Mental Health - Making the Most of your time Online


mental health

Lately, in the media, there have been a lot of stories about the dangers of spending too much time online. The damaging impact all that screen time can have on your eyesight and concertation span and the negative mental health aspects of doom scrolling are just two examples. But wait … not all time spent online is unhealthy and if you can’t peel your eyes away from your mobile, it's better you find something constructive to do whilst you are there! So, with that in mind, here are some of our favourite ways to get some positive feedback and keep your brain in shape whilst online.


One of the best-known brain challenges is Sudoku, a number-based game that utilises a grid and requires you to place numbers in boxes based on previous placements. It is very good for your short-term memory and it also comes with varying levels of difficulty, so you can progress from a beginner through to an expert, by which point your memory skills will be acute!

You can find all the rules and start playing at sites like this one - There are also a few forums where you can swap strategies and puzzles so it has a social element too.

Brain Training Websites

Believe it or not, there are actually a few websites out there that are dedicated to providing a range of brain training exercises that you can use two or three times per day to build stronger neural networks and improve your problem-solving skills. Examples are Happy Neuron, where activities are divided into brain areas – memory, attention, language, visual/spatial and executive functions – with personalised plans on which you can chart progress. Or if you prefer a good brainteaser, you can pick up lots of good puzzles on the Braingle website.

brain training


Down-Time Games

We’re calling these downtime games because they are the ones that provide a bit of escape without having to do too much thinking. These are the Candy Crush Saga’s of our online world where bright lights, pretty colours and playful noises help you forget about the stresses and strains of day-to-day life for a few minutes each day.

Whilst these games are primarily designed for having some fun, they can also be lucrative if you play the right ones and have the know-how. Online casino games can be a great way to make some money on the side when you're sat at home after work, there are also a wide range of options available, so there's something for everyone. Gambling games can be a great way to spend your downtime, they're not just about the money.

Online games can be beneficial for your well-being if enjoyed sensibly and for short periods. There are plenty of free versions on Facebook and in the app store, and you can pick up bonuses like these to play without spending your own money, so it doesn’t have to cost.

Using Social Platforms

For all the negative press that Twitter and Facebook get, one of the greatest facets of the online world is the social networks that it supports. Away from the trolling and bullying, you see on those mainstream platforms, there are many active forums in which the community is hugely supportive of its members. Places like the Mental Health Forum and the Money Saving Expert Forum are just two examples of places online where like-minded people support each other and give advice to those facing the same issues.

In short, forums and other social networks are a great place to find solace and can really help boost your mental health when you are feeling down.

social media


Language Learning

Most of us might have given up learning a language when we left school (or before!) but don’t write it off as we get older. It can be very satisfying and healthy for the mind too. Apps like Duolingo make learning more fun because they break it down into small chunks with daily tasks and rewards for completing levels. They are repetitive, but ultimately you will find yourself learning pretty quickly and whether it is to train your brain or to prepare for a trip abroad, it’s a fun way to get in shape with a new language.

Duolingo is free, to begin with, and you can pay for more advanced levels and extra features.


To conclude then, not all time spent online should be time wasted! There are plenty of opportunities to train your brain, find like-minded people to share with, or just take time out from your busy day with relaxing and uplifting games and activities. So have a think and next time you pick up your phone, try one of these sites or apps to keep your mind nimble and toned and your state of mind positive and stable!
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5 amazing places you can visit in the British Isles without a passport


UK coastline

As travel has started to open up, many people are suddenly realising that their passports have expired (I've experienced this first hand with my children's passports) and with the virus having a big impact on the Passport Office, passports are now taking up to 10 weeks, almost three months, to get back and at times even longer and with 1-week appointments being like gold dust, many families are realising they may not be able to get away this summer. 

However, there are some pretty incredible places within the British Isles that you can travel to without a passport as part of the Common Travel Area which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as a few other smaller islands. As an adult however you will need a photographic ID such as a driver's licence or an expired passport can be used up to a maximum of 5yrs after expiry, there are also one or two "approved" ID cards such as Citizen Card although I've not used on myself so I cannot vouch for it personally. 

