2019 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 19 December 2019

HOME // Is Your Home Ready To Come Back To Life?

It's all too common for a lot of us to start to feel bored with our homes after a while. Sure, when you first move in it's all very exciting and new, but over time familiarity sets in - and familiarity breeds contempt. A lot of us end up not really even seeing our homes anymore; it all just fades into the background where we don't even notice it. A lot of people assume that the only real option is to move somewhere new but in actual fact there are plenty of other, not quite so drastic, options! The easiest is  to try and bring your home back to life. With that in mind, here are some things that you might want to focus on if you're trying to give your home a facelift.

Colour is one of those things that a lot of people tend to avoid when it comes to their homes. After all, using color wrong can make a room feel garish and ugly. Because of this people tend to just stick to a trade white or magnolia. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with this but it only really works if you're able to add splashes of color on top of it with decorations. Don't be afraid to embrace bright colours, it can add a whole new feeling of life and excitement to your home.

The unappreciated spaces 
Lots of people to only really focus on the more obvious spaces in their homes like the living room and the bedroom. But what about those often neglected spaces like the bathroom? If you don't give them a little extra love then they're going to drag down the whole feel of your home. Switching things up in your bathroom with plants and new fixtures and fittings can help it feel brighter and more vibrant. The same goes for places like your office and your kitchen. Just because they're not the spaces you immediately think of when decorating doesn't mean that you can't do more with them.

The backyard 
The ultimate neglected space in a lot of people's homes is the backyard. People tend to avoid thinking about it because keeping it looking nice often takes a lot of work that they aren't willing to put in. Most of the time, a decent amount of work at the start can make your life a whole lot easier, like setting up a flat space for planting or reinforcing your fences with concrete gravel boards. However, the truth is that it actually takes a lot less work to keep a garden looking nice as long as you stay on top of it. Dealing with an overgrown garden can be a lot of work, but keeping your lawn trim and pulling up the occasional weed really isn't going to be that much of a task.

There are plenty of other things that you can do that will help your home become a whole lot more exciting - you could even an extension to your home or convert entire spaces into something else if you have the budget! However, it's always a good idea to try the simpler, cheaper options first; that way you can save yourself a lot of time and money while still being sure to bring your home back to life.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

A traditional Christmas v. an untraditional one

When we think of a traditional Christmas, our thoughts often turn to a Dickensian-esque Christmas with snow on the ground, roaring fires, 6ft trees, parlour games and the classic Christmas feast. Whilst the idea of a good old-fashioned Christmas appeals to many, some are forging new paths and are happily enjoying unconventional Christmases. So, what exactly do traditional and untraditional Christmases look like?

Christmas decorations 
A traditional Christmas will invariably involve a real tree - normally a fir or spruce. As well as being more environmentally friendly than an artificial tree, you can’t beat that evocative smell. It instantly makes any home feel more Christmassy - in a traditional way of course!

Untraditional Christmases tend to shy away from the classic colours associated with Christmas, like reds, gold and greens and instead opt for brighter colours. They tend to do away with a green tree in favour of black, white and even neon pink. Alternative Christmas decorations are about fun and frivolity.

Church services 
Traditionally Christmas Eve nights or Christmas Day mornings are spent at church singing Christmas hymns, listening to sermons and wishing goodwill to our fellow men. However, towards the end of the 20th century and into the 21st there was definite decline in the numbers attending church services, perhaps in favour of spending Christmas Eve at the pub and Christmas Day in pjs!

But, in recent years the church has seen a resurgence in Christmas attendance. This suggests people are finding comfort in a traditional Christmas service over an alternative Christmas spent solely at home.

Christmas dinners 
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings, right? Well one in twelve people are now enjoying an entirely vegan or vegetarian Christmas Day. They are bucking the traditional trend of turkey, pigs in blankets and stuffing, in favour of nut roasts, cauliflower steaks, and “butternut squash’age” rolls Even brussels sprouts are being given a wide birth in favour of honeyed carrots.

Others are going one step further and deciding not to cook at all on Christmas Day and are opting for ready meals and takeaways instead - and why not, Christmas is about creating your own traditions and not subscribing to what others do.

Whether you prefer a traditional Christmas to an untraditional one or vice versa, Christmas costs money - an average of £800 per household. You might need to spread the cost of Christmas or you might need to think of ways you can make savings. But Christmas is about more than decorations, presents and snow on the ground - it’s about spending time with loved ones. And that’s free!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Tips on How To Declutter Your Home

Decluttering your home is something that not everyone likes the idea of doing, but it needs doing regardless. There's no denying I'm a maximalist, but even I appreciate having a clear out every once in a while - especially in the run up to Christmas, when you know lots of new 'stuff' is going to creep in. Keeping on top of your clutter means you have to do it fewer times each year, so here are a few tips on how to declutter your home efficiently.

Do It As A Household 
Having to do a declutter on your own can be pretty demoralising when you have no one around to help motivate you. When you've got a household to get involved, you can assign certain tasks to different people, and doing it together will make it more doable. It also helps your children or partner understand they need to keep on top of all the things that are brought into the house and to have a respect for their surroundings.

Consider Your Feelings 
When you’re trying to get rid of something, it can often be hard when you’ve got an emotional attachment to it. I'm the worst for keeping things like old train tickets and tickets to shows and museums. It’s a good idea to separate your feelings when going through the clutter and figuring out whether something is worth holding onto or not. If you’re questioning it, then it’s probably because you need to throw it out. Always think with your head and not so much your heart when you’re trying to do a clear out.

Organise A Waste Removal 
A waste removal is helpful when trying to do a large house clearance, otherwise you'll go through a lot of hassle to get rid of all the rubbish yourself. When doing a declutter, you are likely to get through more than a few bin bags, so it’s worth organising a collection ahead of time. That way, it will spur you on to actually get the job done and then the bags of recycling won't just be sitting around gathering dust or getting in the way. (Make sure you use a reputable company that you know will dispose of your rubbish properly).

Create A Sorting System 
When it comes to the process, try to create a system that works for you and your household. Take it room by room or assign rooms to different people depending on who uses them. For children, try to create donation piles from their old toys and clothes. Encourage them to give and say that they’d be giving to those who are less fortunate and haven’t got toys or clothes like theirs. Children can be so giving if you say the right things!

Decluttering may take a little time, but once it’s done, it’ll make all the difference to the look and feel of your home as a whole. Find a system that works, involve the whole household, and be brutal.

Monday, 2 December 2019

TRAVEL // Visiting Battle, East Sussex

Battle is a small town in East Sussex which has emerged as a popular holiday location for those seeking a peaceful retreat in a warm, welcoming and historic market town. The area is well known for being the site of the famous Battle of Hastings. It now boasts an array of diverse attractions, including different pubs, galleries, historic locations and restaurants. All in all, it is an ideal location for those who want the perfect balance between a relaxing break and the lively and jovial spirit which charming and quaint market towns, such as this one, possess.

