson £8 - a gorgeous little 24 page illustrated introduction to swimming outdoors in rivers, lakes, pools, waterfalls and sea but UK creative Flora. This is a great little gift for anyone who loves getting outdoors or wants to take up wild swimming and is in need of some inspiration and advice. 

5Tribe Re-Wild the world water bottle £12 - helping to keep big and small explorers hydrated and of course is reusable and sustainable and is made by a small UK family outdoor-inspired business. The bottle has a 600ml capacity and perfect for days out. 

Lodestars Anthology Wales £14 - Lodestars puts together fantastic coffee table magazines that focus on one destination - their current one is all about Wales - an ode to Wales and it's beautiful wildnerss and lore. 2020 has been the year of staycations and this anthology will only fuel your fire to visit the small but action-packed country even more. 

Women and Waves drop t-shirt £22.99 - Women and Waves are fantastic UK based collective that inspired women to try surfing, wild swimming and grow a connection to our coastline and the benefits of water. They run courses throughout the year and have some really cool merch including this surf tee. 

Grey Unisex Pullover from EatSalt Surf Wear £35 - EatSalt is a small Surf company from South Wales, UK, who share their love for the surfing lifestyle and have created some beautiful clothes and accessories including this gorgeous pullover jumper which is my favourite thing to wear this Autumn as it's so nice and cosy.

Gifts that give back - Feminism, LGBTQ & Black Minds Matter

Feminist Enamel Mug - F by Olivia £15 - this beautiful enamel mug has been designed by Olivia, teenage artists and brought to life by The Feminist shop which makes a donation from all sales to The Young Women's Trust, a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women. 

Maykher Scent Two Candle £22 - Maykher is a Cardiff based lifestyle brand that invests at least 10% of their yearly profits into the education of young girls and women in areas of the world that need it most. They also make these beautiful candles (I have one myself and can personally vouch for how nice they are) and they make great gifts.

The Queer Coffee Co - Espresso Yourself £7.50 - I am loving this UK roasted Coffee, 100% arabica speciality blend and whats even better is with every purchase 20% of the profits are donated back to LGBTQ+ community charities to help make a brighter future for all. Perfect present for any coffee lover. 

Kelzo Kitten Studs Pride Collection £8 - Kelzo are a small Cardiff based handmade jewellery business who donate 20% of their profits from their Pride collection to LGBTQ+ charities, as well as supporting a small business. How cute are these Kitten Studs?

Black Minds Matter Charity Candle - The Second Life Candle Co £10 - this natural soy wax candle is hand-poured in small batches, in recycled glass and are plastic-free, vegan and cruelty-free as well as donating 100% of the profits to Black Minds Matter charity - the perfect gift back gift.

For Kids

The portable potion kit by The Den Kit Company £19.50 - My kids love their Den from the Den Kit Company and now they are making mini activity kits including this portable potion kit which encourage kids to get out into nature to collect leaves, soil and petals to make some marvellous mixtures. They also do a plant a tree kits and fire starter kit. 

Make your own dream catcher craft kit from Cotton Twist £13.95 - I love Cotton Twist, they have some fantastic plastic-free craft kits including this lovely dream catcher one which is perfect for any age. The kit includes watercolour pencils which is perfect for painting the base and feathers. Cotton Twists products are lovingly made by hand and are plastic-free. 

Kids Dinosaur Terrarium by The Urban Botanist £39.95 - this Terrarium kit is a great way to get kids into indoor gardening and sparking an interest in the natural world. The kit houses three succulent plants, which children can plant by themselves along with some vibrant yellow and blue gravel plus some dinosaurs to add to the mix

For Foodies

The Naked Marshmallow Co Toasting Kit - Prezzybox £22.95 - This is a super cute gift and great for those who also enjoy the outdoors indoor as you can create the perfect campfire experience without having to start a fire. The kit includes two flavours (Salted Caramel and Strawberry) gourmet marshmallows which are handmade in the UK as well 8 bamboo skewers and a non-toxic gel burner. 

Welsh Foodie treats and drinks from Discover Delicious - Discover Delicious is an online market place for all of the best artisan and small local Welsh producers to share the best in what Wales has to offer in terms of food and drink. I've tried the Crawshays Gin as well as Welsh Lady Conserves and Cheese platter and all were delicious and a real treat. 

