The Three Castles, Monmouthshire


The White Castle

Both my children love visiting historical sites especially castles and ancient ruins and luckily Wales is jam-packed with them. Even though Wales is still under stay local guidelines, which means we are limited to staying within 5 miles of our home unless, for essential reasons such as work, this will slowly start to change so I thought it would be a good time to share our experience of visiting the Three Castles.

 The Three Castles comprise of Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle, all located in Monmouthshire, Wales and only a few miles from each other, all looked after by Cadw and are free to enter. You can spend the day walking between the three but with small children, I decided driving would be the easiest way to see all three castles although hope to do the walk at some point in the future. 

If you have explored Monmouthshire before you will know it's a beautiful part of the UK it is, with some gorgeous countryside, fantastic pubs and quaint villages and by visiting all three castles it's a great free day out and a fun way to explore the local area. 

The White castle

The White Castle

We arrived at The White Castle first, which has a small free parking area and with its far-flung views of the Welsh countryside along with its impressive moat and gatehouse, it makes the perfect starting point. There is also plenty of green space for kids to run around and get into the swing of things, mine are usually dressed up in knights costumes re-acting pretend battles.

After spending around an hour at The White Castle we heeded to Grosmont Castle, around a 15min drive away which is located in the stunning village of Grosmont. There isn't directly parking next to the castle but we managed to find a space in the village a couple of minutes walk away, there are also public toilets in the village. While Grosmont is more in a state of ruins that the White Castle there is still a tower you can ascend which gives you fantastic views and also a very ornate 14-century chimney in the north block. No one else was at this castle while we were there meaning we could run around and enjoy the space as much as possible. 

Grosmont castle

Grosmont Castle

The final castle was Skenfrith Castle in the village of Skenfrith, again only a few miles away from Grosmont and built right alongside the River Monnow in another beautiful Monmouthshire village, plus there is plenty of parking right next to the castle. This castle mainly consists of ruins and foundations but the three-story circular keep is still standing and very impressive. What I really found fascinating about this castle is you could really imagine what life was like there in the 13th century, while the Lord at the time would be nice and dry in his tower keep it must have been very wet and damp for those on the ground floors being right next to the river. 

Skenfrith Castle

As with all the castles being free and open to the public (due to Covid-19 please do check before leaving as Cadw has yet to open their doors again) means that there are no staffed facilities or toilets so do try and plan beforehand as well as packing a picnic as there are plenty of places to sit down with some food and take in the scenery. 

There are also plenty of amazing walks nearby and on our drive back we passed Sugarloaf mountain, on of our favourite family mountain hikes as well as the Skirrid - both make for a great day out once Wales reopens to the rest of the UK which should be around the 19th July. 

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Road trip planned? Here are 5 stylish & practical cars for all adventures


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off road driving

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As we all start to slowly adjust to this new normal and looking further afield and possibly a little bit of travelling this year, many of us are considering local road trips and exploring more of what the UK has to offer. Of course, this requires a decent pair of wheels and I would know, I've broken down in the Scottish highlands as well as en route to Cornwall and it's just no fun and certainly throws a spanner in the works with regards to planned trips and holidays. If you already have a decent car then do check out my post of essential checks you should take before heading off on a trip. Otherwise, if you're looking for something new or a car to hire check our these versatile cars.

Mitsubishi Pajero

The Mitsubishi Pajero is not only practical but also has a stylish appearance and plenty of space to pack everything you need for longer trips away including camping gear. Known for its outstanding all-terrain performance, it still has a passenger car-like drivability making it suitable for anyone who has a sense of adventure.

Fiat 500L Trekking

A much larger version than the Fiat 500, the Fiat 500L is very spacious with more than enough space for a weekend away and I know, I reviewed one of these cars a few years ago and drove all over South Wales and to Tenby in West Wales. It has plenty of added features including traction control, mud and snow wheels, built-in Sat Nav and rearview camera and is also very fuel-efficient.

family travel

Toyota Camry

A very solid mid-sized car that is said to be extremely reliable and due to it's popularity is constantly being updated. Modern Camry models have received major changes after the seventh restyling (2011-2014). The car itself has become larger, the front housing has changed and the radiator grill. It is in demand in the secondary market as well. You can find high-quality car parts on this website

Volkswagen Golf

There is a reason why the VW Golf remains so popular since it came onto the since in the 70's and it's mainly down to reliability and practicality. There are several body styles - wagon, hatchback and convertible meaning you can usually find something that works for your family dynamic and it's a car the is popular across all ages from new drivers to those in their golden years.