If you're considering visiting Battle then there are some attractions that you simply can't miss. Battle Abbey should certainly be the first one on your list. This is truly a memorable day out that you will never forget. You and your family can explore the abbey ruins and explore the battlefield and with regards to prices, adults pay £7.50 and children between the age of five years old and 15 years old pay £14.50. There is also a family pass option available (two adult tickets and three child tickets) which will cost you £19.50. It is worth noting that during the winter period this attraction is only open on a Saturday and a Sunday. In addition to this, two other places which are certainly worth a visit are the Bodiam Castle and Great Dixter.

As you can see, Battle has a lot to offer, and another thing that it is well renowned for is its array of big holiday cottages. There are some fantastic cottages in gorgeous settings available in the area and the neighbouring locations, which you can opt to reside in for the duration of your stay. These are located in some stunning and beautiful areas, which boast the most breath-taking scenic views. There's also a lot of outdoor activities going on, including horse riding. Make sure you check out Jodhpurs to get the right clothing for your adventure.

Cute cottages really are in keeping with the vibe and atmosphere of this pretty market town. If you like to be at one with nature, in a tranquil environment, snuggle up in a warm and cosy cottage and really get that true holiday experience, then a cottage really is only one type of accommodation that will provide this for you for the duration of your stay in Battle.

If you are looking for somewhere for you and your family to go to for your next holiday, or even just for a weekend away, then definitely look into the prospect of visiting Battle.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Three Rooms You Can Update Without Breaking The Bank

When you want to complete updates to your home but are stuck to a tight budget it can be very frustrating. You may think that you’re unable to transform a home on a budget but you would be surprised how much you can actually get done with even a small amount of funds. Changing even the smallest of things in your home could change the way it feels and looks, even if it is just giving it a deep clean.

If you’re on a tight budget but still want to make a difference to your home, have a look these four rooms that you can update without the need to break the bank:

Your Bathroom 
Most people will presume that it’s going to cost a fortune to update your bathroom, this is because they automatically assume that it means that it needs to be replaced. This isn’t the case. It’s very easy to update your bathroom on a budget by doing things such as:

  • Re-grouting 
  • Deep cleaning 
  • Adding new lighting 
  • Changing the washers in taps 
  • Adding decals to your tiles 
  • Changing the toilet seat 
  • Replacing any broken tiles 
  • Removing limescale from the showerhead and screen such as those found at https://www.ergonomicdesigns.co.uk/bath-accessories/bath-shower-screens.html 
  • Change the fixture and fittings 
  • Add a feature mirror 
  • Add new under sink storage 
  • Add new accessories 

Your Kitchen 
Much like with the bathroom, people assume that updating your kitchen means that you need to completely replace it, again this isn’t the case. It is more than possible to update your kitchen on a budget, some of the things you could do include:

  • Replacing the worktops 
  • Replacing broken tiles 
  • Regrouting 
  • Adding a new backsplash 
  • Upgrade your appliances 
  • Have new accessories 
  • Change the handles on the cupboards 
  • Paint the cupboard doors or replace them 

Your Bedroom 
A room that often gets neglected when it comes to updates is the master bedroom. This is because people tend to put the kid’s rooms, guest rooms and rooms that are visible to the guests first. Your bedroom should be a place that you can retreat to at the end of the day to relax. Some easy low-cost improvements you could make include:

  • Deep cleaning the carpets 
  • Cleaning or replacing the mattress 
  • Adding in some house plants 
  • Updating your bedding 
  • Adding a throw 
  • Adding some throw pillows 
  • Bedside rugs 

Not only will these small improvements make a difference to how your home feels it can also add value to your home, especially in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and master also bedroom. These are areas that make it to the top of the list for most potential buyers so making improvements in these areas has more than just one benefit.

These are just three of the main areas in your home, you can of course still improve the rest of your home on a budget too. Why not try using some of these tips in other places such as your living room too. Do you have any other tips that you’ve tried that you can share in the comments section?

Holidaying in Portugal with Children

Portugal is a beautiful country with beautiful sightseeing locations and plenty of activities to take part in. It's also a really family-friendly country thanks to the culture and the wonderful locals.

The weather in Portugal is mild throughout the year, so there are no restrictions on which days you should visit and which ones you should not. Cities like Lisbon have beautiful streets with various trams whose primary purpose is to transport people from one location to another. It is so far one of the main reasons why people love visiting Portugal. 

What makes Portugal so special? 
Despite having a complex history, Portugal has grown to be one of the most admired countries on the planet. It boasts beautiful and colourful streets, impressive landscapes, spectacular beaches with turquoise waters, and mouthwatering cuisines. This European country also has opulent castles such as Palácio da Pena and Palácio Nacional de Sintra, which has the UNESCO world heritage status. As you walk through the cobbled streets, you will come across various restaurants that offer delicacies such as salted code, the national meal of Portugal.

The local’s slogan ‘No one is foreign’ makes you feel safe as you travel the country and make your way to some of the fancy hotels like Four Seasons Vilamoura. It is the place where you will find the Cascais, a picturesque town nicknamed the town of Kings and fishes. It is one place that gives you a different perspective of Portugal due to its architectural structures and impressive sceneries. Those are only a few of the many things that make Portugal a special country.

Advice for parents 
If you are a parent planning to visit Portugal, you need to make sure you prepare yourself adequately. The fact that you have kids requires you to be vigilant. Start by coming up with a list of places you plan to visit and, if possible, indicate the dates too.

It is also a good idea to learn a few phrases in Portuguese, enough o get around and have a basic conversation with a locals. Phrases such as Obrigado for “thank you”, Prazer em conhecê-lo for “nice to meet you” and Com licença for “excuse me”. A convenient (and cheap!) way to pick up a few terms is by using language apps, for example you can easily learn Portuguese online with platforms like Babbel.

You also need to know what to pack, depending on the weather in Portugal. You don’t want to travel with heavy clothes only to find out that the weather in the country is too hot for that.

Lastly, book your hotels early and call to confirm. You don’t want to get stranded in a foreign country with your young ones.

Where to go and what to do with children in tow 
There are plenty of fantastic recreational activities for you and your children to take part in. You can take a walk to the beach and see locals having a wonderful time soaking in the sun. If your kids are little, you should head over to Martinhal Quinta family resort or the shack, where there is a manmade beach that is not only clean but perfect for little kids.

You can also go sightseeing on the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which gives you the best view of Lisbon from a different angle. You can travel to Baroque Convento dos Cardaes where nuns make jam with a secret recipe and supply it throughout the world. It is quite a great place to take your kids since they are going to learn a lot about jam making. Finish off at the Timeout market where you are going to enjoy remarkable Portugal gastronomy at low prices.

