How to Make Travelling with Children Easier


It may only be January, but that hasn't stopped me thinking about the Summer already. I shared our family holiday plans for this year a few months ago (we're off to Turkey and I cannot wait!), but as it's our first holiday abroad since the big two were very small, I'm of course feeling a little nervous about it. With planning and preparing, I know it'll be amazing though. So I thought in this post I would share some tips we've learnt over the years, that make going on holiday with children not only easier but really enjoyable too!

Make sure to Pre-book Everything
This can cover a whole selection of things, but pre-booking before you travel will make travelling a whole lot easier. This starts when booking your holiday. Paying to pre-book seats on the plane can seem like a waste of money, but trust me when I say it saves you a lot of stress - no one wants to turn up and find out the whole family is dotted all over the aeroplane! A lot of hotels will also allow you to pre-book family essentials such as cots, highchairs, sterilisers and even pushchairs before you travel too. This will save you space in your suitcase, and mean you can relax a little knowing everything will be ready for you when you arrive.

If you know you'll be going on days out or excursions during your trip, it's always a good idea to pre-book tickets before you travel too. For example, you can find the best value universal studios tickets if you book before travelling - plus pre-booking usually saves you queuing in extra queues while there too!

Only Pack the Essentials
It can feel like you need to pack everything but the kitchen sink when you travel with children, but you really don't! As long as you aren't going to an obscure country, then wherever you're travelling to will have shops where you can buy items such as nappies, snacks and beach toys. Packing just the essentials (and a few spares) will also make the airport easier to navigate, as you won't have endless suitcases to keep an eye on.

Relax your Expectations
A holiday for most is a special occasion, so it can feel like you really need to make the most of the time you have. However, when travelling with children it's probably easier to relax your expectations. Don't try and go on every excursion, or fill every day with adventures and exploring. And if you're trying to stick to your usual routine from home, it's probably best to throw that out the window too. We've always found it easier to take every day as it comes and to let the children decide what they want to do each morning. And if you feel like you need 5 minutes of relaxation, there's always kid's club!

What tips would you add?

This is a collaborative post.

Home Layout Mistakes to Avoid


If you are renovating your home or even building your dream property from scratch, then you are most likely planning to customise it's layout so it meets the needs of your family. This is obviously great, but there are a few common mistakes you need to make sure that you avoid.

Bad Design
You may think that your plan looks great on paper, but sometime mistakes only become apparent when you move in. For example, if your kitchen is too far from the main entrance to your home then this means that you will have to carry your groceries further when you bring them in through the front door. If you want to make sure that your layout is perfect then imagine various scenarios, or think about your daily routine. Will your new layout create any potential challenges? If so, then it’s time to hit the drawing board again.

If you host guests on a regular basis, then don’t think about removing the downstairs bathroom. If you have an outdoor space, then make sure that it can be accessed comfortably via the living room or even the kitchen. If you add obstacles, then this will make it harder for people to move through your home and this can be frustrating when you have guests.

Open Plan
Open plan is great if you have children, or if you have a lot of people in your home on a regular basis. But it can feel difficult to keep the spaces feeling separate and tidy.. You could break up the space by adding cheap large rugs to your living room, and you can also experiment more with bright or bold colours too. Open plan designs can often mean that your home loses more heat too, so definitely something to consider before taking the plunge.

Poor Space Allocation
It doesn’t matter if you have a large home or a small one, because a few centimetres of wasted space in one area, could make a huge difference to another room. Corridors are a prime example here. You have to make sure that they are attractive but at the same time, you also need to think about fire safety and comfort. Your architect should be able to help you meet the minimum requirements here.

Lack of Storage
Storage is essential when you own a property - especially when you have a growing family. No architect or planner will be able to tell you how much storage you need, because only you know your lifestyle more than anyone. If you want to help yourself here then you should know that you can’t put a price on adequate storage, as it will help you to avoid clutter and keep your home looking streamlined and organised.
This is a collaborative post.

Find the Best Childcare for You with | Review

In collaboration with

With Lilah turning two next week *sob*, Jack and I have both been thinking a lot about what childcare route we're going to take with her. We've experienced both the nursery and preschool routes before with the older two, but there are actually a few more choices we could make. A website that has been created to help with this kind of decision is - an award winning online social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors.

What is
The idea of the website is to perfectly match parents with the right childcare provider for them. They are the UK's largest childcare website with currently over 2 million users (a mixture of both parents looking to find childcare, and those looking to find roles in the childcare sector). From nurseries, registered childminders and nannies, to babysitters, private tutors and even private midwives, it really is the number one place to go for any childcare needs.

How does it Work?
The website is incredibly easy to understand and navigate. If you just want to do a quick, simple search, then the handy dropbox at the top of the site is where you want to head. All you have to do is pop in what you're looking for and your postcode, and within seconds results will appear. I was able to find 18 nurseries with 10 miles of our address - some of which I had never heard of which is really helpful. And if we wanted to go down the childminder route there are 144 within 10 miles - I didn't even know these existed a few years ago!
If you are a parent or childcare provider who has a very specific search in mind, then joining the website as a member would be the best option. This is completely free and allows you to create an advert which showcases what you're looking for / providing. As a parent you can then read reviews, browse profiles and chat to potential carers in a safe space. If you are a childcare provider there's also access to over 200 online training courses from leading training providers.

