5 Safety Tips for Your Next Camping Trip


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camping sunset

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Camping trips are usually loads of fun, but they can come with a fair share of risk as well. Depending on where and who you are camping with, you will need to take the right precautions to ensure that everyone is safe at all times. You will need to bring some essentials, but also start laying down some rules with the other people in your party, and know what should be done in case something happens. Let's take a look at a few safety tips for your next camping trip.

Plan Well in Advance

You need to start thinking about things like the type of shelter you’re going to be using such as smaller tents for wild camping, van setups or glamping options. You want to consider the weather in the area you’re going to camp, and what amenities will be available to you. You should also look at your group and the type of activity they prefer. Some people might like to take it easy and go bird watching, while others might prefer things like whitewater rafting or challenging treks. It's up to you to look at your group's fitness levels and preferences and pick a spot that works for everyone. Don't be afraid to ask for suggestions either.

wild garlic

Have the Right Equipment

You'll find many packing lists out there, but no list will work for every group and every trip. Some specific items should be on everyone's list for safety, however especially if you are heading somewhere more remote. This should include some navigational tools like a GPS (most smartphones have one), travel chargers, a compass, a map, headlamps and flashlights.

You will also want to bring a first aid kit with you. You never know when you'll need it. You might get small scratches or bruises, or something a little more serious like an injury, so make sure that you have a well-stocked premium first aid kit that will have you covered no matter what.


Understand Fire Safety

If camping wild or even up a campsite that allows bbq's or fires then you should bring some fire-making tools with you as well. However, you also have to be very careful about how you use them. One of the first things you have to know is how to safely start a bonfire. You should never leave it in the open and it should be as far away from your campsite as possible. You need to be at least 15 ft away for it to be safe. You should also create a fire pit so that the fire stays contained.

Stay Hydrated

Staying properly hydrated will also be of extreme importance during your trip. Know that if you're feeling thirsty, you're already dehydrated, so you have to constantly drink throughout the day. You should also make sure that you replenish those electrolytes. One of the ways you can do this is by packing sports drinks and a few salty snacks. We also suggest that you get yourself a hydration bag instead of a bottle as they're more convenient.

forest camping

Know How to Interact with Wildlife

You also have to learn how to treat and respect animals in their habitat. Teach your children to not draw too much attention to them and contain their excitement if they see an animal. Always stay at a safe distance and don’t feed them. If you do, it will increase the chances of them approaching future campers. Also, make sure that your food is safely tucked away in an airtight container, your car, or your camper.


These are all things that will help you stay safe and have a great time on your next camping trip. These tips could literally save your life, so don’t take things lightly and get prepared with your group as soon as possible.

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Glamping at YHA Manorbier, Pembrokeshire



This post is not in association with the YHA & we paid for our trip in full, although I have worked with the YHA in the past

Hand's up who loves budget-friendly family travel (or solo travel) in amazing locations, I know I do and who doesn't love glamping! Not everyone knows that the YHA or Youth Hostels Association as it's otherwise known not only offers bunk & private room rooms but also camping and glamping options at some of their locations and I've been keen to try out their glamping options for a while, as the kids and I have stayed in a few different YHA's in the past but never their glamping.

We love West Wales but hadn't yet visited Manorbier so when I spotted two nights available in the YHA Manorbier Camping Pods I thought why not. YHA Manorbier has 3 large camping pods which comfortably sleep 4 on two single beds and one double futon (with fresh bedding included) there is also space for a dog if you want to bring your four-legged friend along for the ride. While the pods are fairly basic they have everything you need to be comfortable and cosy including a small wall heater for those colder nights (although we didn't need to use it), lights and plug sockets to charge any tech. Each pod also has its own decking area with chairs along with some additional picnic tables.

YHA Manorbier

YHA Manorbier, however, doesn't just have Camping Pods but they also offer Bell Tents through the summer months, LandPods and a very cool and shiny Airstream, which I would have booked but it only sleeps two people but it's definitely on the list for a solo adventure at some point. 

Airstream YHA

Landpod glamping

Guests of course also have year-round access to the camping facilities including showers, hairdryers, toilets and lounge, there is also a self-catering kitchen although this is closed due to Covid, however, their Cafe is open all day and very reasonably priced. The only thing I would like to point out is that because it's in a beautiful rural location (which is what we like) that phone reception is very patchy at best with minimal 4g (3g) which was great for us as we wanted to disconnect for a few days, the lounge in the YHA, however, does have some wifi but it doesn't reach as far as the camping field. 

