Have you tried Skedadle? Earning on the go

19/09/2023

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game app


It goes without saying that most of us are feeling the pinch with the cost of living in the UK and we could all do with a few extra pounds in our pocket and that's where Skedadle comes in. It's an innovative gaming app that lets you have fun playing some classic games such as Scramble and Snake and earning some money along the way, with zero charges, purchases or monthly subscriptions required! 

What is Skedadle

Skedadle is a completely free-to-use app that pays you real money for playing games, whether at home or on the move! 

Skedadel is available on the App Store and Google Play and do feel free to use my referral code UB9RC

How does it work

While playing the games, ads run seamlessly in the background, they are interruption-free and no irritating pop-up ads are to be seen. Skedadle then redirects the ad revenue from your gaming session back to you, which is pretty simple and ingenious if you ask me. So the more you play the more you earn, although there is a daily cap. 

How much can you make?

The maximum daily amount you can make at this point is £2 which doesn't sound like a lot but quickly adds up, that is around £60 per month or £730 per year, for playing games! You can also add an extra 50p for each friend you get skedadling. 


Skedadle


What games can I play?

Skedadle hosts an array of mini-games and regularly introduces new games so you don't get bored, plus they also have a leaderboard element if you're feeling extra competitive.

At the moment the mini-games available are

4096 - a simple numbers game that is rather addictive and one of my favourite mini-games

Slide - a tile puzzle game which is pretty challenging 

Brix - a ball and brick-hitting game

Flappydadle - a take on the classic that is flappy bird, another favourite

Invaderz - their take on the classic space shooting game

Finga Ninja - a fun fighting game at speed

Scramble  - a timed take on the word game scrabble 

Snake - heading back into the 90s with this classic

Stackit - a speedy block-stacking game 


How to withdraw your earnings?

You can withdraw earnings as soon as you have earned £5 which really won't take long! The app's payout system is secure and seamless and pays directly into your bank account. They process their payouts at the end of every month and you can withdraw earnings up to midnight on the last day of the month and your payment will be received into your bank account on the first business day of the following month. 


Skedadle app


My experience with Skedadle

I think it's a great app for earning a little extra money on the side and there is no minimum commitment in any way, you can just play here and there when you have time and earn on the go. So far I've earned just under £12 and I hope to earn around £50 before the end of November which I am putting aside for some extra Christmas treats. Once I cash that out I will be putting my Skedadel earnings towards some travel plans I have next year.

The games are fun and simple to grasp but there is also enough choice that you don't get bored too quickly. You can also switch them off quickly should someone call your phone. I find its really easy to use while commuting on the train or bus, while waiting for the kids or grabbing a few minutes while having a cup of coffee. 

The app can be used by those who are 13yrs+ which means it's also a useful pocket money tool for older children and students. 

The app also runs special offers for it's members such as money off products or free trials for things which is a nice additional feature. 

The app is currently only available to the UK so you cannot play while you are overseas but apparently, they are looking into launching further afield. 

My experience has so far been a very positive one and while it's not a big earner it is an easy and fun way to make a little extra money and it's something I would recommend giving a go. 


*This is a collaboration with Skedadle - words are 100% my own & I was already a Skedadle user before collaborating with them


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5 unmissable things to do in Cardiff this year

13/09/2023

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Cardiff Castle


The Welsh Capital is a place that is always bouncing, with a hive of activity, both residents and tourists visiting this incredible city looking for something to do, won't be disappointed with Cardiff always delivering. From live music to family experiences, to history and castles and side-splitting comedy, whatever your vibe Cardiff has you covered.

But, with so much on offer, it can often be hard to decide what the best option actually is. Don’t worry, that’s where I come in. I've got a list of the five unmissable Cardiff events that you need to attend before the year's end.

So scroll down, and check out what’s on offer, Cardiff will undoubtedly surprise you!

1. Rhod Gilbert | Hoof Cancer

When: Saturday 9th September - Sunday 10th September 2023

Where: Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff

Velindre Fundraising and their Patron Rhod Gilbert are putting on their latest Hoof Cancer Right Where It Hurts gig at Wales Millennium Centre.

This will be the third Hoof Cancer gig Velindre Patron Rhod has hosted. The event will raise funds for Rhod’s next Velindre trek which takes place in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains from 5 October. This will be the sixth Velindre trek Rhod has led, following on from the 2013 Kilimanjaro Trek of a Lifetime, Patagonia in 2015, Peru in 2017, Nepal in 2019 and Cuba in 2022.

The Morocco trek will be particularly poignant as it will be the first trek that Rhod has led since his cancer diagnosis in May 2022. Rhod is a true Welsh hero, and this will be a special gig for both him and his fans!


Rhod Gilbert


2. Oktoberfest Cymru 2023

When: Saturday 30th September 2023

Where: VSA Warehouse in Cardiff

Cardiff Oktoberfest 2023 is back, and we couldn't be more excited! You and your pals can embrace all things Bavarian and have endless boozy fun as the festival comes to Cardiff's VSA Warehouse. The day will be complete with a beer hall atmosphere, table service by waitresses in traditional German dress, authentic German food, live entertainment from Bavarian Oompah bands, a sausage-eating contest, and, of course, authentic Oktoberfest beer. Plus, the venue will be fully dressed up in Oktoberfest style, promising a truly immersive experience. Get your lederhosen ready and grab your tickets for this unforgettable event. Don't miss out on Cardiff Oktoberfest 2023!