If you are stuck in this situation or simply want to explore more of what is on your doorstep, here are 5 fantastic destinations within the British Isles

1. The Isles of Scilly

One of the most surprising (in the best way possible) staycations I have ever been on has to be our trip to the Isles of Scilly, it really is a special place and unlike any other in the UK. For those who don't know, the Isles of Scilly are a small archipelago off the Cornish coast with the island of St Agnes being the most southwestern inhabited outpost in the UK. The climate is mild and is one of the sunniest places in the UK, coupled with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters you will often find yourself thinking you could be somewhere more far-flung like the Caribbean. When we visited we spent a few days on the car-free island of St Martin, which was just bliss, we also spent a day exploring Tresco and then a few days on the main island of St Marys. I don't feel I can do this place enough justice in such few words but you won't regret visiting the Isles of Scilly. 

Isles of Scilly
St Martins, Isles of Scilly

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh has got to be one of the most enchanting cities in the UK, when your walk around the old city it feels like you have stepped into a mystical world. Its quaint and cute shops along the Royal Mile and the iconic Castle overlooking Princess street immediately tell you you are somewhere special. I may be a little biased having lived in Edinburgh for over a year but I always love going back. It's great for solo travellers as well as families with plenty to see and do and I highly recommend a walk up Arthur Seat and Calton Hill to take in the views across the city. 

Bagpipes on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

3. Guernsey

Yes, you can travel to the Channel Islands without a passport if you are a UK citizen despite it technically not being part of the British Isles and with it being so close to France and that clearly having an influence on the island, making it feel like your somewhere different. My boys and I visited Guernsey in 2019 and we talk about revisiting often. Despite being fairly small in size there is so much to see and do, especially if you like history as it has a fascinating WW2 past. The beaches are also quiet and unspoilt with plenty of hikes and trails to be had along with some delicious local food spots. 

Rock pooling on Guernsey

4. Isle of Eigg, West Coast Scotland

While there are many Hebridian Islands, my favourite one I have personally visited has got to be the Isle of Eigg, which is around 5 miles long and 3 miles wide but its natural beauty is truly breathtaking and it's truly a place to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax. The island is all about learning how to slow down, reconnect with nature and enjoy the local history and wildlife as it's known for it's interesting geology and birdlife. There are a few camping, glamping, bothy and b&b options on the island and you can take the ferry from Mallaig. You can read more about accommodation and how to get to the island here

Isle of Eigg

5. Dublin

If your looking for a culturally packed city break then Dublin is a great option and it's pretty easy to get to with a variety of airlines flying along with ferries from the mainland UK. Like any capital city, it has plenty of museums, and historical places of importance such as the Trinity College Library and Book of Kells and Ha'penny bridge along with cultural must-dos such as the Guinness factory and taking in the cafe and pub culture of Temple Bar.

A few other ideas for alternative staycations in the British Isles are exploring the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, heading across the water to the Isle of Man and Isle of Wight, heading to the big smoke that is London or exploring the Lake District or quaint streets of York. Where is your favourite place in the British Isles?

British Isles

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7 Style Hacks to Get You Dressed and Ready in Minutes

Cardiff style

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When we feel good about the clothes are wearing it can in turn have a positive effect on how we feel about ourselves and can be a real boost to our self esteem. What people don’t realise, however, is that they might be spending too much time and resources on our personal style. Of course, you could just put on whatever’s available in your closet (I do this often) but sometimes we want to put together a specific look or if you are attending an event, going to work, meeting up with friends etc or maybe you just want to wear something a little extra special, colourful or fun that also makes you feel good. 

Dressing up, whether for work or leisure, requires at least a little planning and effort especially as it's often not just the clothes, but you’re also thinking about shoes and accessories that go into the overall look. All of this decision-making takes time that may be better spent doing other things. As a result, you may find yourself skipping breakfast or being late to meetings just because you took a lot of time getting yourself ready.

Fortunately, there are tricks you can use to dress up more efficiently which means you don't have to compromise on style even if you have only a couple of minutes to prepare. To get you started, here are some easy hacks you can apply to shorten the time you need to get ready.

Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Most people purchase more clothes than they need, so the garments end up unused and taking up space in their closets. This can complicate your decision-making because the more options you have, the harder it is to make a choice. Moreover, you end up spending time looking for cotton leggings in a pile of clothes rather than being able to quickly find and wear your favourite pair. Cut down this process by cutting down on your wardrobe so you only have clothes that make you look and feel good. This curated set of clothes is called your capsule wardrobe.