Welsh Craft Beer Box from Handcrafted Tipples £24 - if you like Beer, especially Welsh Craft beer then this is a great hamper containing the best local brews from Tiny Rebel and Glamorgan Brewery - a great way to support local and the perfect gift too. 

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Degusta Box Advent Calendar 2020 Review


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*This box was provided to me as a PR sample to provide an honest review. I have no been paid to review this item or been told what to say - words are 100% my own. 

Can you believe we are in December already, the year has felt like it's gone on forever and then all of a sudden the past few weeks have flown by! The one exciting thing about this time of the year is, of course, Christmas and who doesn't love a foodie treat?

For those who don't know who Degusta Box are - they are a monthly subscription box which sends around 10 to 15 products, many new to the market or higher-end treat items with the bonus of always being cheaper than you would find in stores. Well good news, this year they also put together an Advent Calender and it's by far the largest Advent I have ever seen.

Now I don't want to give it all away so I am just doing a "Sneak Peek" review of the Calender by opening a few boxes that will give you an idea of what to look forward too and both of my boys were very excited at the prospect of some chocolates to try out (of course there are savoury goodies too). 

Advent Calendar 2020

We decided to open a total of 6 doors, as this would give a rounded idea of what to expect in this type of Advent without giving all the excitement away.

We first went for Door 1 which had a full sized box of Choco Leibniz Chocolate Orange biscuits, which the kids love and of course were very excited about and are worth about £1.79.

Door 3 was another sweet delight in the form of a full-sized Mackies of Scotland Chocolate Orange bar worth £1.79

Door 4 contained Gloriously Grown Vietnamese Jumbo Skin-On Cashews, which as both my eldest and I love nuts we were really happy about this. The retail for £3

Door 9 contained a large Brynmor Dark Chocolate and Ginger Flapjack, I have had Brynmor Flapjacks before and love them, especially as they are gluten-free and made in Wales, so this was a nice treat and is worth £1.50

foodie advent

Door 16 contained Maldon Sea Salt which is a perfect addition to my kitchen as I do a lot of cooking and these sea salt flakes will definitely be used and these retail for £1.30

Door 23 was a delicious nutty chocolate treat - Whitworths Chocolate and Caramel peanuts which I have had to hide away from my eldest who would eat them all in one go if he had the chance. This bag retails for £2.

From just opening these few doors we could tell that all the goodies were really great quality, things we love and would use, with nothing going to waste. The Advent itself is also cardboard and easily recycled which is always a bonus. We don't usually do things like this so it was lovely to see the kids so excited about the surprising and you can see their reactions on my YouTube video below. 

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How To Know If A Country Is 'Just Right' For You


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Most people like to have a rough plan of their lives and what they want to achieve in the future, or at least consider how we would like to live them, it’s very easy to think along conventional lines. Note that there’s nothing wrong with doing this. It might be that you wish to follow in the career footsteps of your parents and that living in your home town for the rest of your life is something you truly find appealing.

However, many other people wish to consider just what else is out there, and how they can grasp it with both hands. They might think of moving to the big city and trying to chase their own career. However, there are even more options than this. With hard work and a little planning, you could live in many countries around the world, live many lifestyles, prioritize many pursuits. With a lot of research (and hardly any budget) and securing a job before I travelled, I've been able to live in South Africa, France, Netherlands and the UK. That’s not to say obstacles don’t and won’t exist for you, only that the options going forward are so numerous it’s hard to understand your best pursuit unless you take stock and consider. 

I love the culture in Amsterdam

Let’s answer that first question we brought up - how do you know if living in another country is right for you? Let’s consider:

Loving The Culture

To live anywhere well, you have to have an appreciation for the culture. Of course, culture shock is a real thing, and it doesn’t mean you’re bigoted if you feel that for a while. However, if you’re to one day apply for an indefinite leave to remain status, exploring and enjoying the culture is important. Eat the food. Speak to the people. See more than just the tourist traps. Learn the culture, and learn the language. The more you put in, the more you get out, and the more you begin to appreciate it. People will often notice that you’ve put the effort in, too, which can be something quite amazing to consider.