So what did we think of the actual pod

It's certainly an easier, quicker and more comfortable option to traditional camping (which we still love but now we have a dog its a real tight squeeze in our car with all our equipment) while still keeping things fairly basic and capturing that camping feel. The beds were very comfortable and had enough space for all of us, including the dog. The decking area was also very handy as we could keep wet or muddy shoes outside as well as enjoy a drink while watching the sunset. Overall we loved the accommodation which was lovely and clean, with easy access to the car park, showers and on-site cafe.

The staff were also incredibly friendly and welcoming and on hand for any questions or recommendations on local walks. We also enjoyed at least one lunch and one supper at the on-site cafe and the food was fresh with good options for both myself and the kids as well as being very really reasonably priced. 

YHA food

We went just before the summer holidays so the site wasn't too busy while still taking advantage of the summery weather and our dog enjoyed all the walks and trails literally right on our doorstep including exploring Church Doors Cove and Shrinkle Haven. I will be following this post up with a list of things to do in the area as we were really spoilt for choice for free outdoor activities.

We had such a lovely time that we are planning on another visit as there was so much to do in the local area and we didn't have time to do all of them.

Do also check out our stay at YHA London Central, YHA Ironbridge and YHA St Briavels Castle

YHA Manorbier

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5 health checks you should do before travelling



travel planning

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In the current climate, precautions are our first stop before travelling anywhere. As the world is slowly opening up again, we have to do all we can to stay safe and keep on top of our health, and even more so when we are away from home. There are a few simple things you should do before heading off on your travels, while it can't prevent all illnesses they can reduce the likelihood and that is essential right now. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to adhere to any entry requirements with regards to Covid and tests before travelling but here are 5 additional health checks you also should do.

1. Have a dental checkup

I have personal experience of having dental pain while travelling and it's not nice at all! A simple check-up could have prevented that from happening. Your bi-annual check can give you an overall look at your dental health and check for any loose fillings, or cavities that may become problematic and can fix any issues before you leave - saving you money and pain. 

2. Visit your optometrist

Everyone should have an eye check every 2yrs and if you're planning a long road trip or heading off backpacking now is the time to get it done. Your visit to the optometrist will give you an insight into the overall health of your eyes (not just if you need glasses or not). They can also spot early signs of conditions such as glaucoma and can also detect some other health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure. 

If you rely heavily on glasses or contact lenses and are heading off on long-term travel or some backpacking, then it may be worth making an appointment with your GP or eye specialise to discuss the possibility of laser eye surgery, which can make you less dependant on glasses and research has shown this surgery is both safe and effective. 

Your surgeon, after examining your eyes, will discuss different options as well as discuss any risks and it may also be dependent on budget as most laser eye surgery is not covered on the NHS but can be worth it in the longter. Websites such as Oodo Optical have some fantastic up to date information on all things to do with eye health. 

eye health

3. Be up to date with any required Travel Vaccinations

If you're heading off to exotic or far-flung destinations then you need to research if there are any required vaccinations you may need - this needs to be done at least 6 weeks before you travel and without them, you may not be able to enter the country, especially places that require a yellow fever immunisation. Superdrug offers Health Clinics that specialise in travel immunisations so do remember to make an appointment early on to ensure you receive everything you need.  

4. Pack yourself a first aid kit

Having a basic first aid kit can be extremely handy and I would say essential if you're travelling with young children or have pre-existing conditions that require medication. I would recommend having at least some plasters on hand, antiseptic cream, pain killers, antidiarrheal treatment and antihistamines at a minimum.

5. Don't leave home without Travel Insurance

While you don't require travel insurance for health emergencies for staycations in the UK, thanks to having the wonderful NHS, it can help with cancellations but for any overseas travel, insurance is essential. While travel insurance is a little bit more expensive right now due to the pandemic, you really cannot afford to leave home without it, especially if you should fall ill overseas or get stranded due to cancellations. Forbes has recently put together a list of the best travel insurance companies to use during 2021. 

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How to turn your local park into the Olympic games this summer



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Who else has been loving watching the long-awaited Tokyo Olympic Games? Well, we have and it's been really exciting! The chances are that you might have been inspired by the incredible sporting efforts of the Great British athletes and have caught the sporting bug. Well, if that’s the case, then why not create an Olympic games of your own, so that you and your kids can be active this summer and get a piece of the action. If you don’t have much space at home, then you can still get involved, just pack up a bag with all the equipment that you’ll need, grab a picnic and head down to your local park!