Portugal has so much to offer in terms of locations and activities. It is a dream destination for every parent with kids. Have you ever been to Portugal, if so, do you have any advice to spare?

Written in collaboration with Emily Jones.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

How To Survive A Caravan Holiday With Children

The idea of travelling with children is certainly daunting, but the rewards are more than worth it. Travel is the perfect opportunity for your younger ones to explore the world and make lasting memories. Experiencing new places will also open small minds and inspire adventure and curiosity in them. Although Airbnb and similar platforms have revolutionised the travel world, caravan holidays are still popular among families. Unfortunately, taking a trip like this can often be stressful too. With that in mind, here are sixteen ways to survive a caravan holiday with children.

1. Buy The Right Caravan 
Unless you already own a caravan, the first thing you need to do is buy one. While this might seem like a simple process, there are countless caravans to choose from, all with unique benefits and drawbacks. You must make sure that whatever caravan you pick meets your requirements. A two-berth caravan would work well for couples, but families need a much larger model. If you require even more living space than provided, you can always add an awning.

2. Stay Close To Home 
An ideal caravan site will depend on what you want from your holiday. All caravan sites vary in both size and the facilities available. Almost all offer electrical hookups and Wi-Fi, but you will come across some that don’t. Before picking your caravan site, you will first have to choose a location. While it’s tempting to travel far away, you should consider staying close to home for your first trip. Driving any more than a couple of hundred miles could frustrate the children, after all.

3. Book That Pitch Early 
Once you’ve chosen your caravan site, make sure you book a pitch fairly early. During the summer, reservations at most caravan sites will fill up fast. Unless you’re prepared, you could be left without a place to stay when you need it. Many modern caravan sites allow you to make reservations online, but you might have to call up instead. Regardless, make sure that you do this at least one month before going away, so you have time to find another site if you need to.

4. Have A Route Planned 
When driving to somewhere you’ve never visited before, you’ll likely use a satnav. Although this tool can be incredibly helpful, you shouldn’t rely on it too heavily. After all, the satnav won’t automatically know if there are certain attractions you want to pass or service stations you want to stop at. Because of this, you must think ahead and plan a route before heading off. Make sure that you program this into the satnav, as well as mark it down on a map you carry in the car.

5. Plan Your Trip Together 
Regardless of their age, most children hate being told what to do. That is why it helps to plan holidays together. There are many ways to get little ones involved, such as having them suggest things to do and places to eat. They could even pick certain facilities they want the caravan site to have. If a swimming pool or crazy golf course were non-negotiable, then a location like Fir View Caravan Park Welshpool would work. Having control over the trip will give the kids less to complain about.

6. Research Any Driving Restrictions 
Any driver should know any restrictions that typically apply to them. However, if you’ve never towed a caravan before, you might not be aware of their restrictions too. Speed limits for caravans are different than cars on some UK roads. On a dual carriageway, where the National Speed Limit is usually 70mph, for example, the speed limit is 60mph when towing a caravan. Unless you know the law, you could get in serious legal trouble before your holiday even begins.

7. Pack All Bags Yourself 
Planning a family holiday definitely isn’t the most straightforward endeavour. With so much to do and very little time to get it done, no one would blame you for delegating certain travel tasks. That being said, there are a few you should complete yourself. Although your children might want to do it, you shouldn’t let them pack their own bags. This will likely cause more work for yourself in the long run. Instead, ask them to write a list of anything they want to bring on holiday with them.

8. Kit Out The Caravan 
Going away in a caravan is a truly unique experience. As well as packing typical holiday essentials, you must remember everything you need to make the caravan a home away from home. Most modern caravans have smart storage solutions, so you have plenty of space for extra things. Kitchen equipment, food, drinks, bedsheets, and toiletries are just a few things that you’ll need while you’re away. Just remember to put everything away securely before setting off.

9. Take Lots Of Entertainment 
While not a traditional holiday essential, you must pack plenty of entertainment for your trip. This is especially important if you plan on driving hundreds of miles to your campsite. Young people get cranky very quickly, especially when they’re bored. Having board games, books, and small toys should keep them occupied. Unless you have a television in the caravan, make sure you pack a laptop too. This means that you can watch a movie as a family during any downtime.

10. Establish Some Holiday Rules 
A holiday doesn’t mean that all rules should fly out the window. In fact, you must create a few new ones. A caravan is much easier to leave than a hotel, and there are many more dangers lurking about. For this reason, your children should understand that they aren’t allowed to wander off by themselves. Make sure they also know when to be quiet and what happens if they break a rule. Having these rules will keep your children safe and avoid disturbing any other travellers.

11. Bring First Aid Supplies 
Even a long list of restrictions won’t always keep your children from getting hurt. Young people are curious and clumsy creatures who are prone to having accidents. While you can educate your kids on potential dangers, you must also prepare for the unexpected to happen. Carrying a first aid kit will allow you to treat your little one until you can find professional medical help. Make sure that this kit is stocked with items like bandages, plasters, antiseptic cream, and wipes.

12. Think About Family Meals 
A huge benefit of caravan holidays is the kitchen. Having access to a full working kitchen means that you can prepare meals for your family every night. While you might choose to eat out now and then, cooking yourself will cut costs significantly. For this reason, you should make a meal plan before going away. Doing so will allow you to prepare for those meals. You could either take the ingredients you need with you from home or cook and freeze entire meals to heat up later.

13. Carry Out Safety Checks 
Before departing on your first caravan holiday, you must carry out basic safety checks. Make sure that a well-stocked first aid kit is kept on board, along with fire extinguishers and fire blankets. You should also check the requirements of the caravan relating to your car’s tow ball. The registration number of the vehicle should also be displayed at the rear of the caravan. Most people need to inform their car insurance provider that they want to tow a caravan too.

14. Try A Practice Run 
Towing a caravan for the first time can be a difficult experience. There are many driving changes you will have to make. Ensure that you take corners more widely than usual to keep the caravan from clipping the kerb. You must also give yourself a little extra time when braking and remember that accelerating will take longer. Before driving a long journey, you should drive your caravan around locally. Taking a practice run like this will settle any nerves and put your mind at ease.

15. Stick To Usual Routines 
Routines make children feel happy and secure. As tempting as it might be to throw any usual routines out the window, you should do your best to stick to them. Try to wake up around the same time, eat meals at the same time, and head to bed at the same time. This should keep any hungry and overtired children from having a meltdown. When planning your itinerary, make sure that any activities don’t conflict with what your children expect to be happening.

16. Give Yourself Extra Days 
A holiday is supposed to be a chance to relax and refresh. However, with children in tow, there is much more planning involved. That is why you should give yourself an extra day before and after your break away. The day before will allow you to make any last-minute preparations, while the day after is for unwinding. If you head straight to work once you come home, you’ll find it difficult to get back into the swing of things and might feel burnt out.

