5 Family Friendly Things to Do in Portugal


Portugal’s beautiful beaches, fabulous food, and warm weather make it a popular destination for family holidays; and with so many different towns and cities, there’s something every traveller. So if you’re planning your next get away but aren’t quite sure where to go, why not make Portugal top of the list? Whether you’re travelling as a family or seeking a grown-up holiday location, Portugal has so much to do. 

Here are just five fun activities to do as a family.

Ride the Lisbon Tram

If you have a child that loves transportation, riding the Lisbon tram will be a treat for them. The E28 tram is an adorable little piece of local history that will take you around some of Lisbon’s narrowest streets. Just be aware that this popular tourist attraction is also used by commuters, so it may be a good idea to avoid rush hour to avoid annoying the locals.

Explore the Caves of Grutas de Mira de Aire

If you have adventurous little ones, then make sure to visit Portugal’s largest underground network. Discovered in the 1940s, the formation of these caves date back 150 million years (keep your eyes out for dinosaurs) The beautiful lighting and atmospheric music will make this an afternoon to remember, and you don’t even have to worry about climbing back up, there’s even a lift to return you to the surface!

Visit Pena Palace

Take your little ones to visit a castle as colourful as a Disney palace. Pena Palace is located in the beautiful Sintra Hills and looks like it has been taken right out of your favourite fairy tale. With a family ticket only costing you €33, it makes for the perfect day trip to suit any budget.

Admire Portugal dos Pequenitos

Located in Coimbra, Portugal dos Pequenitos is a fantastic miniature park consisting of tiny versions of Portuguese homes and landmarks. A family favourite since the park opened, it’s a wonderful chance for your children to learn about parts of Portugal you might not get visit during your trip.

See the Wildlife at Lisbon Zoo

Going to the zoo is always a popular choice for keeping children entertained, and Lisbon Zoo is no exception. Lisbon Zoo opened its doors in 1884 and is currently home to over 300 species from all over the world. With everything you could possibly want to see, from elephants to tigers, there’s so much to keep them entertained.

The staff at Lisbon Zoo are committed to their conservation work and are more than happy to chat to you about their mission to keep natures incredible animals from extinction. And, if a family holiday isn’t enough? Consider making it permanent with one of the stunning homes available from Property Lisbon - with a good education system, low crime rates and an outstanding healthcare programme, Portugal is a popular spot for families looking to relocate.

What are your favourite things to do in Portugal?

This is a collaborative post.

Laminate vs Engineered Flooring: Which is Better?


If you want the look of real wood in your house, but aren't sure whether to go with laminate or engineered wood flooring, hopefully this post will help you with your decision. There are minor factors to consider when choosing between laminate and engineered wood. Engineered floors are built from many sorts of woods that are joined together to make a precise flooring framework. Laminate flooring is similar to engineered flooring in that it is made up of layers, but it starts with an high density fibre core and is then covered with printed layers. Both include a fitting mechanism for simple installation.

But how do you decide which one to go with?


Although there are special offers on engineered wood flooring, if you're on a budget, laminate flooring is still the cheapest alternative. There are several laminate flooring available now that seem genuine and are of good quality. Don't skimp on quality because you're saving money. Walnut laminate, oak and beech, and a variety of other elegant styles are also available.


The most durable of all wood flooring is laminate. It includes a pre-applied lacquer to help maintain the boards in good shape. Solid wood, on the other hand, is the least durable. Depending on the circumstances of the rooms in which it is put, it will compress or expand. When the wood is moist, it expands and warps, and when it is cold, it contracts. Engineered wood lasts longer than solid wood, but not as long as laminate.

Over time, all flooring solutions will show indications of wear and tear, such as fine scratches or dents caused by certain shoes or heavy furniture. Brushing and cleaning with a moist mop on a regular basis will help avoid small dust scratches, while taking extra care when moving furniture will help prevent damage.


Engineered wood flooring allow you to repair scratches that have developed over time. Gently sand it down and refinish it. Repairing laminate on the other hand is tough. You'll almost always have to replace the entire board instead of just the damaged area. Engineered wood may be sanded and re-sanded several times - the number of times determined by the veneer's thickness.


Did you know that engineered wood is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options available? Slow-growing hardwood trees (such as oak and hickory) are used rarely since the core layers are made of fast-growing plywood. When you consider how many trees are used to make solid hardwood floors, the environmental repercussions are apparent. Engineered hardwood is the more environmentally friendly option.

Resale Value

Homebuyers are well aware that laminate are the cheaper option, especially if it isn't at the top of the laminate scale. Engineered wood, on the other hand, increases the market value of a property. So, if you're planning on selling your home soon, keep that in mind!

Did this help with your decision?

This is a collaborative post.