Building a capsule wardrobe can take time as well as some trial and error as you develop your own fashion style but it's worth it in the end. That said, there are a couple of tricks you can use to make the process easier. Consider the following:

Pick clothes that you instinctively feel good in. These are the clothes that feel right on your body and give a boost to your confidence.

Stick to a colour palette. Have pieces in neutral colours and a specific hue that matches well with your skin tones, like blues and reds.

Prioritise quality over quantity. The clothes in your capsule wardrobe are your outfit foundation pieces, so it’s important that you can wear them repeatedly without breaking down or showing signs of wear after just a few uses.

By creating your capsule wardrobe, it’ll be significantly easier to conceptualize outfits because all the pieces complement each other. Additionally, these garments serve as your wardrobe staples, and you can add other seasonal pieces without worry. In this manner, you don’t have to think too hard about matching clothes on days you have to rush.

fashion and style

Prepare Your Outfits Early

Another handy tip that you can use is to assemble the clothes you’ll be wearing earlier on. For most people, trying out clothes the night before and laying them out for the next day is sufficient preparation.

However, if you arrive home tired or you become preoccupied with other responsibilities, you may not have the time to do this every evening. Hence, consider preparing your outfits for the week ahead may work for you. Dedicate some of your free time for a closet check, and set aside the ensembles you’ve chosen for the upcoming days. 

Always Keep a Backup Outfit on Standby

You never know what can happen while you’re hurrying. You might accidentally spill some coffee on your top (I've done this!)  or discover that your pants had a rip you didn’t notice earlier. These things happen, so it’s smart to keep a backup outfit on standby. Ideally, your backup outfit would be a one-piece garment like a dress or a jumpsuit, so you don’t need to match tops and bottoms anymore. Keep a couple of them ready in case you need to replace one of your scheduled outfits.

Coordinate Your Accessories and Footwear

One of the most effective ways to create a cohesive look is to coordinate your accessories and footwear. Having them in similar colours or designs can significantly raise the aesthetic appeal of your ensemble and make it look more polished. Pay special attention to your bags and shoes because these larger accessories are the ones that make the most impact.

To make things easier for you, have them in neutral colours such as nude, black, or white. Rich brown colours are also popular with their rich leather-like look. By doing so, you can easily pair them with any clothes and make matching outfits go by faster.

skater style

Keep Your Toiletries and Wardrobe Organised

The last thing you want on a busy morning is a misplaced item. More often than not, it causes people to become frantic with their search and make a mess as they look for the missing item. Avoid losing time and getting stressed by keeping your possessions organised. Fold your clothes properly, place your toiletries in small baskets, and have a dedicated spot for your phone, keys, and other necessities (easier said than done, I know!). If you do make a mess, don’t forget to put things back in their proper spots once you get home. After all, it’s easier to maintain an organised space rather than letting the mess accumulate and needing more time to clean up.

Dress Smarter, Not Harder

There’s a lot of effort and time that goes into looking good, from assembling outfits to picking the right makeup look. However, time is not always on your side, especially on busy mornings or evenings when you have scheduled engagements back to back. Hence, make the most of the styling tips above, so you don’t compromise your outfits and your look with the limited time you have.

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How Working parents can Improve Their Time Management Skills


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working parents

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One of the most important skills any working parent, carer, nurse etc needs is to have is time management. Without good time management, you will find it very hard to get everything done and still have some time for yourself, which is crucial if you want to stay happy and healthy. Time management also means being able to help those who rely on us, such as our children, work colleagues, and patients better and be there for our team or family when needed.

This may sound simple as time management doesn’t appear to be much of a challenge at first glance. However, the truth is time management is only easy when you don’t have a lot of things to do and plenty of time in which to do them, otherwise it's a pretty hard balance to achieve. This is often the opposite of how many working parents see their day as they have lots to do and in a very small window of time to get it all done. Therefore, time management is not only more important but more difficult to get right.

With that in mind, how can we improve our time management skills to ensure we don’t burn ourselves out in the process? Although it will be hard to do, it will also be worth all the effort, and here are some ways to get started.

Set Achievable Goals

One of the best ways to achieve good time management is to set achievable goals. When you do this, your productivity levels will increase, and your stress levels will reduce. The keyword here is ‘achievable’. Whether the goals are large or small, short-term or long-term, as long as they are things you can definitely achieve, they will be beneficial to you and your time management aims. If they are more difficult, perhaps even so large that you don’t know where to start, they won’t help at all and will just make things worse, causing stress and anxiety.