Oktoberfest


3. Life of Pi

When: Tuesday 17th - Saturday 21st October 2023

Where: Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff

Based on the global phenomenon and winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide, Life of Pi is the acclaimed and hugely popular adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope, and the theatrical version is coming to the Wales Millennium Centre for 5 days in October.

Winner of every major play award including five Oliviers. Jaw-dropping visuals, magic and world-class puppetry combine in a unique and breathtaking theatrical event that is a true wonder to behold. Don’t miss its short stint in town!


Life of Pi


4. Llais Festival 2023

When: Wednesday 11th - Sunday 15th October 2023

Where: Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff

Don't miss out on Llais Festival 2023 - a musical celebration curated by Welsh Music Prize winner and Mercury Prize nominee, Gwenno - which celebrates all things Welsh music across 5 days of pure entertainment.

With events including a special tribute to Joni Mitchell called "Both Sides Now," featuring an all-female lineup including Cardiff's own Charlotte Church, Laura Mvula, ESKA, and Gwenno, backed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Bat for Lashes, who will also rock the stage with her iconic hits; The Unthanks who will host an all-day event showcasing their acclaimed albums; as well as a packed schedule of free workshops and oh so many more music events across the Wales Millennium Centre!

Llais Festival 2023


5. Christmas Light Trail at Bute Park

When: Friday 24th November 2023 – Monday 1st January 2024

Where: Bute Park in Cardiff

Head down to Bute Park this festive season as their award-winning Christmas Light trail, the most popular light trail of its kind outside London returns once again in 2023. Secure your tickets early for this enchanting experience, featuring an extended route with captivating visuals and original audio compositions. Enjoy dynamic choreography and intelligent design amidst awe-inspiring illuminations. Our fully accessible route and delectable street food from local vendors ensure a magical, unforgettable evening. Don't miss the joy of Christmas at Bute Park, where lights and creativity converge in a spectacular display. You can read our review of last year's Christmas Light trail here


Bute Park light trail


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10 Free Castles to explore in South Wales

01/09/2023

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Welsh castle


Did you know that Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere in the world? While some have continuously been lived in for hundreds (in some cases thousands) of years, others are no more than a few overgrown ruins, hidden away off the beaten path, all with their own stories and history, waiting to be discovered. 

So any trip to Wales should include a castle visit and with more than 600 castles there is no shortage of ones to pick from. However, some can be, very valid reasons, and expensive to visit, these are usually ones that offer more facilities, events and are usually the larger, more intact castles. However, if you are visiting South Wales there are quite a few that are completely free to explore and make for a great family day out. 


So I thought I would share 10 of my favourite free Castles and ruins to explore in South Wales.


1. Coity Castle, Bridgend

Coity Castle is an impressive ruin that has recently had a major renovation and is well worth a visit. You can also pair this up with Ogmore Castle which is only about 15 minutes away and also free. Coity started as an earthwork castle in around AD 1100 with the stone keep and curtain being added in the 12 century. Further building works took place in the 15th century after Owain Glyndŵr laid siege to the castle. 

There is plenty of space for a picnic here and a walk through the gate house and moat. There is a small parking area in front of the castle and it's dog-friendly (dogs need to stay on a lead). There are no toilets but you can find these at the nearby McArthur Glen retail park. 


Coity Castle
Coity Castle in Bridgend


2. Ogmore Castle, Bridgend 

Only a short drive from Coity Castle you will find Ogmore Castle, another great free castle to explore and if you plan it right with the tides you can also enjoy crossing a series of ancient stepping stones. Beginning life as an earth and wood castle in the 12th century it was fortified in the early 13th century and lots of the curtain wall and stone fortifications still stand today. The views towards the coastline and across farmland from this castle are lovely and there is space to picnic and for kids to run around. The castle still retains its deep ditch around the inner ward which was designed to fill with sea water at high tide. There is a small amount of free parking next to the castle.

3. Newcastle, Bridgend

Along with Coity and Ogmore, Newcastle is part of a trio of fortresses built to guard against attacks from the Welsh-held West and you can easily visit all three in one day. While Newcastle is probably the smallest in terms of what there is to see and do. The remaining Norman doorway is impressive along with the view across Bridgend from this hillside location and there is a lovely central green space to sit and have a moment of calm. There is a small free car park 1 min walk from the castle. 

4. St Quentin's Castle, Cowbridge

St Quentin's castle is tucked away in a small hamlet a few moment's drive away from the market town of Cowbridge. Whilst not confirmed it's likely this castle was built in the 14th century but English nobleman Gilbert de Clare. Perched above a river the most notable remains is the twin-towered gatehouse and curtain wall. There is also a few more ruins and grassy mound which kids will love to explore. There is a small parking area next to the castle and the castle links up with some local walking paths. 