Caravan holidays are popular among families but can be stressful at times. Hopefully, with the tips above, you will have a more enjoyable break away.

Things That Go Bump In The Night: What Those Noises Really Are

It’s never nice being woken up, especially if you were in a lovely deep sleep. But for one reason or another, you could be woken up to many sounds within your home, especially if it's an old one like mine is. Our homes are built with a combination of glass, wood, brick and concrete so it’s understandable that things are going to be going “bump” in the night every now and again. Sometimes you may even hear strange noises throughout the day. With that in mind, here are what some of them could be.

Any knocking or clunking of pipes? 
Many homes will struggle with the sounds of knocking and clunking of pipes. It may sound unusual and strange, but it’s common during the winter and fall. These sounds tend to occur because of the added pressure some of your pipework might be facing, especially if they are exposed. There are many reasons for this, but mostly it could be down to the freezing and expansion of those pipes. Make sure you check them over to ensure there are no imminent leaks. This is when you may want to get a plumber to ensure all is working as it should be. A great tip is to cover any exposed pipework with a foam layer during the colder months. This prevents them reaching that freezing temperature that will cause this problem in the first place.

Scratching in the walls 
Scratching in the walls or around your home can be one of the most annoying sounds. Often this is because it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where that scratching is coming from. However, scratching is one of those things that can be a serious problem if not resolved. This is because what you are likely to be hearing is a rodent scratching, and eating, turning your insulation into their home. If you suspect you have an issue, it will be worth seeking help from the rat control to ensure you deal with the situation as quickly as possible. Before it gets out of hand.

Gurgles and bubbles 
Bubbling and gurgles in the pipework could be quite a serious problem. This could be down to something being wrong with your heating system or boiler. Many people think things like this are intermittent, but it may be a serious problem that could need a plumber to help you resolve. It can be the type of sound that won’t be easy to identify, so it could end up driving you a little crazy. If in doubt always call someone in to help investigate further.

Whistling throughout the day and night 
Can you hear some strange whistling? The likelihood is it isn’t some friendly ghost, and it’s an unhappy boiler or furnace. This is down to something causing an inhibiting airflow. Another suggestion could be something to do with drafts. The whistling could be down to gaps or issues with your windows or doors. Maybe even problems within your foundations or walls. If there is any sign of a draft try and identify as quickly as possible where it could be coming from. Make sure all windows are sealed tightly.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Spoiling The Mum-To-Be In Your Life

With a new baby on the way, life can feel overwhelming for a mum-to-be. It’s a lot of work being pregnant, which is why a bit of spoiling can be good to lift her spirits and ease what can be a stressful time.

If there’s a mum-to-be in your life who could do with some TLC, why not plan something special for her? Here are some simple suggestions for ways you can spoil your mum-to-be and make her feel great.

Book a spa day 
All expectant mothers need to relax - stress isn’t good for the baby! So what better way to help her relax than a spa day? A spa day can be the perfect way for you to catch up with your friend before her life gets a little bit busier, and it will help her enjoy doing something for herself before the baby comes. Make sure you check which spa treatments are best for pregnant women before you book so that you know your friend is going to have the best time.

Go see a show 
A night on the town might be out of the question for your mum-to-be, but a night at the theatre doesn’t have to be! Going to see a play or musical can be a wonderful way to have fun together, as well as being a great excuse to get dressed up and glam for the evening. Take a look at what’s on at your local theatre and get ready for a night you will both enjoy. If you really want to make a night of it, you could book an overnight stay too!

Throw her a baby shower 
Baby showers are becoming more common in the UK. It’s a good way for mums-to-be to catch up with friends and family before they have the baby, as well as a fun way to begin welcoming the baby into your lives. There are all kinds of baby shower ideas to help you plan the best afternoon for your mum-to-be. From games to decorations, get some ideas together to throw a memorable baby shower that shows her just how loved she is by those she’s close to.

Take her for afternoon tea 
You can’t beat afternoon tea for relaxing and catching up with friends. Sandwiches and cake make the perfect lunch, and you’ll find afternoon tea deals in some amazing settings. Don’t forget you can also bring afternoon tea to your home, thanks to afternoon tea boxes that make it even easier to host in your own home. Get baking or head to your nearest patisserie to pick up some tasty treats for you and your mum-to-be.

Pregnancy can be tough on mums, which is why a nice treat is always appreciated. There are so many great ways you can spoil a mum-to-be and make her feel special, so why not get some plans in place to help make her pregnancy a fun and enjoyable time!

Sending Christmas presents to loved Ones abroad in time for Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, sending presents and cards is always something we have to think about. Heaven knows we’ve heard the stories of all those undelivered gifts year after year. There’s even been talk of a strike this year. But what if you send aboard? We’ve put all the information you need to know about sending a gift to a loved one aboard, below.

Use a courier 
Rather than simply posting something and hoping for the best, whether it’s a card or a gift, it’s best to use a parcel delivery service, aka a courier. These will ensure you’ll get the gift to the other person in a more orderly and quicker manner, and you’ll even be able to track it from your end too. If it’s for Christmas, make sure you check out when the gifts need to be collected for specific places throughout the world – you’ll also need to take public holidays in each country into consideration too.

How to ship 
Once you’ve chosen the courier that suits your requirements, and the budget, you have it’s quite straight forward. You can usually get in touch with a courier and arrange for a parcel to be picked up, if it’s a little too large for you to carry, or if it’s easy to carry you’ll often be able to find places where you can take them for collection – which should be available on their website.

Customs requirements 
These are really important. Once you have your customs documents to attach to your parcel, make sure you fill them out correctly, otherwise it could result in your paying more than you need to. These documents also need to be clearly attached to the parcel in question, on the outside packaging, alongside a copy inside for added safety. Most of this information will be provided by the courier company too, so don’t worry too much.

What you can and can’t send 
Finally, if you are sending a gift overseas for a loved one to mark an occasion, you’ll probably want to send them lots of things they love. But, can you send them? Some countries don’t allow certain items through customs, so it’s better to double check before sending anything. For example, food products are restricted around the world and no courier will take alcohol, whereas items like perfume or lighters fall into the restricted shipping category.

If you’re sending a gift overseas this year, do a little research beforehand and use a courier to ensure the gift gets there quickly and safely.

How to spend a week in London with the whole family

When it comes to getting away, you don’t always need to jump on a plane and speed off to a land far, far away. Instead, take a look around you and think of all the amazing places in the UK you’ve never explored properly. In fact, it was recently found that staycations were on the rise in the UK, with 72% of Brits surveyed saying they’d expect to take a domestic holiday going into 2020. If you’ve got kids it’s even better as there’s no need to run to the airport and deal with the luggage issues. But where to go, well, what about the capital? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Before you even get to London, the first thing you need to think about is how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll be getting around while you’re there. With driving around London known to be a little stressful, you should maybe opt for public transport. Trains are a great way to get you there as you’ll be able to get the train from a number of major places around the country, such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol in just a few hours (great for stopping backseat arguments). When you’re there, the train opens up lots of places with the train to London Kings Cross to Kings Lynn or even Kent being great highlights and days out (more of that later). However, the tube is probably your best bet while getting around attractions in the city and adds fun for the kids too. 