Start with your ultimate long-term goal. What do you want out of your career or family life for example? Where do you want to be in five, ten, or more years? Once you have this in mind, you can work backwards, setting yourself smaller goals in the short-term that, once you have achieved them all, will ensure you can also achieve your ultimate goal. By breaking this larger goal down into different parts, each one achievable on its own, you’ll find you are better able to focus on each one – one by one – and, once you have completed one task, you can move on to the next, gradually working your way up.

Not only does this approach ensure that you eventually reach your end goal, but it also means you can become better at time management. Rather than one vague future goal that seems too big to plan for, you’ll have smaller goals that can all be fitted into a schedule, giving you time to work on each one and not neglect your roles. You’ll be a lot less stressed, and you’ll have a roadmap to follow to get you where you want to be.

remote working

Implement a Routine

While not everyone is a fan of the routine (like myself), especially when no two days look the same and you are juggling a lot on your plate, when it comes to time management and making work (and life) easier for yourself, routines are important

By ensuring you have something of a routine, albeit a flexible one that you can adapt as you go along if need be, depending on your working day, you can give yourself a framework to employ better time management. For example, if you always take breaks at about the same time (again, you may need to be flexible, as this will depend on how busy things are in your department), plan this into your day so that you can also plan everything else around it. 

Making routines for yourself means that work becomes easier, as you’ll be able to become more efficient thanks to practice, and potentially even muscle memory being part of what you do. With all this added together, you can see how routines will help you and how you can benefit from having at least a little bit of routine in your working life, whether you enjoy it or not.

Learn Remotely

The majority of people these days have to continue their education, be it training for work or work-related courses that are going to advance in their careers. Even those who are happy where they are and aren’t interested in going further need to keep learning; there are always new ideas and innovations being developed in most industries.

The issue with gaining this knowledge is that it takes time, particularly if you want to obtain qualifications, in what. is an already busy schedule. This adds a lot of strain to your life and can make time management difficult when there are classes to factor in as well as assignments to consider.

The best solution, if possible, is to learn remotely. Online courses mean you can work at your own pace and gain the qualifications you need, this could be an IT or marketing course, parenting-related courses, safeguarding or any nursing role you might be interested in while you’re working. Because you can choose when you study, it’s easier to ensure you can still have good time management because everything is so flexible. When there is flexibility involved, deadlines are less problematic, time management becomes less stressful, and routines can more easily be formed.

If you are going back to education or are in the middle of study while also parenting then make use of the tools and support available to you both online and in person. Course Hero is a fantastic online learning platform that helps you make the most of course-specific study resources and allows you to get help from expert tutors at Course Hero, 24/7, so you make the most of your course in a time-efficient way. 


Take Time To Rest

Burnout from overwork can be a big problem. There is a lot of pressure on working parents to get things right and although it can be hugely rewarding, it can be easy for burnout to occur and that can have a knock-on effect on your work and home life.

When you think about time management, it’s likely you only think of it in terms of how it can benefit your productivity and help you to become more efficient. However, you can also use good time management to ensure that you leave enough time to rest and relax and to effectively unwind and be more present with your family and home life.

Delegate Work

No one can do everything by themselves, sometimes, it’s best to ask for help if you need it and to delegate work when you are able to. If you have a lot to do and there is someone else who is ready to work but doesn’t have a task, give them some of your duties. 

Having a strong support network is an important part of the working parent's life. You need to be able to work well with the team around you and get help from them, as well as give help whenever you can. The more you work with people, the easier this will be, and if you’re truly having problems with the workload or anything else, always ask someone for advice, whether that’s a colleague, a manager, or a mentor. There is no reason to hide your issues, especially when there is always something that can be done to make things more positive.

time management

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Easy Exercises for Busy Parents


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Hiking parents

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I don't go to the gym but I do make sure that I move my body daily, it helps with my well-being and mental health so much as well as calm my mind and helps me balance work, parenting and life better. I think we all know that regular physical exercise is crucial for living a healthy, happy life, but getting time to be active every day can be very difficult when trying to juggle parenthood especially when most parents are rushing around doing school runs, food shops, work, taking care of dinner and all the life admin and responsibilities, there can be very little time to get in any kind of exercise.

Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible. With a little adaptability, if you want it, even as busy parents, we can to an extent find time and can include more exercise in our daily routine. I can say first-hand how much exercise boosts your mood, make you feel calmer and more in control and can even improve other areas like making your skin clearer, and is recommended by a sleep clinic to help you sleep better at night.