Toyota Rav4

Each year brings more features to the Rav4 which now fuses the practicalities of an SUV but with style and technology making the is the perfect "go anywhere" vehicle and a great choice for families wanting to hit the road and travel further distances. It's low emissions and fuel economy are also excellent.

Of course with any car purchase make sure to do your research, get a second professional opinion and shop around and if you are not sure why not test drive or hire a car similar to the one you are interested in.

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How to talk to your kids about Racism



Firstly I'd like to say I'm am no expert, being white I will never understand first-hand what a person of colour has to go through each day and the added obstacles they have to overcome. I was debating not writing this post but I do know that the onus has to be on us to educate ourselves and not for the BAME community to provide it for us. We are the ones that need to teach our children and to work towards a future free of prejudice and discrimination for all. 

Having grown up in South Africa meant that discussions around race and culture were something that was heavily highlighted in my childhood, it's an unavoidable topic there as you are confronted with inequality on a daily basis as well as a sense of hope in a country that is working hard to unify its people and correct its wrongdoings of the past and having witness change first hand I know how empowering that can be for a community and country. 

Saying that this needs to be a lifetime journey of learning for us all and being educated about black history and what that means to society today because if we don't know the past we can't move forward into a better future. While there has been a lot of fantastic encouragement and support on social media, we do need to go beyond just sharing posts and dig deeper.

As I said I'm not an expert and I will make mistakes, we all will but we need to be open to being corrected and not taking offence as it's going to be apart of this process. My children and I are on this journey together and I wanted to attempt to put some kind of list of resources for parenting together to help explain, educate and encourage diversity in our children's lives. If you have any additional books, websites etc that you think should be added to this post please leave them in the comments.

Firstly some tips on how to approach the subject in a way children will understand and want to engage with - again this is not an exhaustive list and is a combination of my own experiences and in-depth research

1. Start these discussions early on, in fact, the earlier the better although do keep in mind their development level and keep things relatable. 

2. Don't be silent, while we may not have all the answers, silence can give the impression it's not a topic to talk about and this can cause issues further down the road. 

3. Conversations should be on-going, this is not a one-time thing and as children age, the discussions can become more complex. We also need to encourage questions and when we don't know the answer we should take the time to find out and learn together. 

4. Positive Role modelling - children respond the most towards what they see and how we as parents react to a situation. We must show fairness, acceptance and inclusivity in our lives and that we treat all people with respect - be that a person of colour, elderly, disabled etc 

5. Get children involved in your own activism, explain to them why it's important to sign petitions, support others and make donations to causes in need. Help them see beyond their own world and own needs and how we can also do more than just talk. 

6. Keep education yourself as well as your children. We can learn together but it's also important for us as parents to read up and be knowledgeable about this topic so we can provide our children with factual and practical information so we can teach our children in the best way possible. 

7. Diversity your children's books, toys and games - while this isn't something many of us can afford to do overnight it should be something we are thinking about next time we make a purchase and if you can support local small businesses that's even better. 


Free Resources

Sesame Street - How to explain racism to kids episode - a special CNN episode with lots of Q&A with professionals that helps explain what is going on in a family-friendly way. 

CBBC Newsround special on Racism - a great Newsround special all about what has been happening since the death of George Floyd, from protests and people coming together. This is aimed for slightly older children 6yrs up. 

Raising little Allies to be - a free printable resource to help parents start off the conversation with young children by K Is For Kindness.

Embrace Race - Raising a brave generation - this is a great website for both parents and children on raising thoughtful allies and confident and resilient children. The website it packed with articles, action 
guides and webinars. 

Twinkl - Some of the printouts and resources on Twinkl are free others you have to pay to access but it has an abundance of printouts and worksheets for children on topics such as Black history month, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela etc - Anti-Racism for kids, an age by age guide to help parents discuss this topic through the years. 

Bounce Back Parenting - a great blog post with a fantastic children's book list and activity ideas.

Todays Parent - 30 Books to help you talk to your kids about racism. 

We Are Teachers - a list of 21 anti-racism videos to share with kids. 

Woman'sDay - 15 kid-friendly movies to help build a conversation about race and racism

A list of 10 Anti-Racism charities you can donate to in the UK - this could be good for slightly older children who want to be more active, donate pocket money or do some fundraising. 

Here is also a list of Petitions you can sign - this could open up a discussion for older children about the power of the people and why petitions can be really useful and bring on change. 

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The umbilical cord: the lifeline for your baby now and in the future



In association with Cells4Life

The umbilical cord: the lifeline for your baby now and in the future
Did you know that your baby’s umbilical cord, that once acted as their lifeline, could save 
their life in the future?