Old Beaupre Castle
Old Beaupre Castle in Cowbridge


5. Old Beaupre Castle, Cowbridge

One of my favourite historical sites in South Wales but also one that is pretty hard to find due to minimal signage and you have to cross private farmland (via a public right-of-way path) to reach it. While technically not a castle, it's actually a medieval manor, Old Beaupre has an interesting past, being built in two stages with he older part being constructed in the 13th century and then seeing major renovations around the 16th century of which large parts still remain and can be explored including the three-story gatehouse. There is space for 2 cars in a very small layby near a stile you need to go over to cross the farmland.


6. Neath Abbey

While Neath Abbey is not a castle it's still an important historical site and was once the largest abbey in Wales. It's free and deserves to be on this list, especially as there are substantial ruins to explore with virtually the entire layout of the abbey and buildings can still be seen today and is well worth a visit. It's also located right next the Neath canal and towpath for a walk after seeing the Abbey and there is a small parking area next to the Abbey.


Caldicot Castle
Caldicot Castle


7. Caldicot Castle, Monmouthshire

Caldicot Castle is an extensive medieval castle, much of which is still intact and makes for a great castle to explore inside and out. It is however only open during the summer months and offers free parking, a small playpark for kids and 55 acres of countrypark to explore. Inside the castle grounds, I recommend walking up to the top of the castle tower for some fantastic views across the Severn estuary as well as the 12 pounder muzzle-loading cannon in the courtyard. You can check opening times at here.


8 White Castle, Monmouthshire

White Castle, part of the trio called "Three Castles" which includes Skenfrith and Grosmont which are also listed here and are all within short driving (and you can even walk) distance from each other, White Castle is the best preserved and most imposing and like the rest of the castles on this list is completely free to explore. The large outer ward is as big as a football pitch and kids will love to run around here, just remember the picnic. 


White Castle
White Castle 


9. Grosmont Castle 

Like the other two castles in the trio, Grosmont experiences an active life. Starting life around the 13th century by the 15th century it was in the wars again, besieged by the Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr. There are quite a lot of ruins here to explore including the 14th-century chimney in the north block, the hall range and West tower. Parking is a short walk away. 


10. Skenfrith Castle

This medieval fortress with its imposing central tower lies right next to the river Monnow in a beautiful setting. The well-preserved walls surround the circular keep and offer real insight into this low-lying castle that took a role in defending the region against attacks. There is plenty of parking next to the castle and this is a great spot during the summer as you can wade in the river behind the castle (don't go in if it's just rained or the river is high)


Skenfrith Castle
Skenfrith Castle


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Create a Conscious Closet: How to Get Sustainable Shapewear

30/08/2023

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activewear



The world is changing and the reality is that our actions can and do have an impact. We all know we need to do our bit and thankfully there are more eco-friendly choices when it comes to retail and fashion than before, including outdoor and activewear.


We all know that fast fashion has contributed towards some of the pollution we are seeing but the thing is fast fashion is often cheaper and with so many feeling the pinch in the cost of living, it can often be the only choice for many families, but luckily that is changing.


It is really good to see that not only are many fashion brands are focusing on being more sustainable in regards to things like the packaging they use and the materials and manufacturing processes they use but consumers are also changing the way they shop, including buying a lot more second hand than before.


Things like organic white tees have been on the market for years but now you can get pretty much anything with lower carbon footprint, from winter jackets made from plastic bottles to running shoes, joggers and even waist trainer vendors now in the shapewear industry are also following this path.



How to create a conscious activewear closet

If you are looking into ways to be more sustainable and want to contribute to taking care of our planet and still want to feel good when you are out and about, on a hike or just heading to meet friends, then here are some tips.

The first thing you have to do is a little bit of research to see what brands offer sustainable pieces or how you can source the brands you love second-hand. You also may want to look into brand reputation, are they just trying to greenwash or do they actually seem like they want to make fundamental and long-term changes to becoming more sustainable. 

Also look at market leaders, such as Patagonia, who while are on the pricey end there are more budget-friendly companies that are taking a similar approach. Once you have found the right brand to buy from, you need to think about the occasions you are going to wear your pieces. You also need to make sure under what pieces of clothing you are going to wear them.

Another key element is starting to shop second-hand, not only will you find things at a much better prince, often garments are unworn or in mint condition but also it means reusing or rehoming clothing instead of it going to a landfill. 

There are pieces like, for example, a built-in shaper dress, that is sustainable and will also make you look and feel amazing with it on. Perhaps you are simply trying to upgrade your wardrobe slowly and just want a few small pieces such as socks, that are breathable, and long-lasting but also low-impact.


running



Why is it important to choose sustainable activewear?


Choosing sustainable activewear is important because we are at a turning point where we need to do what we can to ensure a future for our children and this planet and even the smallest change can have a ripple effect.


We also need to start taking responsibility for ourselves and how we purchase things, for me personally I have switched to purchasing most items second-hand and upcycling pieces as well as wearing things for a lot longer than before.


Buying pieces that are sustainable will not only create less waste but are much more durable and you won’t need to buy pieces that often.