Places to stay 
With so much to do in London, there’s no point paying above what you need to when getting a hotel. Sticking to ones such as a Travelodge or Premier Inn will suffice as they do what they need to do and can be relatively cheap at specific times and depending on where you get them. However, if you’re going to be eating in a lot, try and AirB&B, where you’ll get the use of a house for the same price, or cheaper, than a hotel for the week.

What to see 
Perfect for the little ones, the big sights are always the best for them, and they’re usually free. From Buckingham Palace to Big Ben and the Tower of London, they’ll love it. Oh and let’s not forget the Thames. Of course, you can always pay to go on the London Eye and even an open-top bus ride for that extra special memory.

So don’t fret about the airport this year, go to London and show the kids the fun that’s right on their doorstep.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Why Caravanning Is So Popular With Families

Even in a time when boutique hotels and Airbnb have revolutionised the accommodation options available to travelling families, caravanning is still incredibly popular. There is just something about caravanning that has an enduring appeal - and in this post, I'm looking at exactly why this is the case…

Improved road trips 
Road trips are an eternally popular holiday choice for families, but with a caravan, the classic road trip becomes even better - and definitely far more convenient. You won’t have to worry about planning your route to align with towns or cities that can provide hotels; you’ll never have to worry about finding a bathroom en route as you’ll always have one with you; and if the driver wants to take a nap, then they can stretch out and do so. Caravans make road tripping an absolute joy from start to finish.

Frequent holidays are more accessible 
If your family wants to enjoy regular weekends away throughout the year, then travel costs and the cost of staying in hotels quickly add up. Investing in a caravan, however, is a great cost-effective solution, especially if you choose a second hand caravan to save you money. When you have bought your caravan, accommodation costs are no longer an issue, so you should find that your travel budget will stretch to far more individual holidays per year!

Endless different holiday experiences 
There are campsites spread across the length and breadth of the UK (and Europe, if you wish to travel further afield), which means there unlimited holiday options: there are campsites that offer high-end facilities, those that focus on providing kid-friendly amenities, some which place you close to a favoured seaside resorts and others that are located in tranquil, isolated forests. So, while “caravanning” is often used as a catch-all term, the sheer variety of different experiences a caravan can offer is immense, so no two holidays will ever be alike.

Spontaneity is far simpler 
Caravans lend themselves to spontaneous holidays incredibly well; a quick visit to a supermarket to restock supplies, locate a destination campsite, and then you’ve got almost everything you need - meals, transportation, a place to sleep - ready to go. In contrast, conventional holidays tend to require a huge amount of planning, as you try to bring together each part of the puzzle - where to stay, how to get to your chosen destination etc into one cohesive trip, which means that spontaneity will always be difficult. If you like the idea of being able to head off an adventure on the spur of the moment, then caravanning should suit your family very well indeed.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

HOME // How To Accommodate Your Growing Family & Their Things

Unless you want to move house or can afford to start looking into house extensions, as your family grows either in number or simply the people in your family just grow taller and wider, everything you own will only get bigger too. For example, the clothes get bigger; the shoes get bigger, the bikes get bigger, not to mention the number of things you have in your house. Every Christmas and birthday, more toys and electrical items appear musical instruments take up space in your hallway; sports equipment fills up your garage and eventually, you just run out of space. So, what can you do to tackle this problem as and when it happens and keep on top of the growing family and growing belongings?

Clever Storage 
When your kids are small enough, bunk beds are ideal for saving space and usually have room under the bed for storage. Take a look at what changes you can make in your bathroom. Open shelving and baskets under the sink and behind the door can be a real lifesaver and the perfect place to keep small electrical beauty appliances. Also use a shoe organiser for a space saver that holds makeup, combs and brushes, jewellery and even accessories such as scarves and belts.

Maximise space in the living room and any other shared areas with multifunctional furniture such as ottomans that you can keep video game accessories in and coffee tables that have drawers and open shelving below.

Throw Things Out 
As your kids outgrow their clothes, shoes, toys, and bedroom décor, - get rid there and then. Either box these items up to use as hand-me-downs, donate to charity or sell at garage sales. Don't hoard things, if you keep on top of throwing things out as and when you realise you don't need them anymore, then it means you won't have to spend loads of time doing it in one go. Make smart use of space by using furniture such as a bench or sitting area in the entrance or hallway to your house, you create a place for people to their remove shoes and place kids' school bags. If you haven't got the room for this, then make sure you have hooks on the walls or open shelving to put things on and make good use of your walls and higher space.

Make sure that your kids use their rooms for more than just sleeping. Their rooms need to be where their toys are kept, where they can play, and where they can study. You can maximise space by hanging notice boards or whiteboards which they can use to organise themselves while keeping desks and surrounding areas free of clutter.

If you have the luxury of a basement or an attic, then look into turning either of those into recreational rooms or extra bedrooms rather than risking the rest of the house becoming a mess. This way, you create even more room and a place where older kids can hang out with their friends without disturbing you.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

STYLE // Sixteen Tips To Stay Stylish As A New Mum

If you love style and fashion, you might be wondering how you can maintain your sense of style when you’re a new parent. There will definitely be days when you feel like you barely have time to shower, never mind put together a stylish outfit. Your style might change a bit as a mother, but you can still keep up with fashion and enjoy your clothes with a few simple wardrobe changes.

1. Give yourself a break. 
Your old clothes might not fit you immediately after you have your baby, and some items might not work with your new lifestyle as a parent. This is okay and completely normal. Look at it as an excuse to try out some new styles instead of worrying about not getting use out of your old wardrobe and needing to to fit into your old jeans.

2. Make some practical changes. 
Say goodbye to anything too delicate or that needs to be dry-cleaned. With a baby in tow, you’ll get on much better if you mostly wear sturdy, hard-wearing and easy to clean fabrics. Think about things like adjustments you might need. For example, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need some tops that will allow this easily.

3. Create a Mum uniform.
If you’re trying to put together an outfit in the morning, it can be time consuming when your mind is taken up with other things. To save time when you’re getting dressed, create a simple uniform that can be adjusted for different occasions. A pair of skinny jeans and a flattering t-shirt are a good base to start from. Wear this outfit with trainers for the nursery run, or add a blazer and heels for lunch with your friends. This saves a lot of time on rushed mornings when you’re trying to put an outfit together in the few minutes you have while the baby is napping.