So I thought I would share some tips on the most accessible exercises for parents that are constantly on the move. No one should have to sacrifice their personal health and well-being for anything, and these workouts will allow you to take control of your life and pursue the fitness that’s been on your mind.

Walking, Running, Hiking

Cardio is one of the most important exercises for keeping your heart healthy and what I love about it is that you can do it with your kids but also it's a very budget-friendly option and you don't need any specific equipment besides a comfy pair of trainers. 

Why not go for a nature hike after school especially during the warmer months when the evenings are lighter or you could try pop out for a jog around the neighbourhood before school pickup. If you have very limited time during the week then why not purchase a cheap jumping rope for the house? It's an effective way to get your heart rate up quickly and with very little additional equipment, allowing you to squeeze in a workout without having to sacrifice time for other responsibilities.

Bodyweight Exercises

While cardio is vital for keeping your heart and lungs healthy, it’s also important to work strength training into your workout routine to ensure your muscles and bones remain strong and durable. In a house full of children and other adults, it can be difficult to keep a weight machine in rooms that are taken up by other furniture. By using your own bodyweight for exercise, you can still get your blood flowing without having to rely on cumbersome equipment.

Some effective bodyweight exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, all of which can be done in any bedroom or living room with adequate space. Even if you can only get a few sit-ups in between housekeeping chores, your body will thank you for working your muscles and keeping them well-conditioned.



Now that we’ve covered heart health and muscular strength, the next thing to focus on is flexibility. Staying flexible is something that a lot of busy parents are already familiar with, as life is already filled with so many things that take adaptability and patience. When it comes to building physical flexibility, however, one of the best exercises you can do is yoga. You also need very little to get started and Adriene has plenty of free Yoga videos on her youtube channel to get you started so you don't even have to opt for expensive classes. 

Yoga can be an incredibly helpful exercise because not only does it allow for increased flexibility, but it gives stressed parents a moment to centre themselves and relieve some stress. There are various yoga positions you can start with to build your balance and flexibility, and as you feel yourself become more comfortable with certain poses, you can move on to more sophisticated ones that will challenge your body. Similar to the exercises listed above, yoga also requires minimal equipment, as you can complete most poses with only the assistance of a cushioned yoga mat.

A family bike ride

When it comes to the weekend most parents have a bit more time to spare so if you are unable to be as active during the week, why not head out on a family bike ride with your kids, it's something that can be enjoyed by the whole family and is a great low impact way to get active and your blood pumping, you could even pack a picnic and have a ride around a local beauty spot. 

family bike ride

Being a parent is tough, but finding the time for regular exercise can lead to a marked improvement in your health and energy levels. Whether you decide to focus on cardio, bodyweight exercises, or yoga, you’ll be able to take greater control of your life when it feels like you’re being pulled in so many directions each day. Just remember that exercise takes the same dedication as everything else you do as a parent, and the only way to fully succeed is to make a regular commitment to your well-being.
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6 Awesome UK family friendly Festivals 2022



family festival

I don't know about you but I am excited about the prospect of festival season finally being back after a very bumpy two years which saw many festivals and events being cancelled (which was the right reason at the time). While of course the virus has not gone away it does to an extent appear to be more manageable and therefore summer festivals have finally got the green light to go ahead again. 

I've taken my kids to festivals ever since they were babies, in fact my youngest went to Just So Festival at the tender age of 5months. It's something we love to do as it offers a break away from normality and a chance to indulge the senses in music, art, creativity and street food, along with camping and a sense of getting back to nature while also connecting with others. 

Of course there are some festivals which are simply not tailored for the younger audience and others which main focus is children - I like to find a good balance between the two, a festival that offers something for all ages and is enjoyable for every member of the family. So I thought I would share my top picks for family friendly festivals in 2022 that should be on your summer bucket list.

1. Elderflower Fields, 27th -30th May, Sussex 

Elderflower fields is always one of the first festivals of the season, happening over May half term rather than the summer holidays, meaning you can get into the festival vibes early. Edlerflower fields is a fun family friendlydesigned especially for families with younger children and is a packed weekend full of music, nature, arts and crafts, set in the Sussex countryside. While they don't have big name headliners they do have an eclectic mix of indy artists to keep you entertained coupled with tons of activities such as bushcraft, circus skills, raft building, pottery and kayaking to name a few. Adult weekend tickets are £160, Child 4yrs+ is £80 and Children Under 4 is £8. 