It goes without saying that when you feel that you won’t wear a piece anymore, don’t throw it away, just gift it to someone in your family or any of your friends or donate it to someone in need. This way you are giving the pieces a second life but also you are giving someone the chance to wear something they couldn’t before. 


*This post contains affiliate links


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How to stay safe while hiking in the UK

09/08/2023

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hiking in the UK

*This post may contain affiliate links.  


There are still many remote places in the UK despite it being quite a populated island. especially in places like Snowdonia, the Scottish highlands, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. I personally have hiked many times with the kids that has been out of reach of mobile service or reception and at those times you need to be aware of how to stay safe on the trail especially if you are hiking with younger members of the family. 

So I thought I would share some key tips and things I do to prepare for a hike especially if I know it's going to be fairly remote. 

1. Plan ahead

It goes without saying that you need to have a rough idea of what the trail will look like before setting out, are there any steep inclines, and what equipment is best suited, also take into account the weather, its better to hold off for a dry day than heading out in torrential rain or heavy wind. 

2. Always tell someone where you are going

Regardless if it's just a day hike or an overnight it's always worth telling somewhere where you are going and roughly how long you're going to be, this means if something does happen and you don't return home at the estimated time that the alarm will be raised and they will have a rough idea of the area you were hiking. 

3. Print or Download a photo of the trail map 

Do keep in mind if you are relying on a mobile phone that they can fail so a physical printed copy is always a good idea to have on you. Being able to orientate yourself and locate where you are is key. 


hiking UK


4. Carry extra water, a portable mobile charger and an emergency foil blanket

These three essentials will come in handy should you get lost on the trail or someone has an accident. Extra water is a must, even hiking in winter will make you thirsty so always take more than you need. A mobile charger is a must if you are relying on your phone for map reading, also people tend to call emergency services when their battery is running low so having a portable mobile charger is a game changer. An emergency foil blanket is really light and packs down super small but can keep you warm in times of need and also helps emergency services to spot you. 

4. Carry at least one extra layer 

Especially if you are hiking up a mountain summit, the temperature at lower levels may be drastically different to that at the summit 

5. Consider investing in a GPS tracker 

If you are regularly hiking in remote areas or areas out of mobile reception, then investing in a GPS tracker could bring a real sense of security to loved ones but also many come with an SOS button which you can press should you require help. You can also get a car tracker so your family would at least know which trail you have parked by.

6. Know your limits

If you realise at any time that the trail is beyond your fitness level or skill set, then there is no shame in turning back, especially if you are starting to feel overwhelmed and disorientated as these are times you are likely going to make a mistake that could've costly. 


While I know the UK doesn't have the expanse of places like Canada or mountain ranges like India but we still have some pretty remote and wild spaces that attract a lot of hikers. I stumbled onto someone on a trail a few years back who had just slipped and broken her ankle, she wasn't wearing suitable shoes or clothing and had taken on a harder route than her skill level so it's really important to adhere to common sense while hiking. 


hiking


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Exploring Milford Haven, West Wales

28/07/2023

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Milford Haven


Milford Haven, a fishing town in Pembrokeshire West Wales is quickly becoming a must-visit destination in Wales, especially with the continually evolving multi-million pound Milford Waterfront Development which has been going from strength to strength in the past few years. creating a haven of boutique shops, independent businesses, watersports cafes and restaurants with beautiful views across the Marina and Eastury. 

My boys and I were recently invited to come and spend a night in Milford Haven and experience everything it has to offer and we were not disappointed. 

The drive from Cardiff to Milford Haven is just under 2hrs and we stayed at the lovely Tŷ Milford Waterfront which opened last year and is right on the marina. On our arrival, there was plenty of parking adjacent to the hotel which is complimentary and walking through the doors you are immediately welcomed by the friendly reception staff. We stayed on the 3rd floor in a family room which was not only spacious but offered incredible views across the bay, in fact, I could have spent hours just sitting on the balcony just soaking it all in. 


Ty Milford Waterfront


But of course, we wanted to make the most of our stay in Milford Haven so as soon as we had settled into our room we headed back out with the aim to explore as much of the local area as possible. The kids were also a little peckish at this point so went in hunt of some gelato because when you're beside the seaside who can say no to some delicious homemade Gelato? Not me! Luckily we didn't have to walk that far before coming across Velluto Gelato on Nelson Quay and it was great to see they make their small batch gelato on-site and the kids gave thumbs up to their pistachio and salted caramel iced delights. 


Gelato Milford Waterfront


We then took a short stroll over to the Milford Beach Activity Centre which offers stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking experiences as well as equipment hire. We had instructed 1.5-hour sessions and the staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgable and allowed my kids and I to go at our own pace exploring the crystal clear water of Milford beach. Paddleboard hire is £15 per hour and an instructed session which is perfect for kids or adults who want to give watersports a try, lasts around 1.5 hours and is £20 per person. 


cocktail


Dulse


We booked an early evening meal at Dulse, the ground-floor restaurant at Tŷ Milford Waterfront which prides itself in serving up the best local ingredients from the Pembrokeshire coast and countryside, which is reflected in their menu. The setting is light and open and welcoming to families plus it has incredible views across the marina and the menu caters for both young and old. I can personally recommend the Lemon, Chickpea and Tomato Quinoa Salad and my eldest thoroughly enjoyed the Dulse Deli Board and Crème Brulée Baked with Pembrokeshire Cream.