Understanding Its History

It’s very easy to see history as a divorced, heady concept, but it’s not, it thoroughly permeates everything we do, think, and see around us. History allows us to understand our surroundings. For instance, if you hope to live in a town in the North of England, it can seem much more magical to learn of the Viking origins of that settlement and what that meant for the culture at large. It helps the environment around you to seem more worthwhile, more interesting, and more present than it may have.

Experiencing The Flow Of Life

Every culture has its own flow of life. Life in Barcelona, for instance, is much different to life in New York. People move more slowly, they’re more interested in relationships and being kind, they don’t mind relaxing or taking a break while still valuing hard work. In New York, cultures are mixed and for the most part work together well, they have real pride in their city, and the fast-paced and highly productive nature of its environment helps foster the most impressive marvels and architecture the world has ever known. Experience these lifestyles for yourself, wherever you hope to move. They will illustrate and punctuate that which you may one day expect.

With this advice, we hope you can come to an understanding of whether a country is ‘just right' for you.

I also lived in Nice, France and loved the laid back Riviera vibe

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Why Small Weddings are the new trend for 2021


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wedding flowers

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We all know that Covid has caused chaos for a variety of reasons this year, with many of us feeling like our lives are on hold. Many events and celebrations have been cancelled and everything from shopping to visiting friends has changed. For many of us, we have reduced or travel, stayed local, shopped local and avoided large gatherings, the environment has also benefitted from society slowing down and that really has been a good thing. I have never been one that feels like bigger is better so it's good to hear that the trend of less is more and going small is the new thing, including weddings. If you needed convincing on why a small wedding is a great choice then here are a few non-covid reasons to help persuade you (as well as save you money). 

The Benefits of a Small Wedding

The more you consider what a small wedding will be like, the more you'll come to the realization that this should have been your first choice in the first place. Here are all the benefits of a micro wedding and why you should choose to have a smaller wedding. 

It's Cost Efficient

Unless you plan to have your wedding at the rooftop of an expensive hotel, overlooking the sea, and serving unlimited champagne, a small wedding is definitely an affordable option. The biggest problem most soon-to-be newlyweds experience is just how to fit a budget around a big wedding. The bigger the wedding, the more guests, decorations, meals, and staff are needed. This all adds up to an unpleasant overall bill. A smaller wedding simply means a smaller price to pay, literally. 

It's More Environmentally Friendly

The events industry is known to be a huge contributor to garbage and pollution problems all around the world. Big weddings play a big role in this unfortunate fact. If you're wondering if you should have a small wedding or not, this is a good reason to consider a minimal wedding. You'll be eliminating what would be a truckload of single-use plastic garbage, fewer cars used related to your event, and overall a smaller contribution to climate change and pollution. 

More Options for a Venue

Another problem most couples struggle with for their big wedding is finding a good venue to accommodate a big party. In many cases, only a limited number of venues in a city can be used for a large wedding. This results in everyone in town using that same hall for their wedding. With a small party, you have more options for your venue. You can even use non-traditional choices like a library or a beautiful garden. 

A Lot Easier to Plan

Planning how to entertain, feed, and keep a room of 200 people happy is a huge dilemma for most couples and wedding planners. You want this entire event to be a pleasant experience. But it's not easy doing this for a large number of people, for an entire day. A small wedding simply means less stress during the wedding planning process. You have a better chance of enjoying planning your wedding (as it should be). 

The Chance to Spend Time With Your Guests

Ask any couple who have had a big wedding if they were able to spend time with all of their guests, and you’ll most likely get a ‘no’ for an answer. You simply can’t spend quality time with 200 people all in one go. But if you cut it down to 50 people, you will have enough hours to go to each table, make memories, share stories, and actually have a great time chatting with everyone you’ve invited. This is a big benefit and reason why you should have a small wedding. It’s a great time to truly enjoy the company of all the people you love in your life. 

wedding cake

You Can Have More of the Things You Love

You don't have to be so tight with your budget with a small wedding. And this means that you have the luxury to splurge a little. You can have the salmon for dinner. Or have that beautiful cake you've always wanted. Or hire that expensive photographer who can get your dream photos. You can even buy the dream Bridal Set diamond rings you've always wanted. The options are better with a smaller wedding. 

You Can Spend More on Your Honeymoon

The first trip as husband and wife is the ideal time to really enjoy the incredible milestone you've just achieved in your relationship. This is the beginning of the rest of your life, and celebrations are in order. If you're wondering 'should I have a small wedding?' , just think of how great it will be to have the dream honeymoon you've always wanted, that you can now afford because your wedding didn't cost a fortune. Go for that small wedding and get that once in a lifetime honeymoon. 