That’s the power of cord blood banking

Throughout pregnancy, the umbilical cord forms the essential connection between mother
and baby. From as early as the seventh week of pregnancy, right up until your little one is
welcomed into the world, the umbilical cord provides your baby with the oxygen and
nutrients it needs to grow whilst also simultaneously removing any harmful waste products.

It essentially serves as a filter for the good things to go in, and the bad things to go out.
Once the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, parents have two choices: to throw it away
or save it. For those who decide to save the umbilical cord, it could continue to protect their
baby’s health for years to come.

Your baby’s umbilical cord is a rich source of powerful stem cells and is actually the best
source of stem cells they will ever have in their lifetime. These stem cells have the ability to
treat over 80 different blood and immune disorders and have been used in over 35,000
transplants worldwide.

Cord blood stem cells are already routinely used by doctors to treat disorders such as
lymphoma and sickle cell disease. And each day, scientists are continuing to discover new
ways to use this valuable resource to treat other conditions that could affect us throughout
our entire lifetime.

Thousands of clinical trials are currently taking place in the field of regenerative medicine to
utilise stem cells to treat diseases such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and
more. These stem cells have even been used to grow a human heart! Who knows what will
be possible in 5, 10, or 20 years’ time?

The process of cord blood banking allows parents to collect these incredible cord blood
stem cells and save them for future use, should their family need it. But there is only one
opportunity to save it – and that’s on the day that they are born.

The collection itself is quick, safe and completely non-invasive, so it doesn’t interrupt the
first precious moments with you and your baby. Cord blood banking is provided by a small
number of companies across the UK, with the largest and most popular being Cells4Life.

This leading cord blood bank have put together this cord blood banking infographic to help
you make an informed decision about cord blood banking, including everything you need to
know from what stem cells are, who can use them and their compatibility with birth plans.
To discover more simply download your free guide or visit


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Wales to South Africa, Fundraising for those affected by Covid-19


South African

As some of you may already know, I was born and grew up in South Africa, it's where I went to school, had my first job, celebrated my 21st birthday. It's somewhere I will always call home but I am very privileged to be able to put down roots in Wales something which is not afforded to many and one I am very grateful for.

South Africa, unlike the UK, doesn't have Universal credit, childcare benefit or any kind of furlough or self-employment scheme so when Covid-19 hit it's had a huge impact on a country already struggling with a large population in a critical state of poverty. There is limited free health care and with the heavy lockdown restrictions and reduced access to food has meant starvation has been as much of a fear as Covid-19.

While the South African government is throwing everything is has to contain the virus it's come at a cost of those who are already struggling now funding it even harder to access safe food, clean water and basic hygiene kits. The government food parcels that are being provided are infrequent at best and don't always arrive at their destination and are also not allocated to any asylum seekers or refugees, many of which are LGBT youth who have fled persecution for a new life in liberal South Africa. 

There is good news though as many locals, grassroots organisations, charities and volunteers have come together to bridge the gap and bring thousands of meals and hygiene kits to vulnerable communities all across South Africa, although nearly all of these rely solely on donations to keep doing the amazing work they are doing. 

We I have made personal donations the boys and I really want to do more and have decided to walk 170 miles, the equivalent length of wales (as the crow flies) over the next few weeks to help raise funds for 3 charities on the ground in South Africa helping to feed those in need during the Covid crisis. The pound goes a really long way over there with one of the charities being able to put together a meal for an adult for 17p and another can feed a child for 2 weeks on £5, so literally, every penny helps. 

The charities we are supporting are Breadline Africa, The Lunchbox Fund and Feed our Valley and we hope to raise £100 for each charity 

If you would like to support use please go to our Crowd Funder page -

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Win a Zero Waste Starter Kit



Zero waste

Despite the current lockdown and everything that is going on in the world, many of us still want to make lifestyle changes to try and be more sustainable and look after the Earth for future generations. So I am really excited to be able to offer one reader the change to win a Zero-Waste starter kit. It has everything you need to get on your way to plastic-free living.

The kit includes
A Pack of Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps
Vegan Shampoo Bar
4 Metal Reusable Straws
One Adult and one child Blue Rock Bamboo toothbrush
A Reusaboo Coffee Cup 

I made the switch to shampoo bars, wax wraps and reusable coffee cups over a year now and it's such an easy change and can really help towards reducing your household waste.

It's super easy to enter via Rafflecopter below and the giveaway closes on the 12th Jun 2020 and is open to UK & European residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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