After a very good sleep we headed back downstairs to the breakfast, which we couldn't fault, plenty of choice and fresh pastries, you can't go wrong. We had another day to explore and the first thing on our list was visiting the Milford Haven Museum only a few meters away from the hotel and is well worth a visit. The museum is on the smaller side but it's both informative and interactive and both of my kids and I really enjoyed learning more about the history of Milford Haven. A family ticket is £10 and we spent just over an hour at the museum. 


Milford Haven museum


Milford Haven also has an array of walking trails including a few that start from the waterfront itself. We decided to have a walk along the Scotch Bay path and spending time exploring the rock pools on Milford Beach. We also did the heritage trail around the waterfront which is perfect for younger children. 

To finish off our stay we headed to Neyland, a small fishing village by crossing the Cleddau Bridge which offers incredible views of the estuary before taking a slow drive back home. We love West Wales and visit regularly but this was the properly first time exploring  Milford Haven and really enjoyed our time there and will definitely be returning. 


Milford Haven


*Thank you Tŷ Milford Waterfront Hotel for inviting us to explore Milford Haven. Words and opinions 100% my own 


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Go Outdoors Cardiff Grand Opening

25/07/2023

11 comments
Cardiff Go Outdoors

Written in collaboration with Go Outdoors Cardiff


Go Outdoors is without a doubt one of our favourite outdoors stores, we have bought many things from Go Outdoors over the years, including tents, hiking boots, camping accessories and anything and everything you need to really enjoy the outdoors to the full.

The Cardiff store, my local, has recently undergone a full refurbishment and is hosting a Grand opening event on Saturday 29th July with brand ambassadors Gethin Jones and Sean Fletcher hosting the event and cutting the ribbon at 9am. 

The re-opening is perfect timing for those looking to head out on some adventures this summer holidays as they are offering a host of extra discounts and prizes. The first 200 customers through the doors will receive a £20 gift voucher and the following 100 will get a free goody bag worth £25. There is also going to be plenty to do on site for the whole family including face painters and balloon modellers in store. 

The 29,000ft Cardiff store offers an incredible range of clothing, accessories and services for all your outdoor needs including a Bike 365 concession which does bike servicing in-store, the staff are also on hand to help with boot and rucksack fitting along with specialist equipment for equestrian, cycling and angling activities along with their huge range of tents which can be seen set up in their outdoor area. 


On top of the amazing value and summer sale already running at Go Outdoors, the Cardiff store is offering an extra 15% discount from the 25th July - 7th August, so now really is the time to stock up on any camping goods or outdoor pursuits such as cycling, hiking and fishing. I thought I would share my favourite deals they have on at the moment. 


Go outdoors



Go Outdoors Great Summer Offers


I bought one of these 2yrs ago and it's great for quick nights away under canvas and is easy for one person to put up - so for weekend or festival camps for 1 adult and 2 children or 3 adults, it's great. It's fully waterproof and is also kitted out with darkened technology to help provide a better night's sleep, plus at £75 it's a great quality tent at a fantastic price. 



If you are looking to get into stand-up paddle boarding and want a premium setup without forking out hundreds of pounds, the Dagon10ft is a great set-up for both beginners and more advanced paddlers and is suitable for lakes, rivers and small wave sea riding. This pack comes with everything you need to get started and get out on the water this summer. 


When it comes to camping and comfort, self-inflating sleeping mats are where it's at, forget air mattresses (they really are not that comfy), self-inflating mats are a game changer, as well as being light and much quicker to put up than air mats, they are so much more comfortable. This OEX mat carries is perfect for all-year-round camping as it carries a thermal rating suitable for 4 seasons and provides great insulation. 



Camping with kids

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4 Stylish Summer Fashion Clothes to Wear

18/07/2023

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summer style



Summer is the perfect time to embrace fashion and get a little creative in showcasing your style. As the temperatures rise, it's important to stay cool and comfortable while still embracing your individual style.


Whether you're heading to the beach, eating alfresco with friends, or enjoying a casual day out, here are four fashionable summer clothes that are both comfy and will keep you cool but are still on-trend.


Mesh Shorts

Mesh shorts are a stylish and practical choice for summer fashion. These lightweight shorts are made from a breathable mesh fabric that keeps you cool and comfortable on hot days. They come in a variety of vibrant colours and designs, adding a fun and sporty element to your summer outfits.

Mesh shorts are perfect for casual activities like beach days, workouts, or lounging around. Pair them with a basic tank top or a graphic tee for a trendy and effortless look. Whether you're hitting the gym or simply enjoying the summer breeze, mesh shorts are a must-have for your summer wardrobe.



linen clothing




Linen Dresses, dungarees and Shirts

Linen is a go-to fabric for summer due to its breathability and natural texture which is a versatile and stylish choice for all. Opt for flowy maxi dresses or a linen shirt or even dungarees in soft pastel hues or vibrant patterns and pair them with sandals or wedges for a relaxed yet sophisticated look.

