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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