Final Thoughts

It seems that the smaller your wedding is, the more opportunities you have to really make it your own and enjoy every moment of your big day. You don't have to worry about cutting costs, big venues, and the stress of planning. You can truly make the most of every second of your big day. This should answer the big question of 'Should I have a small wedding?'.


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Weekend in Dublin? 7 things you should do in the city



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While we cannot do much travelling at the moment due to Covid, it's still a good time to start putting pen to paper on plans and thinking ahead to weekends away and day trips because eventually at some point normality will return. One of my favourite places I have visited is Dublin, it's such a fun and vibrant city and offers to much whether you are there for the day, weekend or even longer. Here are my 8 favourite things to do in Dublin when you only have a weekend to explore the Irish capital city.

1.Visit Temple Bar not just for the beer but for the Art

Temple Bar is without a doubt one of the most lively areas of Dublin and there is a fantastic atmosphere with plenty of pubs and cafes as well as boutique stores and is often referred to as Dublin's "culture quarter" famed for the nightlife. But there is also the Temple Bar Studio's and Gallery that is well worth a look as it's one of the leading contemporary art galleries in the city there is always something going on, from exhibitions to events, as well as engaging workshops and learning opportunities, if you looking for a hit of inspiration and culture than it's work taking a look.  

Ha'Penny Bridge

2. Walk over the Ha'penny Bridge

This may be a popular tourist sight but there is a reason for it and I always think you might as well, it's free, it's pretty and it has some history to it. For those who don't know the Ha'penny Bridge was the first pedestrian bridge to span over the River Liffey and the name came from the halfpenny toll pedestrians had to pay to cross the bridge after it was built int 1816. This striking white bridge also makes for a great Instagram spot.

3. See the Book of Kells at Trinty College

Visiting Trinty College not only to see the magical and Instagram worthy Library but also to see The Book of Kells should be at the top of your list of historical and cultural spots in the City and is well worth the admission. The Book of Kells was created around 800AD and today it is housed in Trinity's 18th-century Old Library building which is also home to the Long Room, a 65-meter long chamber and one of the most beautiful and well know libraries in the world. 

Trinity College

4. Eat in Style

When it comes to food you are really spoilt for choice in Dublin with some amazing places to sit and enjoy locally produced meals while taking in the Irish atmosphere. Here are 3 places that are excellent and you won't regret booking here for a special night out, 1. The Woollen Mills, located next to the Ha'Penny Bridge, this all-day hangout spot is super chic and hip. 2. Drury Buildings, based in a former rag trade building in the city centre this screams that cool industrial-chic atmosphere and a great spot for some cocktails. 3. Brasserie Sixty6 near Grafton street, it's low lighting and wooden floors give this place a real cosy feel along with amazing food is the perfect place for a chilled evening meal with friends. All three of these places also offer private dining and can be booked through Squaremeal.

5. Drink Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse 

Yes the Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular tourist attractions but for good reason and it's also a spot of fun and personal I found my visit very interesting and insightful. Guinness is one of the most famous Irish drinks and one of the most successful alcohol brands in the world. The tour takes you on tour through seven floors where you learn the history of the Guinness family and what goes into brewing this Irish dark stout with it ending at the stunning Gravity Bar on the 7th floor with amazing views across the city where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness for yourself. 

Guinness Store

6. Enjoy the free street entertainment on Grafton Street

Buskers around the world know of Grafton street, with many famous faces having taken "stage" here from Damien Rice to Rodrigo y Gabriela, you never know who you will stumble across and they could be the next big thing. From traditional Irish to rock and pop, there is always some kind of free street entertainment going on.

7. Spot the doors of Dublin

I didn't even know that Door spotting was a thing you do in Dublin before I arrived but quickly found out why, the city is dotted with colourful Georgian style doors across the city with the best places to views on the south side of the city, especially Merrion Square which is considered one of the finest surviving squares and a great place to spot these colourful doors which have become somewhat of a trademark for Dublin.

Dublin really is a great city to explore and visit for a weekend or longer and once some sense of normality has returned it on my list of places to revisit soon. 