The nursery chain Kiddi Caru, for example, are always encouraging children to get outside and get active, and since the Olympic torch is lit, there’s no better time to ignite the competitive fire inside your child and get them involved in some Olympic-inspired activities. So, get creative, and go and turn your local park into the Olympic games with these exciting activities!


On your marks, get set, go! You won’t need much equipment for this event, but you’ll definitely need your running shoes, and who knows you might even achieve a personal best! Your child and their friends can set up a starting and finishing line using some rope, and then all you’ll need is one of the adults to judge the race and tell everyone when to go. You can start by doing an individual race and then splitting the kids into teams to host a relay race! Of course, each team will need a baton to pass over to one another and you could use a plastic water bottle for this.

kids races


There’s plenty of space in the park, so it’s a great opportunity for your kids to test their arm strength and see how far they can throw. You could use a frisbee as a discus, just make sure to choose a spot that’s safe to throw, without the risk of hitting a poor passer- you can place a marker on the ground to record their efforts. At the end of everyone’s throws, there should be multiple markers on the ground and so you’ll be able to see who managed to throw the frisbee the furthest.

Tug of war

Of course, this one isn’t an official Olympic event now (although it was from 1900-1920), but it’s so much fun that it would be a shame not to incorporate it! This team game will require one piece of equipment — the rope of course. So, if you can source a long, sturdy rope, then you’re onto a winner. The aim of the game is simple, place a marker in the middle of the rope and the team that manages to get the rope to cross the marker are the winners!

tug of war

A few other ideas are a mini football match, a little tennis rally or heading to the skatepark for a skateboard race or best trick competition. 

Awards ceremony 

Now for the part that we’ve all been waiting for, the awards! You could bring some chocolates and sweets for the winners, as some added motivation to spur them on. However, you could let your child get in touch with their creative side and make some medals together prior to the event. Using some cardboard, ribbon and paints or glitter, you could make gold, silver and bronze medals. And to really emulate that Olympic spirit, you could even make your own Olympic torch to mark the occasion.

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Everything you need to know about learning to drive in the city


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learning to drive

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I learnt to drive in heart of the city of Cape Town and let's just say it was a pretty crazy experience and I feel it gave me a pretty good grounding for feeling comfortable in most places and have since driven across South Africa, France and all the way from the West of Scotland to Cornwall. It was certainly more intensive than driving quiet country roads, especially when navigating 4 lane roads, taxies and rush-hour commutes. 

Different driving settings will present you with different challenges no matter what country your in. When driving on a rural lane in the UK you might encounter a herd of cows crossing the road, and in a town or village you might be met by school-run traffic, but city driving is a whole other kettle of fish. If you’re learning to drive in Birmingham, for example, then you’ll expect to hit some heavy traffic, have to adapt to one-way systems and stay alert, since situations can change very quickly.

If you live in a city and are about to start learning to drive, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to, and we’re sure that you can almost taste freedom. However, city driving can be daunting and though your instructor is the best person to advise you and will calmly guide you through everything you need to know, prior to that first lesson, here are some things that you’ll need to know about driving in the city.

Your mirrors are your best friend

As we mentioned previously, situations can change very quickly when driving in the city — pedestrians could step into the road, cars could tailgate you in busy traffic and you might be required to change lanes. Because of this, you should never underestimate the importance of your mirrors, since you’ll need them to make well-informed decisions before you move or break. Your instructor will stress the importance of checking your mirrors, signalling and then making your move, and this is more important than ever in a city.

Although your mirrors are one of the most useful tools on your car for making observations of your surroundings, you should use them alongside checking your blind spot. This is because your mirrors don’t actually give you a full 360-degree view and you can’t risk being caught out when a hazard enters that small area that you can’t see.

Don’t ignore those road signs

There are some road signs that you’ll see in the city that you might not see anywhere else. For example, the city is rife with bus lanes and this means that there could also be bus lane cameras. Therefore, if you should drive in a bus lane you could receive a fine. So, make sure to check all signage when entering a city, as well as looking at the markings on the road, which will inform you whether the lane is fit to drive in or not.

City speed limits can vary greatly — one minute you could be driving on a road where the national speed limit applies and the next you could hit a 20mph zone. Stay vigilant when it comes to those speed limits, since you could easily be caught out by a speed camera. Of course, once you’ve passed your theory test, you’ll be well informed about traffic signs and what they mean, so don’t ever ignore them, they’re there for a reason!