4. Invest in good nursing bras. 
You can’t feel good in a badly fitting bra, so invest in some comfortable bras for while you’re breastfeeding. Better underwear gives a better line under your clothes, and helps your clothes to sit better.

5. Embrace pattern and stripes. 
Pattern can hide many things, from creases if you haven’t had time to iron to stains from the baby dropping their dinner on you. Pattern can also create an optical illusion that can help to disguise a few extra pounds. Stripes are stylish too, and will help you to look more put together than a plain outfit would look.

6. Don’t discount tracksuit bottoms. 
Thanks to athleisure, tracksuit bottoms and other comfy bottoms are on trend. There are lots of fashionable styles that are comfortable without sacrificing the look. You can be chic, but still as comfy as you would be in your pyjamas.

7. Accessorise. 
Even very simple outfits can be elevated and made to look much more interesting with some accessories. Scarves work well, as they’re hard for baby to ruin by grabbing, unlike necklaces. Scarves are also useful for hiding baby related stains. Stud earrings are pretty and grab-proof too. 

8. Buy a stylish pushchair. 
You’re going to be pushing it around a lot, so it might as well look good. Brands like Ickle Bubba create a range of pushchairs and prams that look smart and fashionable for the modern mum.

9. Create a capsule wardrobe. 
Buy a few pieces that you can mix and match together easily. Like your Mum uniform, this makes it easier to get dressed in the mornings. A capsule wardrobe should all work together, so you can just reach in and grab anything and have it work well together. Choose a colour palette so everything goes together without much work. You can create variety by mixing up your accessories.

10. Have fun. 
Fashion should be an enjoyable experience. Even if you’re wearing simple cuts or using a capsule wardrobe, you can have fun playing around with different colours, textures and patterns to add some interest to your outfits and make things more trendy.

11. Work out what makes you feel the most human. 
Some people don’t feel like themselves without their favourite earrings on or if they’re not wearing mascara. Work out what helps you to feel like you and incorporate it into your outfits. It could be making sure you have to time to style your hair or put on a little make-up. It could be getting dressed instead of wearing comfy clothes all day. Find out what gives you a feeling of being you instead of just Mum.

12. Buy clothes that fit you properly. 
If your dress size has changed since having a baby, it’s easy to end up with a wardrobe that is combined of things that are slightly too small from before you were pregnant, leftover maternity clothes and pieces that are a little too big from just after the baby was born. The too small clothes will make you feel bad, so either clear them out or at least put them away somewhere else so you don’t have to work around them when you’re trying to get dressed. Treat yourself to clothes that fit well, and they will look much better, making you feel better too.

13. Look out for comfortable trends. 
Everybody likes to be comfortable, so there’s a few trends in year that focus on comfort. Athleisure, Ugg boots and messy buns are all great examples of this. Keep an eye out for trends like this, so you can feel like you’re keeping up with current styles but are still staying comfortable and practical for your mum life.

14. Find a style icon. 
Whose style do you love? It could be a friend who always dresses well, or a celebrity you often see in the style columns. This can be a great way to find outfit ideas and some style inspiration. Whether you love the outfits worn by Kate Middelton or Nicole Kidman, keep an eye out for them in the press to get fresh ideas that you could use.

15. Start with the shoes. 
As a Mum, you’re going to be running around after a small child for a lot of the day. Practical shoes that are comfortable and properly support the foot will make your parenting time a lot easier and more practical. However, just because they’re practical shoes doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish. Sneakers are always in style, or you could invest in some chic loafers or other flat options that are stylish as well as supportive.

16. Maintain your skincare routine. 
If your skin looks good, you’ll automatically look a lot better. Even when you are busy with the baby, try to keep up your skincare routine. Cleanse your face probably every night, and don’t forget to moisturise. Drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to keep your skin hydrated and looking at its best.

The most important thing to remember is to not get too caught up in worrying about whether you manage to be stylish every day. Being a new mum is tiring, and there will be some days when you don’t have time to get your mascara on and change out of your pyjamas. Simple things like nice shoes or a pretty hair clip can make a big difference to help you feel like you. As you get used to motherhood, you can change up your style a little to bring in more fashionable pieces once you get the hang of how you want to dress as a parent that strikes the right balance between practical and stylish.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Essentials For A Relaxing Holiday

Life can be hard sometimes. Most of us are running around juggling jobs, cleaning and looking after our homes, and taking care of our families. You might even be trying to fit in getting enough exercise, eating right, and even having a little bit of a social life. Many of us are stressed out, exhausted, and struggling. When we go on holiday, we often spend time trying to explore as much as we can while keeping our families safe and provided for. Many of us are guilty of checking work emails while we are away and continually updating our social media feeds.

We all deserve a relaxing break, a chance to recharge our batteries and get away from the stresses of everyday life. But, unfortunately, not that many of us get it. Instead, we come home feeling more stressed than we did when we went. We need a holiday to recover from our break. But, we don’t get it. Instead, we get straight back to work.

When you do get a holiday, it’s important that you make the most of it. Sure, sometimes, you want to see as much of a new location as you can. But this isn’t always what you need. Sometimes, you need to grab a bag, chuck in your sunglasses and maxi dresses, and take that relaxing break that you so desperately need and deserve. Here’s everything that you need to get it.

Peace and Quiet 
When it comes to a relaxing break, one of the most important things is your choice of location. A busy hotel of a bustling stretch filled with nightclubs and late-night bars isn’t going to be the right setting for a peaceful break. Instead, you might want to consider an Air BnB or a villa somewhere a little more secluded, where you’ve got your own space to rest, and the perfect place to give yourself some TLC.

Many of us find doing nothing quite tricky. When we’ve got nothing to occupy our minds, we worry, we think about our problems, and we get trapped in our own heads. It’s not very relaxing. So, make sure you pack some books to give you a chance to escape from your problems.

Some Time Off Your Phone 
You can tell yourself that you are going to have a digital detox, but this might not be realistic, and trying to force yourself to stay offline can cause you further stress. Instead, try to limit your use. Try leaving your phone behind when you go out, but allow yourself a little time each day to check your emails and notifications if it makes you feel better.

One of the best ways to relax and unwind on your break is getting plenty of rest. Get some early nights, let yourself lay in, and try to get as much sleep as you can to give yourself a chance to recharge. Sleep is the best way to do it.

Good Food 
For many of us, one of the great joys of traveling is enjoying local foods. But, try to do it healthily. Don’t introduce too many intense flavours too quickly, and limit your sugar and fat intake.


Friday, 4 October 2019

Help Your Child 'Get It' In 3 Simple Steps

Sometimes we can feel helpless when we see our children come home from school with a desperate or sad look on their face. We may probe and ask questions only to hear a grunt in response. If your child is struggling at school, they often don’t want to talk about their difficulties. They may be embarrassed or they just don’t want to involve their parents. However, there are things that you can try to reassure them, and help them ‘get it’. There’s nothing worse than feeling left out or thinking that you can’t do something. Just because your little one might need some extra help, doesn’t mean they cannot reach their full potential.