Dublin doors

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Thinking of travelling to the US in 2021? Here are 5 States you should visit


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San Fransisco

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While right now for numerous reasons travelling to the US may not be the best idea but hopefully in the not so distant future things will feel brighter, safer and more positive as the States really has some fantastic places to visit and experience.  

There is no doubt that the US is a destination perfect for travel junkies being so vast and offering everything from deserts to forests, stunning coastlines, mountains and everything in between. No matter what you might be hoping to get out of your travels, you are bound to find it in some way or another somewhere in the US. Of course, there is so much variation throughout the United States that it is hard to know where to go or how to make the most of it. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best and top states you might want to visit, to ensure you make the most of your travels.



Probably best known for its fantastic outdoor scenery, Colorado is one of the best parts of the USA to go to if you love to explore the great outdoors. In particular, it is home to the Rockies, which are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and a great spot to go hiking if that is up your street. Plus, if you go to Denver you will find the famous 300 days of sunshine won’t go amiss, especially if you are travelling over from the UK. And if you are into your American sports, you might even get to see the Denver Broncos play while you are there.

Colorado is known to be a progressive state, and you will find the people incredibly accepting of you as a tourist, making the whole experience a lot easier and less stressful on the whole. If you love to ski, there are countless places you can do that, and there’s even some of the country’s top nightlife in the cities of Denver and Boulder.



This state is one of the top three most-visited states in the country, so no list worth its salt could possibly exclude it. If you have never been to California before, the main thing to be prepared for is that there are so many different ways to experience the state, and different types of experience you can have.

Whether you want to do the family Disney thing, or you are just looking for a relaxed surfing holiday, or maybe if you want to go golfing, you will find it all at different parts of this varied and sunny state. Some of its cities are among the most beautiful and fascinating places in the country or even the world, including world-famous San Diego, known for its idyllic weather and perfect sandy beaches, not to mention being the home of Anchorman. It’s also the home of Comic-Con, so this might be a good option for all you nerds out there

New York

New York

Not to mention New York in this list would be true sacrilege, being as it is the cultural capital of the USA. If you have ever dreamed of going to the States, at least part of that dream has probably involved this amazing and vibrant city at some point or another. It is truly an amazing and wonderful place to visit, and it offers a little something for everyone. From having some of the best theatres in the world to some of the best art galleries and museums, and just generally a culture that you are going to fall in love with, again and again, it really must remain at the top of your list every time.

One thing about New York is its shopping, and if you are looking to buy pretty much anything you are going to find it here - though, it is fair to say, at a price. Nonetheless, it’s the kind of city that is going to give you memories you can hang on to forever, and that is one of the best things you can possibly get out of any kind of travel.


It is fair to say that the state of Connecticut gets a bad rap, but actually, it has plenty to offer if you scratch just slightly below the surface. If you are looking for a truly unique and fascinating time in the States, you might want to check out the little-known town of Mystic, which - as its name suggests - provides the weary traveller with many strange and unexpected delights. That’s all we’ll say on the subject. Needless to say, it’s worth a visit.



This State really has a little bit of everything along with four distinct seasons meaning sunny beach days in summer and hitting the ski slopes in winter. It's also a great destination for Wine lovers as there are around 300 wineries in the state you are really spoilt for choice. For those who are big into hiking The Appalachian Trail also runs through Virginia and offers up some fantastic walks across this state, while those who rather enjoy a spot of retail therapy the city of Richmond has a vibrant cafe culture, galleries and craft breweries along with some great shopping. 

So there you have it. Any of these states are going to be worth a visit, so pick out your favourites from among them, and set sail. You’ll be bound to have the time of your life in any of these fine destinations.
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Six Tips To Get The Most Out Of your future Travel plans



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While life feels like it's on hold right now in the UK, there is no harm in looking positively towards the future including laying down some plans to tick off those bucket list destinations. After 2020 I think we all feel like we are in need of a time to press pause on daily life as well as to reevaluate our lives after the rollercoaster we have been on this year.  If you are looking to get away next year here are six tips to get the most out of your next vacation.