Plan your route or use a sat nav

In the city, your driving needs to be accurate, so if you don’t know where you’re going, the key to success is to plan your route ahead of your drive or use a sat nav. This is important because if you’re in the wrong lane in heavy traffic, then you’ll most likely be unable to correct yourself since it probably won’t be safe or viable to move over.

Using your sat nav will also ensure that you’re on the fastest route in heavy traffic, as it may adapt your journey and divert you, should a quicker route present itself.

The key to driving in a city is to take your time, stay alert and most importantly, stay calm. You won’t be able to make good decisions if you’re stressed, so take a deep breath, listen to your instructor and you’ll be a pro-city-driver in no time.

Have the right insurance 

Firstly you have to have insurance to be able to drive legally in most countries but there are different levels and options and I always. recommend getting the one with the best cover your budget can afford. 
Being insured will give you a lot of peace of mind should you have an accident either at home or when driving in another country on holiday and if you are in an accident make sure you know who to contact such as dedicated Dallas car accident attorneys, who can walk you through the right steps when things go wrong. 

city driving

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Love Scotland? How to bring a Scottish feel into your home


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Edinburgh Scotland

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I love Scotland, I've been lucky enough to have lived in Edinburgh for over a year and as well as work on the West Coast of Scotland for a summer, near the Isle of Skye. It is a place I love visiting with my kids, we enjoyed a wonderful family break to Edinburgh and have a trip lined up to the Highlands later this year. I love to incorporate my favourite places into my home so that even when I am not travelling I can feel a sense of wanderlust. 

Descending from the Highlands, tartan is a sure-fire way to incorporate Scottish roots into your interior design. The optime of warmth and comfort, what better place to use this iconic pattern than in your bedroom or living room, and here are some ways to achieve this with style and sophistication.

What is tartan?

First, let’s explore the origins of the fabric. Tartan is a uniquely patterned cloth consisting of intricate and intersecting lines in multiple colours, that create different sized and coloured squares. Historically, the fabric has been used in Scottish traditions to represent a clan or family lineage, using colours and lines that are reflective of their local region.

It usually is made of woven wool, but over time tartan has evolved as an iconic pattern that can be found in many textures and materials. It is also a fun and easy way to incorporate a pattern and colour into your interior design and works well as part of a rug, throw or cushions.


Experiment with layers

The focal point of your bedroom is of course the bed, and through the use of tartan, you can make it a real showstopper in the space. You can indulge in a luxurious woven fabric of rich checks, like with Designers Guild bedding for example, which will provide the basis of the design on your bed.

With the bed linen setting the colour palette and base tartan pattern, you can layer up with accessories such as cushions, throws and blankets. As well as using different textures for a cosy atmosphere, you can coordinate with the rest of the tartan in the room, whilst not being overly matching, to create depth and interest.

The key to effectively using tartan in the bedroom is to use a tone that is timely all year round, as we all know a deep red can seem a bit too wintery. However, if you really want to harken back to its Celtic roots, then incorporating faux furs and natural wool alongside the tartan, will certainly create an atmosphere of the Highlands.

This also works well in the living room by bringing a pop of colour and warmth, especially during autumn and winter. A nice thick throw looks beautiful draped over a sofa and also helps to keep you warm. 

Explore with colour

The joy of tartan, and the rich origins that involve colours of the local land, means that the fabric can be found in a whole array of shades and hues. Depending on the colour of your walls, you can decide to clash with your choice of tartan furnishings and accessories and delve into complex checks in a colourful palette.

On the other hand, tartan is just as effective in neutral hues, where the focus is instead on the detailed pattern and texture of the material used. You could even go completely monochrome, making an impact with just black and white, and creating a chic, Parisian vibe for your bedroom.

scottish interiors

Clash checks and stripes

The intricacy and use of colour in a tartan fabric means it can almost be a used as a block shade, when designing your bedroom or living room style. So, don’t be afraid to pair it with a mix of other patterns in terms of your bedding and adorning accessories. Stripes work particularly well with checks and tartan, especially if they all incorporate the same colour palette. As aforementioned, used effectively can create a real focal point of the bed within the space, as the various patterns are visually striking together.

This can also go for the general aesthetic of the room. Just because tartan comes from traditional roots, doesn’t mean that the materials can’t be paired with surrounding modern elements. In fact, contemporary furniture brings out the best of country fabrics. Imagine a sleek and sophisticated dressing table or wardrobe alongside a warm, cosy and comfortable tartan rug. It’s a match made in design heaven.
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