4 Ways to Make Parenting Easier (Hopefully!)


As a parent you’ll probably know that your job as a mother or father is a 24/7 thing. As soon as you found out that you’re going to be a parent, your life changed forever. And as soon as the baby was born, you became fully responsible for another (albeit little) person. Although mine are still under the age of 10, I know that even when they’re grown up, you’ll still have all of the same feelings and worries. The good news though, is that you absolutely can make this job so much easier for you. Here are just four ways how...

Set a Good Routine

Life can feel 10x harder in the mornings - especially the cold and dark ones we're experiencing now in Winter. And if you aren’t ready for the day and you feel as though you’re going to be sluggish, then parenting is going to be a slog. To help combat this it's a good idea to get into a solid routine and make sure mornings are the easiest they have ever been. Set a time, get the right coffee that suits you (here's a guide to the Lavazza coffee range – a wonderful recommendation for this kind of thing), and don't skip breakfast as this is the best way to get energy for the day ahead.

Ask for Help

You’re not going to be able to be a superhero every single day. There will be times where you need a break as everything has got too much. This is where friends, family, and even professionals come in. Don’t feel guilty (or embarrassed) about having breaks and asking for help. If things get a little too hard, be sure to talk to someone and open up on what’s happening. A problem shared is a problem halved!

Keep Fit and Healthy

If you’re okay to go in terms of your physical body, then your parenting ability will be so much better. This is not just by eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough exercise though. Make sure you take care of yourself and do what you can to be the best possible individual and role model. This could even include taking time for yourself and being able to let off steam. A happy parents = happy children.

Teach the Basics from Early On

Do yourself (and your children) a favour by teaching them classic manners and some of the most fundamental aspects of life from as early as possible. If they’re really young, then they won’t be able to grasp a lot of things that you say just yet, but consistency really is key when it comes to 'good' behaviours and manners. Get older children involved in chores around the house to help you out (while teaching skills along the way), and make sure everyone is respecting the home by tidying up their toys or belongings as they go too.

 This is a collaborative post.

5 Luxury Additions to Improve your Home


Everyone deserves a home that they can proudly call their own. And when you introduce lavish luxury to your interior design, you’ll have a home that you’re excited to return home at the end of each day. You don’t need to consult with a professional designer to get that luxury look though - you’ve probably watched enough 60 Minute Makeover and DIY SOS over the years to know exactly what you like and what you don’t! So if you want to impress your friends and neighbours, then why not try one (or all) of these ideas to improve your interior design. 

Black and White

Nothing says sleek and stylish quite like the contrast of black and white. A great place to introduce this is in your hallway, as it’s the first place that your guests will see when they enter your home. Ditch the carpet and paint the floors and stairs white but the banister and skirting boards black (ditch the carpet because a white carpet, especially in a room with so much footfall, is a recipe for disaster isn't it?).

High-End Touches

Small, high-end touches are perfect for making your home just that little bit more special, and materials such as hard wood, gold, and marble are the perfect addition to any room. In fact, if you find a gilded mirror on your hunt through antique shops and car boot sales, you’re on to a winner. Not only will the frame look fantastic, but a mirror is a great way to make your space look larger.

New Furniture

Tattered and torn furniture can really drag down the aesthetic of our homes. Why not invest in some fancy furnishings stocked by the suppliers at SM London. The splendid sofas brought to you by these experts will give your rooms the luxury feel that you’ve always dreamed of. You can even go one step further and add soft furnishings to the new furniture (pillows, blankets, etc), to add that extra level of luxury.

Floor Length Curtains

High ceilings are fantastic signifiers of luxury. However, not every home is blessed with them. If your ceiling height leaves a little to be desired, fear not, there’s a great hack that will easily trick the eye. Rather than just having curtains that cover your window, instead, you should move the rail to the ceiling and get drapes that drop to the floor. This way your ceilings will look much higher than they really are. Clever right?

Custom Shelving

Bespoke units are a fantastic indicator of luxury too. From beautiful bookcases to wardrobes that possess the wow-factor, experts such as Sharps Bedrooms can help design the décor of your dreams. When you invest in custom selves, you’ll be able to turn even the most awkward alcove into a usable, stylish storage solution. And after all, the only thing better than luxury is useful luxury!

This is a collaborative post.

Christmas Gift Ideas for 5 - 10 Year Olds | Christmas 2021


 The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

It's that time of year again when I can finally start sharing all things Christmas! And after last year's festive period being so different and disappointing, I think I'm going to try and make this year as Christmassy and special as ever! For my third and final Christmas Gift Guide this year I'm going to be sharing some products that I think would make perfect gift for older children and 5 to 10 (and beyond). Hopefully this gives you some inspiration this festive season.

Science Optical Illusion Set

First up we have this fun Optical Illusion Science set - sure to excite young minds and keep them busy! Made in Italy, the box contains a whole selection of products including 3D cards and glasses, a periscope, spinning top and puzzle. Lisciani is a worldwide educational company that has designed developed and produced games for children for over 30 years. 