Prep Your Budget

Firstly, it’s important to focus on making sure the budget is sorted. When it comes to prepping your budget, you want to look at what you have in savings currently and how much you might need for your trip away. At the moment, you might have some savings, and you plan to pay a deposit perhaps ahead of time. However, there are going to be some holidays where you need to pay the upfront bill as soon as you decide to book, although in these unsure times you want to read the terms on conditions and make sure that you can change dates or get a refund should Covid cause future travel restrictions. It’s worth knowing how much you’re going to need, not only for the travel itself but also for the rest of the holiday activities. Money for food will be needed as well as any excursions or trips you make take whilst you’re out there. You might also want to buy things when you’re out there to bring back home, and so it’s worth taking some extra cash for that too.

Think about what you want to spend and then make some decisions from there. You might want to book a holiday and pay a deposit in advance, or you might have the money to pay it all off now so that you can save towards any spending money whilst you’re out there. Depending on the type of trip will depend on your budget, so make sure you plan ahead so as to not get into any debt when booking it!

Plan your luggage storage in advance

Plan your luggage accordingly - No one wishes to roam here and there with the luggage bags on their shoulder (believe me I've done it enough times to know luggage storage is money well spent). And why let that happen when you have the leverage of storing it at a safe spot? Well, it may interest you to know that NYC offers you plenty of options to store your luggage while roaming the entire city carefreely. For this, you need to be familiar with luggage storage NYC services and see how it adds to your overall travel experience. So, what are you waiting for? Explore such services and get started!

We have stayed in all different kinds of Airbnb and glamping 

Look At Alternatives To Hotel Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, many of us will usually opt for hotels, especially for short breaks but self-catering accommodation can be just as good (if not better). With it being easier than ever to find unique places to stay with the increase in online booking sites that have helped turn everyday individuals’ homes to holiday lets, looking for an alternative could serve up a real treat. Also, an added bonus is that a lot of these sites like Airbnb, for example, are making it more affordable to stay elsewhere. Instead of paying for the cost of a hotel, you can probably find better deals with rented accommodation. Yes, you may not have the same level of service and facilities but what you will get is more flexibility and possibly a more unique place to stay. If you’re limited on a budget, then a holiday rental is definitely worth considering.

Splurge Where Possible

While keeping to a budget is really important it's also a good idea to have a little extra to splurge on the odd treat every now and then while travelling. So whether it’s getting an extra drink at the bar to an adventure experience, there are lots of great ways to splurge on yourself. If you’ve got a bit more of a budget than most, you may want to look at how does the empty legs works? This is an opportunity to really go all out if you want to make a certain vacation a special one by having your own private jet. Of course, it’s not something everyone can afford to do, but it is certainly one that can make for a truly unique experience if you can afford it.

Additionally, if you are an aviation fan and have done some flying before in the past, why not look into a leisure flight at a nearby private airport and explore somewhere new in your locality? Just don one of these pilot headsets, settle behind the yoke, and take to the skies either alone or with your family!

sundowner cocktail

Get Friendly With The Locals

The locals in the area are bound to be helpful to you if you’re treating them with respect and appreciation. This means it’s good for you to learn the local language, at least in its most basic sense. It can be hard to learn a language, but simple introductory sentences and phrases can be helpful in getting more friendly with the locals in the area. They may also be able to make your trip extra special by making recommendations and suggestions of places to eat, drink, and explore. These places might not typically be ones that are raved about on online tourist boards or even known to those travelling from overseas. Another way to really explore a local area and get to know people, is to hire a car, it will give you a lot more freedom, especially in more rural places or areas with limited public transport. For example, I hope to visit Santorini in Greece and the best way for my to get around and make the most of my time, especially if my kids come with me, is to hire a car in Santorini

Say Yes To More Experiences

Life is too short to miss out on things in life that could add more value to it. When it comes to life experiences, try to say yes to more when you’re on vacation. There could be things that you do or try that might not be available in your own country. It’s worth taking advantage of the opportunities you have because who knows if you’re ever going to be able to travel to the same place twice. This is especially so when you’re going somewhere that’s particularly expensive or perhaps is one that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit.

Standup paddle boarding

Put Your Phone Down

Technology is a wonderful thing, and it’s provided us with so much more than we could have ever thought possible. However, although it has it’s positives, it can sometimes take away the experiences that are right in front of us. When you’re on vacation, it’s important to try and make the most of every moment possible. And for many of us, we tend to hold up a phone when these moments come along. It’s better to put down your phone and experience these life events without having to look at it through a lens or screen. With that being said, keep your phone off when you’re out exploring and save it for when you’re lounging by the pool or on the beach.