If you opt for a linen shirt in soft pastel shades or classic white, pair them with tailored shorts or lightweight chinos for a polished summer ensemble. Linen dresses and shirts exude a sense of laid-back style, making them a perfect choice for any summer occasion.


Flowy Tops and Button-Down Shirts

Flowy tops and button-down shirts are comfortable and fashionable options for both men and women in the summer. Lightweight blouses and shirts, off-shoulder styles in breathable fabrics like cotton or chiffon. Pair them with shorts, skirts, or jeans for a chic and breezy look. Flowy tops and button-down shirts are versatile options that can easily transition from day to night.



sandals



Sandals and Sneakers

Footwear is an essential component of summer fashion, providing comfort and style. Both men and women can opt for sandals or sneakers to complete their summer outfits. 

Embrace sandals or canvas sneakers for a comfortable and cool vibe. Opt for neutral colours or experiment with bold and vibrant hues to add a pop of colour to your ensemble. Sandals and sneakers provide the perfect finishing touch to any summer outfit.


That’s A Wrap

Summer fashion is all about embracing lightweight fabrics, vibrant prints, and comfortable style. 

Remember to embrace your style, experiment with different colours and patterns, and accessorize wisely to make your summer fashion truly stand out. With these fashionable summer clothes, you'll be ready to enjoy the season in style and comfort.


summer style


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5 steps to help improve your overall wellbeing

09/07/2023

10 comments
welsh mountain



We often dream of living a more fulfilling and positive lifestyle, but the pressures and responsibilities of daily life often mean balancing work, parenting and wellbeing is really hard. Many will relate to this problem. We also find there are fewer opportunities to treat ourselves as many indulgences, even small ones like going to the movies or grabbing a drink with friends, seems like a waste of money that could rather be spent on something 'useful'.

However, in this internal struggle, we can forget that our happiness and mental health are paramount. It is necessary to set aside time to look after your needs and you don't need to put a dent in your wallet to do that. There are small and easy steps you can take to improve your overall lifestyle that will help you feel happier and more fulfilled every single day. 

Here are some ideas 

Embrace the outdoors

Humans were not built to spend 24 hours a day indoors, moving their attention from one screen to another. We need to spend time outdoors, surrounded by nature. It is known that lack of sunlight and outdoor exposure can lead to medical problems such as Vitamin D deficiency. However, the innate need for being amid nature goes much deeper than this, and if you want to enhance your lifestyle, it is necessary to embrace the outdoors.

Spending too much time inside can impact one's mental health, therefore, try time outdoors every day, even if it's just 20mins. You can take up a sport or join your local rambling club. You can even plan activities with your friends and family, like picnics and hikes.


forest walks



Make small upgrades to your home on a minimal budget 

There are quick and easy home upgrades you can carry out on a tiny budget, such as freshening up a room with a lick of paint, decluttering a space, planting some flowers in your garden or outdoor space or a shower replacement to enhance your bathing experience. Think about small changes you can make to your home that will help you improve your daily life. 



painting



Set a self-care budget

Saving money is important, especially in this dwindling economy. However, you cannot keep ignoring your own needs and it is essential to maintain some sort of balance. So setting a self-care budget can be really useful, even if it's just £5 a week to go to your local yoga class or social group. 

By paying attention to your needs can also help with stopping negative feelings and thoughts from taking root in your mind. Additionally, listening to your desires will prevent them from becoming unhealthy obsessions. Remember, moderation and balance are the key elements to self-care. By caring for yourself and your wants will help improve your overall life. 

Explore your interests

When life gets busy many of us give up on things that we love or struggle to find time for the things that bring us joy and this can have a negative effect on our well-being. If you want to enhance your lifestyle, it is necessary to step back and think about your interests and how you can make more time for them.

It may be a passing hobby, or it may be a suppressed passion. Either way, you owe it to yourself to explore and find out what gives you joy. It doesn't matter what stage you are at in life. What matters is where you want to go. It is never too late to change course and build a life and lifestyle that you love. However, to start, you must look within and find your interests and passions. 


skateboarding



Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to the act of being mindful, present, and attentive. Mastering mindfulness is a surefire way to enhance your overall wellbeing. Those who practice mindfulness find they can stay in the present and have better control of their emotions and thoughts, which can also help. you to evade negativity and stress.

Everyone has had their share of bad experiences. From childhood trauma to toxic friendships, we all have inner demons that we battle daily. Mindfulness teaches a person how to navigate and fight through these battles and learn how to create a positive mindset.

While mindfulness is a psychological tool taught to patients in therapy, it is also widely popular among yoga practitioners. Most yoga instructors centralize their beginner-level classes on mindfulness and positive thinking. 


Enhancing your overall well-being is not a fixed-step process that can be fit into a guidebook. While the above tips will help create a better lifestyle, the changes they bring may not meet your needs. To improve your life, it is important to assess your needs and find out what you want. Once you have that figured out, start by making small, meaningful changes in your life, and over time, you will find yourself living the life you've always dreamed of.
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Five Features That Make Your Home Sing

08/07/2023

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Home lifestyle



When you want to make your home stand out, whether for your own pride or because you’re trying to sell up there are lots of options. You can add features that are unusual or futuristic, or choose a timeless addition that adds to the value of your home.