The big retreat

2. The Big Retreat Festival, Pembrokeshire, 3rd - 6th June

The Big Retreat is the combination of a well being getaway and art festival brought together in a sunning location overlooking the Pembrokshire coastline. With over 200 curated experiences, classes, workshops and inspirational talks, along with a pretty cool music lineup (Reef & Toploader) there is something for everyone and there is plenty for children as well. I took my boys in 2019 and they loved it, you can read my review here, especially the immersive story telling sessions, family yoga and art & craft spaces where they could let their creativity fly. Adult weekend camping tickets are £184, Childrens weekend ticket 5-15yrs £84.50, Children under 5 free, Day tickets are also available. 

3. WOMAD, Malmesbury, 28th - 31st July

WOMAD is such a fantastic world music, arts and dance festival and is great for families, in fact children 13 and under go free! They have a whole area dedicated to kids where they can explore, create, learn, play and have an awesome time. The World of Children area runs from 9am to 7om each day an all the activities are free. The great thing is they cater for children of all ages from the Weenies dedicated space for under 5s to Teens who have their own tent with comfy sofas, jam sessions and space to chat and chill, really means there is something for everyone, along with a sellar international lineup. Adult 3 night weekend ticket is £205 (inc free parking), Teenage (14-17yrs) 3 night weekend ticket £105, Under 13's free.

music festival

4. The Green Gathering, Chepstow 4th - 7th August

The Green Gathering is such a unique and special festival as it's the original off-grid festival 100% powered by sun, wind and people. It's a space for those who love music, comedy and culture but also have an interest in low impact living, nature & being inspired to live a greener lifestyle. There is so much to see and do at this festival from storytelling, poets, DJ's, live music, crafts, weaving, permaculture you name it & the offerings for families, children and teens is amazing such as kids yoga, woodcraft, tie-dying, nature club, dressing up, a plabus with library and for older kids there is a welcoming area for teens to chill out as well as workshops, skillshares & games. Adult advanced weekend tickets are £120, Youth Ticket (11-15yrs) £55, Child ticket (6-10yrs) £20 and children 5 and under are free.

5. Camp Bestival Shropshire, 18th - 21st August

Very excited to hear Camp Bestival is expanding to Shropshire this year as well as their Dorest Festival which runs in July. Besides a pretty sellar lineup including Rag'n'bone Man and Mr Scruff there is just so many activities for the whole family including bush craft, their famous cardboard castle, inflatable church and dingle dell and for those who really want to connect with nature wild swimming and ice baths are also on the list. There is also a focus on wellness this year with comsic kids yoga, breathwork and sound meditation and if that's not your jam then there is plenty of foodie options, workshops and live music to enjoy. Adult weekend ticket is £190, Teen (13-17yrs) £140, 10-12yr olds £115, 5-9yr olds £95, Under 4's £75

6. Between the trees, South Wales,  26th - 28th August

Between the trees is a fairly new festival in South Wales with a focus to reconnect people with the natural world and revolves around the themes of science and nature alongside music, art, spoken word and creativity. There are lots of hands on workshops for all ages including art classes making mandalas and floral head-dresses, investigating the natural world, films, story telling & family friendly entertainment. The 100 acre festival woodland site is also perfect for long walks and forest bathing and there will be plenty of local food trucks. While it's a smaller festival it's also one of the more reasonably priced ones with both weekend and day tickets available. Adult weekend tickets are £110, Children 4-17yrs £50 and children under 4 are free, although you do need to purchase a separate camping pass if you plan to camp for the weekend at around £30 per tent. 

family festival
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Tackle pet hair with the Hoover Upright 300

Hoover upright

*I was kindly given a Hoover Upright 300 in exchange for an honest review AD

As some of you may know just over a year ago we welcomed 1yr old mixed breed dog into our home (and our hearts) and I've enjoyed every element of being a dog owner, well except for the dog hair in the home, that's one thing I could do without! I quickly realised my vacuum wasn't up for the job and simply was not picking up enough of the hair, which in turn was also agitating my allergies. Despite the kids and I travelling or being outdoors exploring most of the time when we are home we like to relax and enjoy our space & having a clean & pet hair-free home is important. So when Hoover got in touch for me to try out their new Upright 300 which offers impressive features for pet owners, I couldn't wait.