Getting the most out of your next holiday is important because life is limited and who knows how much we all have left on this earth. Take advantage of these tips and make the most of what you’ve got the opportunity to see and do. Before long, you’ll be too old to go, and it would be a shame to miss out!

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Gus and Bella Box Review


child and cat

*Thanks to Gus and Bella who offered a one-off box in exchange for an honest review

I thought it was about time I'd introduce the newest member of my family properly, Yo-yo the cat (not my name choice by there we go), who joined us in Febuary, unintentionally just before lockdown. The last time I was a cat owner was in South Africa many years ago, when I temporarily fostered a cat for a few months and prior to that was when I was a child and we had a beloved cat for 17yrs, he was a true member of the family in every sense of the word so I was excited to see how Yo-you would fit in.

Well needless to say the boys adore her and take great care into looking after her wellbeing. We want to make sure we are providing her with the right nutrition and space to play and grow. Luckily we have a nice outdoor space which backs onto a river with lots of trees behind so she has been having lots of fun exploring. Finding food she likes has been a bit hit and miss, there are so many brands out there so giving different ones a go seems to work best while we find what she really loves.

Gus and Bella box

Which is why the Gus and Bella box is great for cat owners - it's a subscription box that offers treats for both the cat and owner, making it a shared experience with around 8+ surprises inside including cat toys, natural high end cat treats, health products and gifts for cat owners as well as supporting cat charities. Every month offers new treats and toys to try out and I had the chance to review the Halloween inspired October box. 

First Impressions

Firsty it's great that they offer free postage as the box was quite heavy when it arrived as it's packed filled with goodies. It's also good to see the box is cardboard and recyclable and in general the whole box was low on plastic. 

As soon as I opened the box I saw the cute slippers with a cat design by Wild feet - great timing as we move into the colder months and they fit perfectly too, these slippers retail at around £12 so good value so far, along with a large Halloween Milk Chocolate from Hames Chocolate and a cat inspired postcard from Innabox (worth £1) - these of course are the cat owner.

Moving on to Yo-yo's treats and the first one we opened was the Treat Dispenser toy by Catit - I had been thinking about getting one of these as she loves chasing a ball and with this is releases small dried treats as the cat plays with it. These Catit balls retail around £4.99

Gus and Bella box

The second toy, a handmade kicker toy by Etsy seller "Stanton's chums" was an immediate hit with Yo-you, she just loves it and it's great to see a subscription box like this supporting small independent sellers with this catnip seller made right here in the UK custom for Gus & Bella. Looking at their fantastic Etsy page these kicker toys are worth around £5

Moving onto the foodie cat treats, there is a really good selection and opportunity to try new high end natural brands that you may not come across. First was a bag of health treats by True Leaf Pets for anti-hairball support for cats and are grain free and include hemp, fig and pea fiber along with chicken and I was unsure if she was going to like them but she did! These Treats retail at £3.29

cat food

Next up is a Edgard Cooper and a grain-free cat food sachet and two dry food sample bags each 50g - Edgard Cooper focus on grain-free natural food packed with fresh meat along with their dry food packaging being bio-degradable. The sachet along costs around £1 in store with the sample bags I would say this is worth around £2.50 and is a great way to try a brand before you commit.

Lastly was the Webbox Cod flavoured tasty sicks and Yo-you LOVES Webbox sticks so I knew these would be a hit. Webbox is a premium cat brand with these sticks containing 75% meat and fish and are kitten friendly too. These retail at £1 in most supermarkets.

Is it worth it?

When it comes to subscription boxes I always feel they have to be worth it in terms of value and experience, while the box content's are the same value as the cost (which is always a big postive) the postage is free as well as including discounts to some of the food brands included and it offers up a lovely shared experience with you and your pet along with giving the opportunity to try new products and treats as well as the lovely surprise element. We loved the Gus and Bella box - I say we as in both Yo-yo and I - it contained lovely treats for both of us and nothing has gone to waste either - she has ate every treat in the box - another big positive. I would recommend giving this box a go if your looking for something a little different for you and your cat. 

There are three options when it comes to the subscription - you can opt for a one off box, a bi-monthly box or the most cost efficient is going for a regular monthly box which is £29.90 and includes free shipping. 

Gus and Bella Box

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