Let’s consider five features that make your home sing and make visitors gasp in amazement.

Modern Fireplace and log burners

Fireplaces are still popular features in our homes and a fantastic array of modern and traditional designs are available. Despite most homes having central heating a fireplace still represents a focal point in a living space.

Standalone wood burners are also popular and can be enhanced by a purpose-built alcove to hold logs. Models that rotate allow the benefit of the warmth as well as the view of the fire to be enjoyed wherever you are in an open-plan room.



log burner



Impressive Front Door

Your front door is what visitors to your home will first encounter so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce a feature that will impress.


An extra wide or double door at the entrance to your property will exude opulence and luxury. Sidelights that flood your entryway with natural light will add to the appeal. The new front door cost will depend not just on size but also on the style and material of the door.


front door



Clever Lighting

Putting thought into your lighting scheme will reward you with a feature that makes your home sing. Lighting is one of the crucial factors in creating the ambience that you want in your home.


Adding smart technology to your lighting can seriously up the wow factor of your property allowing you to control the lights from your phone or tablet. You can alter the look and aesthetic of your home simply by changing the lighting without needing to decorate.



lamp





Unconventional Radiators

Using unconventional radiators can set your home apart from the ordinary. There are a myriad of designs and styles available which will let you create something unique for your home. Glass effect radiators that resemble mirrors or vertical radiators that could be mistaken for paintings will certainly be talking points in your home. Other designs resemble sculptures or wall hangings or just really cool industrial-style radiators.


radiator




Amazing Outdoor Space

Your outdoor space has the same potential as the interior of your home to make a significant impression on visitors or potential buyers. Adapt your design to the size and location of your outside area, whether that’s a small city balcony or a large rural garden.


Create an oasis of calm with a stylish seating area, complete with a water feature for the ultimate tranquillity surrounded by beautiful plants and shrubbery. Add some ambient lighting and perhaps even a fire pit to warm chilly autumn evenings in the garden.



garden



Whether it’s a modern fireplace, an impressive front door, clever lighting, unconventional radiators or an amazing outdoor space any one of these features will make your home sing and the envy of your neighbours.

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Tastecard Review - it really does save you money

22/06/2023

14 comments

french food

This is a sponsored post



If you are a bit of a foodie or family who wants to make savings when out and about or simply on the ball when it comes to getting a good deal, then you may have already heard of tastecard, a discount card that has been going for 17yrs and offers deals like 2 for 1, 50% off and 25% off an array of local and chain restaurants and cafes.

As everyone is feeling the pinch from the cost of living crisis, many of us are not eating out as much and socialising less, tastecard could be a handy way to make those treats a little bit more affordable, especially as they have expanded beyond just restaurants and now offer more savings than ever.

So what savings can you expect?

*Dining Discounts - 2 for 1, 50% food & 25% off food and drink Sun-Thurs

* 50% off pizza delivery from places like Pizza Hut and Domino's 7 days a week

* 25% off Barista-made drinks 7 days a week from places like Caffe Nero

* Cinema discounts

* Days out and members' perks

For me, a big draw is the 25% off barista-made coffee, which can be used daily and quite a few coffee shops in and around Cardiff offer this deal, including Caffe Nero and independent coffee shops. If you are someone who buys takeaway coffee regularly then you will quickly see the savings add up.

How do you use the card?

The easiest way is to download their app which will have your digital card ready to use once you have signed up. The app also shows you all the local places that accept tastecard and what they offer in terms of discounts, as each establishment will be different. Some places will also require that you book in advance, although not all and some will have restrictions on when you can use the card.

takeaway coffee



What is my experience of using the tastecard?

So far I have used tastecard to purchase barista coffee, the process was easy and saved me around £1 per takeaway coffee and with tastecard costing less than £2.50 per month you can see how quickly it starts to save you money.

But having coffee didn't feel like enough and wanted to put some Cardiff restaurant deals to the test! Me and my boys visited one of our favourite places in Cardiff City Centre that happens to be a part of the tastecard offering and that is Geek Retreat in the arcades. They offer 25% off the whole bill with up to 6 people dining at one time.

While Geek Retreat isn't fine dining like some of the options, it's a great place for families to sit down, enjoy some board games and have a bite to eat, including burgers and hot dogs and in our case delicious halloumi fries, wedges and garlic roll.

The card was easy to use, as with all of my experiences so far and all I had to do was show them the digital card via my app while ordering.

Geek Retreat



How much does the tastecard cost?

Yearly membership is currently £29.99*, which equates to less than £2.50 a month and as you can see it's very easy to quickly make that back in savings. Membership gives you discounts to 1000's of UK restaurants, pizza delivery, cinema and coffee. You also have instant access with the app.

The good news is that you can trial the tastecard first for £1 for the first 30 days and can cancel at any time. The trial gives you exactly the same discounts as the full yearly card.

Overall I have been really impressed with the card so far and the app is easy and straightforward to use. I like the variety it offers and that it includes extra perks like additional savings on activities and days out. It's well worth giving it a go especially as they offer such a fantastic trial for £1.