You could hire a tutor for your child to help give them a little extra boost. Some kids take well to tutors whereas others cannot stand the fact that they need extra help in their free time to get them up to standard. Find a tutor that your child gets along with. Don't go for the straightlaced, super formal human being and opt for someone with a sense of humour, a chatty tone and a kind demeanour. A good tutor won’t just enhance your offspring’s academic knowledge but they will also boost their self esteem and make them feel more confident when tackling problems. It’s ok to make mistakes as you learn from them. A good tutor will ensure that you child knows this. They’ll also help your little darling to apply what they have learned to unfamiliar and new situations.

Internet Time 
It may sound like a misnomer, but getting online can help your kids improve in a subject. Companies like Cazoom Maths produce worksheets to help your child tackle a topic that they are struggling with. Complete with answers, you can work through the problems and mark them together. Make sure that you engage your little one with their extra learning otherwise it may feel like a punishment. There are also educational games that are free to play online or you can download apps to their tablet. Make a deal where they can play their educational games for ten minutes and then get a reward of ten minutes free tablet time to do whatever they please.

Listen And Be There 
If your child is falling behind at school or they simply don’t understand a certain subject, just be there. Be open and listen to their problems and let them know that you don’t think any less of them because of this. Just because your darling might not be academically gifted, doesn’t mean that they don’t have other talents. Children need to be celebrated for their gifts whether this is playing a musical instrument, running fast, designing recipes, drawing or making things. Be your child’s biggest advocate and make them feel confident with other aspects of their learning. Use the example of Richard Branson who left school failing all of his exams.

Your child will be successful with your support. Help them if they are struggling but ensure that they remain confident and happy first and foremost.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Spending A Night In London’s West End

London is known for a lot of different things, though theatre is one of the few traits which has stood the test of time. Throughout history, people in this part of the UK have been enjoying performing arts, from the earliest days of Roman settlement in the area, and this trend is still very much alive today. Spending a night in the West End is one of the best ways to experience this part of London. To make your planning all the easier, this post will be exploring the different aspects of a night like this, giving you some ideas and pushing you in the right direction.

Before The Show 
A lot of theatrical performances end up being quite a bit longer than people expect, and it can be uncomfortable to go into this without first having a bite to eat. Thankfully, London is filled to the brim with some of the most popular restaurants in England, and getting to them is easier than you might think. The West End itself has plenty of options, though these often get booked up quite quickly, and you may have to go further afield if you don’t book in advance.

Getting Around The City 
There are loads of options for transport in London, and you don’t need to have your own car to get around quickly. Uber is very popular, making it easy for those who already use this app to find rides around the city. Along with this, you could also think about the tube system or buses, as these can also be very quick, and will be a lot cheaper than using taxis. If you want a more quaint experience, talking to one of the many rickshaw riders in the West End will give you the chance to see the city at a slower speed.

The Show 
Picking the show you want to watch should always be done before the day, as tickets will be booked up by the time the night rolls around. West End tickets can be found across the web, and will give you access to a huge range of different shows, from classic hits to modern gems, without costing you a small fortune. The sooner you book the better the seats you will be able to get, though some people like to wait and get a better deal.

After The Show 
Once the show is all done and dusted, you will probably have a little bit more time to fill before you want to settle for the night. Nightlife in London is like no other city, with an eclectic mix of rowdy nightclubs and high-end bars. Live music is very popular, though those with different tastes will be happy to have the option to watch some poetry or smaller theatrical performances.

Hopefully, this post will leave you feeling inspired to spend a night in London’s West End. A lot of people miss out on this opportunity, often underestimating the power of a live show. If you like movies and television, you’ll love theatre.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Going back to work after being on Maternity Leave

Returning to work after a spell of maternity leave can be a little bit stressful for many mums. It’s easy to feel uncertain about the situation, and even those of us who’ve been in the same job for years can feel as though we might have forgotten how to do it after just a few month’s break.

Different mothers react to this problem in different ways. Some will be keen to hit the ground running and make up for lost time. Others might prefer to ease themselves back into things gradually. Here are a few tried-and-tested tips that’ll help you to make the transition less overwhelming whichever camp you're in!

Inevitably, things are going to be a little different now that you’ve had a baby. You’ll need to adapt your routine so that it’s fit for your new circumstances. That might mean leaving the house slightly earlier so that you have time to drop them off at nursery. While you’re dealing with all of this, you don’t want to have to think about all of the smaller items you need to take to work; treat yourself to invest in a quality work-bag, and you’ll get that little bit of peace of mind you’ve been craving.

To avoid stress in the mornings, it makes sense to do as much preparation as possible. Every evening, you can make a point of getting yours and your childrens' clothes and lunches prepared for the next day. Learn a few easy recipes that won’t require too much attention in the kitchen. It’s important that you find time to eat properly; if you don’t then you’ll end up feeling fatigued. The same applies to sleep; don’t stay up late on social media.... you’re going to need all of the rest you can get!

What if my child gets ill? 
You should come to terms with the likelihood that your child will pick up an illness of some kind during the first few weeks – nurseries are rife with them. This isn’t a bad thing, per se; in the long term, their immune system is likely to benefit. But it will make fitting work in a little bit more awkward. Try to come to some arrangement with your spouse, friends or family so that you don’t have to surprise them by asking for a favour at the last minute. If you’re having trouble deciding whether to keep your child out of nursery, you can check the NHS’s advice.

I’m scared! 
It’s perfectly natural to be nervous about going back to work. You’ve got a point to prove, after all: that you’re a valuable member of the team, and everyone’s going to appreciate having you back. For best results, it’s worth allowing yourself time to reacquaint yourself with the nuts and bolts of the job before you tax yourself too much. Make a note of any changes that have been made in your absence, reacquaint yourself with the things that have stayed the same, and avoid taking on any major responsibilities to begin with. Ideally, you’ll want to return to work in the middle of the week, so that you have just a few days before the weekend hits and then you’re free.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

5 Ways To Help Your Kids Use Computers Safely

There’s no escaping the fact that kids these days want - and need - to use computers on a regular basis. As well as digital communications with their friends, tech plays a central role in their academic growth and also prepares them for the modern business world. Nevertheless, no parent wants to put their child in a potentially vulnerable position. Here are five simple steps to ensuring your tweens and teens are safe online.

#1. Help Them Play The Right Games 
Most kids will use their computers to play games. But some of the web-based titles can pose risks such as downloading viruses or being bullied by other players. Teach them how to play games on Mac through Stream and other platforms for far greater results. When your children are under 10, finding age-appropriate educational titles can be very useful too. When games actively support the development of key computer skills, the results are far greater. This can extend to programs that ease children into things like graphic design or music production.

