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.

Our Year, 2019


Happy New Year, and happy new decade!

I love to start off every new year with a round up of the previous year, so of course the year 2020 is no different. 

We started the year with a very exciting celebration as Lilah turned one! We of course did our tradition of a cake smash for her 1st birthday, and spent her actual birthday opening presents and feeding the animals at a little farm.

I didn't even remember writing this post with my goals for the year. I achieved a couple of them - taking Lilah to a toddler group, completing the Me and Mine and Siblings projects, and I definitely saved as much as I could. But I think the fact I forgot about it speaks volumes... I won't be setting any goals this year for sure!


We worked with Gousto a couple of times in 2019. The boxes definitely sparked something in me and Jack and we've cooked *mostly* from scratch ever since. Probably not anything big for most, but we were definitely stuck in a rut of jars and convenience, so it made a huge different for us.

Valentine's Day of course falls in February, and Jack and I had a weekend away to Reading in 2019. It was mostly baby free, Lilah came with us for the trip and was actually really well behaved.


March was a relatively quiet one. I worked with one of my favourite brands Jo Jo Maman Bebe, had a super chilled Mother's Day, and we joined in with our very first World Book Day. Indie was Kittie Lacy the Fairytale Hairdresser which was so simple to do but Indie absolutely loved it. Not sure how I'm going to be able to create two exciting costumes this year!


The very beginning of month we celebrated Jack's birthday - a game of bowling that will always be remembered for Lilah crying throughout.

Over the Easter holidays we went on a big family holiday to Somerset. Haven holidays are some of my favourite memories of my childhood so it was amazing to take my little family along with both of my sisters and their families. It was chaos at times, but definitely a holiday that we will remember for years to come.

We actually had amazing weather over the Easter weekend, so we had an egg hunt in the garden, headed to the beach (where the tide promptly came in and ruined our sandcastle plans), and hosted a family bbq complete with paddling pool. Perfect!


Of course one the most exciting parts of the year was bringing home our kitten Belle. I remember Jack bringing her home and surprising the littles, and all of us falling in love with her instantly. She's settled into our family so well and grown a whole lot since May.

We went down the woods to hunt down the bluebells for our annual Siblings photos in May too. Always a highlight of the year!


I'm not sure I've mentioned it on here? But in June we of course spent the most amazing 5 days in Disneyland Paris! Rides, food, fireworks, and all the Disney characters. Of course it was exhausting, but I already want to go back.

I started my weight loss journey with Slimming World in June too. I'm not sure what gave me the push, but I'm so glad I did it. I've lost over 2 stone so far and already feel so much more confident and happy within myself. I've still got a little bit further to go, but I'm excited with how far I've come so far.

We were also lucky enough to a fab weekend away at Alton Towers as part of our work with Konfidence this month too. All 5 of us absolutely loved splashing about in the water park, and the weather was absolutely amazing during our time in the theme park too. A special whirlwind trip for sure.


Indie completed her first year at school and Parker finished Preschool forever in July. It felt like the end of an era when Parker left preschool, as he's known everyone there since he was 1. Lilah will be starting there by the end of the year though which is actually a little crazier to think about!

With the summer holidays upon us, we of course created our Summer bucket list. I love these as it gives the littles and I things to look forward to over the 6 weeks (especially as I usually cheat and just add things on there that we already have planned). We only missed one thing this year which I think is pretty good going.

We (mostly) enjoyed the heatwave during the end of the month too. We made the most of the garden (there's nothing like relaxing in the sun on a hammock right?) and ate all the ice creams, but as always, it was a little bit too hot wasn't it?


We celebrated Parker's 4th Birthday with a trip to Chessington and a party at a trampoline park with his friends. I turned 26 and celebrated with a weekend away and a trip to Colchester Zoo - someone we NEED to visit again in 2020.

We had so many amazing days out over the summer holidays, including The Transport Museum, outdoor cinema, Kent Life for ice creams, strawberry picking, the maize maze, National Trust properties, and all of the parks. Indiana completed the reading challenge, and we enjoyed many lazy pjs days at home.

August was also a very difficult month for our family, as my beautiful nan passed away in August. The last few weeks of the month were a bit of a blur, but actually rather wonderful as our whole family rallied together to support each other. She's now twinkling in the stars watching over us, and both Indie and Parker love pointing to the brightest star and saying it's great nanny saying hello.


September was a very exciting month as Indiana started in year 1, and Parker started school! With him only just turning 4 a few weeks earlier it was such a different experience to when Indie started the year before. But he has settled in so well, has a lovely group of friends and is really into learning already.

With both of the big two at school full time, it's just been me and Lilah for most of the week since September. It's so lovely getting quality time just the two of us, and I've finally started taking her to a toddler group too.


Of course October marked the true start of Autumn so of course we enjoyed allll of the delights - crunchy leaves, cosy days at home (it rained A LOT), and lots of puddle jumping. Jack was off over half term too, so we had a super busy but amazing week. We went our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch, enjoyed Halloween at Kent Life and Godstone Farm, and of course went trick or treating - Lilah's very first time!


We celebrated Bonfire Night by doing our very first sparklers at home - who knows, maybe next year we'll do our own display!

Indiana turned 6 at the end of the month, which was actually timed perfectly with the release of Frozen 2. I took her and a few friends to see the film, and then we had lunch and cake out after. It made me realise just how grown up she's getting, especially seeing her giggling with her girl friends.

We also kicked off the Christmas festivities by visiting the Bedgebury Christmas Light Trail again. Such a magical evening, and although I didn't think it was as good as last year, we all still absolutely loved it.


We had all the festive fun in December that comes with having school aged children. Putting up the tree and picking new decorations, watching Indie and Parker's school nativity, writing and posting our letters to Father Christmas (and seeing the big man himself), and of course eating all of the yummy food!

This was then followed by the best Christmas ever. All three of the littles were really into everything this year and it made everything just that much more magical. I'm not sure how long we can keep them all believing, but I hope it's for many more years to come.

And this year we ended with a National Trust walk at our favourite place Knole Park. We then came home for yummy food, let the big two stay up to watch a movie (and last years fireworks on the tv), and saw in the new year on the sofa with snacks. It was low key but lovely.

It was a mostly wonderful year, packed full of so many wonderful memories and milestones. We lost someone incredibly special, but I think that has just spurred me on to try and enjoy every single moment. Time passes far too quickly, and my little family is growing and changing every single day! I'm not sure what 2020 has in store for us yet, but I know it will be an adventure - one I look forward to sharing just like this next year!

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.