I had already actually seen an advert for the Hoover Upright 300 on the TV, it looked really impressive but would it stand up to the test of my cat, dog and rather messy kids? I was keen to put it to the test and find out for myself. 

Hoover upright

My previous vacuum had also been heaving and rather cumbersome and as I am only 4ft11 and not very big, lugging a heaving vacuum around the house was hard work so I was really excited to hear that the new Hoover Upright 300 was going to be the companies lightest steerable vacuum to date. In fact, the Upright 300 weighs under 5kg which means it's easy for me to take upstairs and with it's 80-degree swivelling floorhead it also means it can get into all those nooks and crannies & it easily glides around my home with ease. 

Going back to pet hair, the Upright 300 has an Allergy Care H13 HEPA filter which is washable and traps allergens and helps to purify the air and I can say first hand my allergies have calmed somewhat since using this vacuum which is a massive positive for me. The vacuum also has a mini turbo brush specifically designed to help tackle stubborn pet hair & helps to lift and loosen it from your floors and furniture. 

Hoover vacuum

Overall I am really impressed with the Upright 300, it gathers so much pet hair (I was actually quick shocked as a lot of the hair you can't see when looking at the carpet) plus it doesn't lose any suction power and it also very easy to empty and clean. Design wise I love the blue shade, it looks neat, tidy and isn't an eyesore like some vacuums are, in fact, I think it's pretty stylish. I definitely give it the thumbs up and it looks like I'm not the only one with over 118 customers leaving positive reviews on reevoo.

The Hoover Upright 300 also comes with a 1yr warranty for extra peace of mind and is currently on sale for £129

Pet Vacuum
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Z Hotel City, London - Family Travel Review


Z hotel City

*This is NOT a collaboration, I paid for my hotel stay in full

We love a break to the big smoke AKA London, there is just so much to see and do and it's a place you can never get bored of. It's also a destination that despite what most people think, you can easily do on a budget as there is such an abundance of free museums, attractions and deals to be had as well as plenty of street food and reliable public transport really does mean you don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy this bustling city, which is why we visit at least 2/3 time a year. Every time I take the kids for an overnight trip I aim to get a centrally located hotel or hostel for under £85 for a family room. 

We have stayed in an array of places from an Airbnb right in the heart of Covent Garden to Premier Inn, Travelodges, YHA, backpackers etc and on a recent trip we decided to try out a Z Hotel family room. I had stayed overnight in a Z hotel before in Soho but that was without kids so I was interested to see what their family room would offer.

Now if you are familiar with Z hotel you will know they are sort of based on a Japanese pod-style hotel, with very small rooms but with plenty of tech and luxurious touches as well as offering great locations right in the heart of London. This time we stayed at the City location which was a 5-minute walk from St Paul's and only a few minutes from Covent Garden which was great for us. 

Z hotel City

So firstly the hotel is easy to find, located on Fleet street with plenty of bus routes and we found the staff very friendly at reception and check-in was easy. There was also fruit and fresh water at reception for guests which after an early start with kids was a great way to hydrate. Once checked in you are given an electronic card to open your hotel room and like I said before the rooms are small but stylish, with the family rooms being around 13 square meters.

So what are the main features of a family room at Z hotel?

The layout is usually two large double beds one above the other - somewhere between bunk beds and mezzanine space. Each double bed has a large flatscreen Samsung HD TV with Sky along with crisp white linen and very comfortable mattresses. 

Each room also has complimentary high-speed wifi, aircon and room temperature options, tea and coffee station, a hairdryer, as well as clever storage options with hanging space and under bed storage.

The bathroom is well designed with a powerful rain shower and high-end complimentary toiletries and plenty of soft fluffy towels (not having enough towels is a pet hate of mine). 

Zest Cafe London

There was also a cafe on-site called Cafe Zest, while we didn't use it I did pop in to take a look and it was a nice option for breakfast or getting a light snack or reasonably priced lunch and was a nice added feature to this hotel but instead, we took full advantage of being within walking distance of Covent Garden. 

Overall we found this hotel very comfy, the bathroom is very stylish and the rain shower was great as well as having Sky TV to keep the kids entertained for an hour or two. The location is great as we wanted to be near the City area. The staff were very friendly and helpful and we would definitely stay again. We paid £85 for our family room. 

Do check out my youtube video to see more. 

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