*Pricing correct at time of posting, subject to change
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How to spend 24hrs in Nottingham

22/05/2023

12 comments
Nottingham castle


Over the past few years, my children and I have developed a love for tabletop role-playing games, model-building and boardgames. Initially, it started with a few Pokemon cards and Airfix models and has since developed into my kitchen table being taken over with Warhammer miniatures, Citadel paints and Codex books (play manuals). Like all parents, I try to support my children's interests and hobbies as much as possible, which recently lead us to Nottingham, not only the home of Robin Hood but also Warhammer World.

That's the thing with these types of games, one leads to another and as we started learning more about the RPG community in the UK and quickly we put a visit to Warhammer World in Nottingham on our bucket list and decided to head up there for my son's birthday, in what felt like our first RPG pilgrimage. Of course, like all our travels, we wanted to get the most out of our time in Nottingham and see as much of the city as possible, so here is what we got up to in our 24hrs in Nottingham, on a budget of course.

We had debated driving up but managed to find cheap tickets from Chepstow to Nottingham, with an extra discount using our family travel rail card, as well as there being free park and ride. Our train ride up from Chepstow was fairly stress-free, although not as comfortable as hoped as Cross Country Rial uses very old stock on this line, with minimal leg room and take a portable battery charger as there are no plugs, but other than that the 3hr journey was seamless. 


Nottingham
Standing next to the Robin Hood Statue



Our feet hit the ground running as soon as we arrived into Nottingham and leaving the train station we headed straight to the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, one of the oldest pubs in the UK and built into the side of stone caves with a fascinating and rather wonky interior. This unique public house deserved a quick stop for cold refreshments after our train trip. The pub is conveniently located at the bottom of Castle Rd and while sadly Nottingham Castle is currently closed it's still worth walking up to the castle to not only take in some lovely views but also to pay a visit to Robin Hood and Friar Tuck and Little John's statues.

After a brief walk up to the castle & statues we headed to the Kitty Cafe which we had rebooked and was our first visit to a "cat cafe" and something both the kids and I were very excited about. Sadly the food wasn't much to write home about although who really goes to a Cat cafe for food? We really enjoyed the experience though of being surrounded by such lovely cats, all of which are available to be rehomed. As the cafe is a charity and rescue centre you need to pay a welfare charge for your booking on top of food purchases, it came to £17 for the 3 of us and that secures a 1hr slot but it is a unique experience.


Kitty Cafe Nottingham

 

After our time with all the gorgeous cats was over we headed to the Old Market Square for a quick stroll before heading to our hotel. The square is actually the largest public space after London's Trafalgar Square and has some cool fountains and statues. 

We booked a family room for 1 night at Premier Inn Goldsmith Street for just under £50 which was a great deal, especially as the hotel is within easy walking distance of the city and well connected with a tram line right outside the hotel. Once checked in we finally had some downtime after what was a busy start to the day, in the early evening we decided to head back out into town and grab a bite to eat for supper before having an early evening as we had another action-packed day ahead. 

We always sleep well in a Premier Inn and after a very filling breakfast (who doesn't love a Premier Inn Breakfast) and checking out, we walked over to Nottingham Arboretum, a beautiful Victorian park with a pond, rose garden and Chinese bell tower only a 2 min walk from the hotel and a nice place to run off the excess energy before heading to the piste de resistance that was Warhammer World. Once we had filled our lungs with fresh air we jumped onto the Toton Lane Tram and headed straight to Warhammer, jumping off at Gregory Street station only a few mins walk from WW. 


Nottingham
Nottingham Arboretum


The majority of Warhammer World is completely free to enter and explore, it's only the special exhibition floors that you need a ticket for, but I highly recommend it, especially as you can revisit the exhibition as much as you want in one day and the prices are very reasonable with children under 11 free, 12-17yrs £5 and adults £7.5

As I said though there is plenty on show that is completely free of charge and right from the start excitement was high as the kids posed with the huge Ultramarine Rhino vehicles at the entrance of Warhammer World. As soon as you step inside you are faced with the Giant Nurgling and Lurtz Statue before heading upstairs to the huge Warhammer stores and workshop spaces where you can paint a free miniature. Of course you also need to stop by Bugman's Bar for some middle earth inspired food and see the Witch-King sword hanging up.


Warhammer World


As we are not sure when we will get the chance to visit again, we, of course, visited the ticketed exhibition space and it did not disappoint, with thousands of miniatures and impressive worlds created and on display, it's a feast for the eyes.

I would say you need at least 3hrs in Warhammer World, if not more, to really appreciate everything on offer and the staff are always on hand to help answer any questions. It's also very family-friendly and children are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions and paint their own miniature to take away.

We spent around 4hrs here and had planned to spend another 2 but while sitting down and eating I thought I would double check our train times, only to see that the train we had reservations on had been cancelled and so after another quick browse in the shop and picking up one or two things to add to our Warhammer collection at home, we had to race back to the tram and head to the train station to try and find another way back home. 3 trains later and we finally managed to get back to Chepstow, had I not checked our times we would have been stranded, so grateful that we still packed everything we wanted to into the day.

 
Warhammer World


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