Is it Worth it?
What I really like about the website is that you can be really specific with your searches. You can filter searches to include only those who are Ofsted registered or have first-aid training, pick just a specific gender, and even whether they are a smoker or not. It's these extra steps really help to connect parents with their perfect childcare provider. I definitely think would be helpful for anyone who is looking for childcare, or someone like Jack who works in the childcare sector. It's definitely worth signing up to, even if it's just to get some fantastic childcare advice, as they have lots of that too!

Have you used the website before?

Is a Reverse Mortgage for You?


Retiring gives you the opportunity to enjoy some hard-earned relaxation time. However you might feel far from relaxed if you are in a state of financial hardship. It is possible your retirement income does not provide you enough money to live comfortably month to month. Or you may be comfortable, but lack the funds you need to enjoy a lot of extras or pay for unexpected financial emergencies. Regardless of which situation you are in, a reverse mortgage could provide the financial protection you desire.

What is a Reverse Mortgage?
As you may know a traditional home loan triggers a certain process. As part of that process you have to repay parts of the mortgage on a regular basis beginning soon after you initially borrow the money. The problem with during retirement is that you are likely trying to find a way to reduce your bills - not adding to them. A reverse mortgage is a mortgage that does not require such partial repayments to be made on a scheduled basis. Instead the payments are made on your schedule (as long as you continuously meet the other requirements of the loan).

Other than staying in your home while the loan is active, there are some other basic rules you must follow. You must be at least 62 to apply, and it is also necessary for you to continue paying property taxes and other upkeep costs for as long as the loan lasts too.

What are the Benefits?
The reverse mortgage process is so different that it can feel for a time like you do not have a mortgage at all! Due to how how reverse loan contracts work you can spend the money you receive your way. You are free of the worry of making repayment in a set amount of time, as a reverse mortgage does not have a loan period, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead the loan lasts for as long as you remain the primary owner of and a resident in your house. So in theory it could last forever as long as you don't move house.

Another great benefit of a reverse mortgage is you can select how you want to receive your payments. You can choose ongoing equal payments for a period of time, a line of credit you draw from as needed, or a one-time large payment. The latter option is handiest when you have a major immediate expense to deal with, such as car issues or an injury. In some cases, you can use a combination of those options, meaning that you have total borrowing freedom and can choose what suits your current situation!

This is a collaborative post.

Dealing with Different Types of Pain Effectively


There is no denying that no one likes being in pain. Even just the slightest discomfort can make a huge difference to how you are feeling both physically and mentally, and can really ruin your day. In this blog post I am going to take a look at 3 common types of pain, and share some simple ways to help you to cope with them.

Trapped Nerves
Trapped nerves can be a great source of discomfort to anyone that is suffering from them. The use of the word ‘trapped’ can be quite misleading though, as the nerves do not actually get trapped in the way the language leads us to believe, rather they get pressed on, inflamed or irritated. This then produces a wide variety of symptoms including pain, weakness, numbness and pins and needles, all of which tend to occur in the leg or the arm.

It is vital to book an appointment with an experienced physiotherapist as soon as possible if you think you are suffering with this, as they will ensure the pressure on the nerves is released quickly, preventing anymore damage and pain. You can also click here to find out more about the different types of medication that are available to help as well. 

Professionals use a wide variety of approaches to ensure pain is alleviated, this includes strengthening exercises, stretching, flexibility exercises, electrotherapy, massage and much more. This combined with medication is typically the most effective. Your specialist will also provide you with all of the advice and education you need to manage the condition effectively at home, as self-care is one of the most important aspects when it comes to any type of recovery.

Groin Strain
A groin strain occurs when one of your groin muscles has been ruptured or torn. There are several signs and symptoms you should look out for if you think you could be suffering from a groin strain, including groin tenderness, groin pain, pain when stretching, muscle tightness and muscles spasms. 

Again the best thing to do is get in touch with a specialist physiotherapist. There are several different techniques therapists may use when treating a groin strain, including strengthening exercises, ice or heat application, flexibility exercises, massage, electrotherapy and more. Once the treatment has been carried out, you can expect the physiotherapist to provide you with all of the information you require to manage the condition effectively at home too. They will also answer any questions you may have and give you an estimated timescale for recovery too. 

Sports Leg Injury
There are generally two ways that people can suffer a sporting injury to the leg; the first is a traumatic injury (a fall or another type of sudden incident), and the second type is pain that occurs because you have placed too much strain on your tendons or muscles (through overuse, repetitive activities or too much force). Whether it’s an overuse injury or a trauma injury, there are many different ways your condition can present itself and there are many parts of the leg that could potentially be damaged, which is why the diagnosis stage is so important. 

There are a whole host of different techniques you can use during the treatment of your leg, including deep tissue massage, strengthening exercises, flexibility exercise, joint mobilisation, dry needling, ice or heat application, core stability exercises and much more. Of course again, seeing a specialist is the best way to a smooth and quick recovery.

This is a collaborative post.