#2. Find Alternatives To Social Media & Gaming 
Social media and gaming are the primary leisure activities enjoyed by youngsters on their computers and devices. However, these are the only options at their disposal. Whether it’s watching films on Amazon Prime, editing home videos, or another solution doesn’t matter. Mixing things up is a key step to helping children get the most out of their time on tech devices. They’ll develop various skills and passions rather than limiting themselves to one aspect.

#3. Monitor What They Do
As a parent, you have to place some trust in your child. Still, the dangers lurking on the internet are far too grand to ignore. Most broadband providers will offer parental controls. These allow you monitor what has been downloaded as well as activities. It’s even possible to have these developments sent to your smartphone as a notification, enabling real-time control even when you’re not at home. As a parent, this is arguably the best tool of all, not least for your peace of mind.

#4. Set A Computer Curfew 
The dangers of using computers aren’t limited to fraud, bullying, or bribery. Screen addiction has become a very common problem in modern society and harming children at younger ages than ever before. Therefore, it’s important to establish barriers at an early age too. Using computers right before bed can lead to damaged sleep patterns, so setting an early evening curfew is advised. The final hour or two before sleep should be dedicated to other tasks that help us prepare for bed. This could mean relaxing on the sofa, reading books or packing tomorrow’s school bag.

#5. Be In Control 
Letting your child use the computer is almost a necessity in modern life. However, this shouldn’t make you cave in to their demands. If you’re not comfortable with your child using Snapchat, don’t be afraid to say no. Your son or daughter needs to respect your decisions and rules while also feeling grateful for the computer time they are allowed. Only then will they truly maintain a positive relationship with computers and other forms of technology. Stay switched on at all times.


Friday, 2 August 2019

FESTIVALS // Nozstock 2019

This time a fortnight ago we had just got back from our first ever Noztock festival. I may have finally caught up with all the post camping laundry, and the layer of glitter that covered EVERYTHING for the first few days after our return has just about disappeared, but the memories live on!

We've been festivalling as a family for seven summers now so I like to think of my self as a bit of a pro. I've mastered the art of solo parent camping trips; packing light is key, as is being chilled out and not worrying about itineraries or routines. That's one of the things I've grown to dislike about the bigger festivals we've frequented in the past - you pay a small fortune for tickets and want to get your money's worth so you really put yourself under pressure to see ALL the bands and visit every single area on site. Turns out that's not fun in the slightest, you're on holiday! You want to relax and enjoy yourself rather than racking up 30,000 steps a day traipsing all over a massive festival!

And that's exactly why I loved Nozstock so much. As a festival that started off as a party in the Nosworthy family's back garden, it's grown entirely organically and really does still feel like that small personal family gathering, despite selling every single one of its 5000 tickets this summer!

The girls and I were incredibly lucky this year; not only were we offered press tickets in order to be able to review this new (to us) festival, we were also given pre-pitched tents which has honestly opened my eyes to the concept of boutique camping in the future. It doesn't half make a different when it comes to lugging all your gear to camp - especially when you're the only grown up there to do it.

As is festival tradition for us, we camped with our pals Cookie, Ruth from RocknRoller Baby and Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours and their gangs. Over the years we've learnt to share the packing, distributing responsibility for breakfasts/lunches/snacks/boxes of wine/cocktail decorations/glitter/facepaint etc. I'd totally recommend getting a likeminded group together and doing the same if you're thinking of heading to a festival for the first time.

Our tents had been pitched in the family camping field (as well as the general camping fields, there were also quiet and camper van fields). This was located perfectly; close enough to the main area for the walks there and back to be entirely painless and far enough away that the music didn't keep you awake if you wanted an early-ish night. The family field also had showers, incredibly well maintained portaloos and smaller purpose built compost toilets for the kids which seemed to be kept extra clean and also had the added benefit of light at night! There was also a playground built for the event which was lovely, and baby changing facilities including free nappies, wipes and suncream. The guys at Nozstock really had thought of everything to make family camping easier.

The thing I loved most about Nozstock was that it was so small compared to other festivals I've been to. As a parent it made me feel so much more relaxed and it meant I could give the kids that little bit more freedom than I usually would which they absolutely loved. I described it earlier as being like a small, personal, family gathering - and things like the handmade signs everywhere added to this. That, and the fact people (other campers and the artists wandering around) chatted to me quite happily, made me feel really at home and really welcome.

I loved that the festival was so eco conscious - I'm talking entirely solar powered fields, smoothies made by pedal power, reclaimed and repurposed materials used to build stages and sets - and so affordable too. Meals weren't overpriced, beer was only £4 a pint and there were water stations everywhere so no need to shell out for rounds of cans of water three or four times a day. There was also picnic tables and plenty of space to lay down a picnic blanket if you wanted to bring your own food from camp.

The food was excellent. There was a huge selection to choose from; pizza, burgers, bangers & mash, curries, wraps, caribbean, chips, churros and ice cream. Next to the family camping field was a little wooden truck called Cosy Rosie's, which sold great coffee, hot chocolate and crepes which we had for breakfast every day!

There were eleven stages in total, all of which were absolutely amazing works of art in themselves. We loved the incredible neon Coppice and dancing to reggae at the Elephant's Grave. Nothing was too far away from each other so it was super easy to move around and see different acts.

The Little Wonderland for the kids was another of our favourite places to hang out. All activities in there were free, including willow weaving, clay model making and painting, learning circus skills and face painting. The kids loved the clowns that wandered around including them in their acts!

As well as the music and crafts some other highlights of our first Nozstock were the human jukebox (genius!) the henna tattoo and hair wraps stalls (the girls were in heaven) and the absolute abundance of reasonably priced vintage clothes stalls (I was in heaven).

But most of all we just loved the chance to hang out as a family, spend some time with our favourite people and to be able let our hair down for the weekend, in a perfectly curated festival.

Some of my other best bits were the girls sleeping in until gone 8:30 every morning (they are usually VERY early risers, so this was a real treat), plus celebrating Nozstock's 21st birthday at the Cabinet of Lost Secrets was another highlight - accessed down a tunnel and via a mirror maze and with dancers, punch, birthday cake and even party bags once you got inside, the kids and grown ups all had an incredible time.

My favourite act of the weekend had to be Elvana (Elvis fronted Nirvana). What a front man! I laughed, I danced, I sang along, the girls thought I was totally crackers but I didn't care. Showing up your kids is all part of this parenting lark, is it not?

There's no doubt whatsoever that we will be back to Nozstock next year, and we're looking forward to it already!

Super early bird 2020 tickets on sale here now! Adult weekend tickets start at just £100 and children under 12 are free! The festival sold out this year so make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

We were gifted tickets and pre-pitched tent accommodation in exchange for this entirely honest review.

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