Kuhn Rikon Children's Knife Set

My little ones love to help out in the kitchen, but of course their safety is always on my mind. This fun knife set by Kuhn Rikon has been designed to be safe for children (and its design is super cute too). The set contains a knife with straight edge, a knife with a serrated edge, and 'duck snipper' scissors. They are made of strong Japanese stainless steel, making them sharp enough to cut soft food, but safer than adult knives. They also feature 'ears' to act as hand guards to keep little fingers away from the cutting surface. 

Tybo Tie-Dye Set

Tie-dye seems to be a popular craze at the moment, so I know this Tybo XL 'tidy tie-dye' set from Tybo would be a big hit this Christmas. The kit includes everything you need to create fun and colourful tie-dye designs in a mess-free way! All you have to do is load up the mixing chamber, add the dye (there are 6 dyes included), and then turn the handle to transform items such as t-shirts, hoodies and even jeans. 

Science Mad! Chemistry Lab

A gift for slightly older children, this Chemistry Lab set from Science Mad! would made a great gift for inquisitive minds. The lab set is well equipped with a selection of 10 different chemicals (however you do need to supply household items such as salt, vinegar, etc for some of the experiments). There are more than 80 experiments to enjoy so your child really can go wild with this one!

The Adventurer’s Activity Journal

Personalised gifts are such a lovely idea for Christmas, as they really do add that extra special touch. The Adventurer's Activity Journal by BookBlock is packed full of ideas to get little minds thinking and creating. The journal takes the reader on a journey across the globe, to learn about new cultures and countries in a fun and exciting way. There are 192 interactive pages including puzzles, crafts and games throughout, and even stickers to add when a task is completed too. The cover is personalised with your child's name too so it really feels like a special book for them!

Red Letter Days Experiences

With three children of varying ages and only a small house, there's only so many presents and gifts we can add to the collection each year. That's why we love to ask for days out or experiences as gift instead - and Red Letter Days have a whole host of fun days out that both children (and their grown ups) can enjoy. We are currently a Harry Potter obsessed household, so I know Parker would be over the moon to receive this The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour and Afternoon Tea voucher.

The website is super easy to use as you can filter not only by the recipient, but also by budget and age, making it really easy to find a suitable gift. From animal experiences, climbing at GoApe!, and even a chocolate experience day with Hotel Chocolat - there's so many to choose from! Vouchers have to be claimed and booked by the recipient, so they can pick a suitable date for them to go too.

Skid Markz

If you have a child that finds the word poo hilarious, then this one is for them. A fun and silly game for all the family, Skid Markz combines drawing with crazy instructions, to create works of art that your fellow players have to guess. There are 100 'bone cards' with 400 'doodle words', so the game can be played again and again without getting repetitive (a big flaw with other games on the market). Are you a 'poo-caso'?

Personalised Artwork by Emma's Botanicals

If you're looking for an extra special gift for a loved one, then these prints from Emma's Botanicals would be a great choice. Emma hand paints the flower or plant of the month of your child's birthday, so if your little one has a December birthday for example, you can ask for Holly like the artwork pictured. The artwork is beautifully presented and of incredibly high quality. Such a special gift!

Tomy Mache Magic

Another creative gift, the Mache Magic from Tomy allows children to create unique paper mâché crafts by just using toilet paper and water - how easy is that? You don't need to buy or use messy paste or batteries, and everything else is included to get creating straight away! Simply add layers of toilet paper, twist & press, leave to dry over night, and then once dry it's time to decorate. The box contains instructions and ideas of what to create, but I think this is a great gift for encouraging self expression and creativity.

Prints from Ink & Drop

If you're buying from a child who already has plenty of toys, then why not treat them to some gorgeous prints or canvases from Ink & Drop. They create high-quality, beautiful art prints in a range of styles and price ranges - there's something for everyone! I loved these fun animal canvases for younger children, and I think any of their children's designs would look fab in a child's bedroom or playroom. Sizes range from 21x30 to 100x150 and you can choose from a range of frames too, including these clever magnetic wooden hangers that are really easy to use (these come as standard with canvas prints).

That's Magic! Big Box of Magic Set

If your child likes to entertain and amaze, then this That's Magic! Big Box of Magic Set would be a perfect gift for them. The bumper set comes with (nearly) everything they need to perform 325 amazing illusions and tricks - some everyday objects such as cotton thread, a spoon and pencils and paper will be needed for certain tricks. The easy tricks are supported by online instructional videos, so your budding magician can perfect their craft before giving you a spell-bounding performance!

Double Ditto Game

Double Ditto is a fun party game that older children and adults will love to play together - ideal for around the table at Christmas! The player picks a card, reads it out loud and then everyone has to quickly write down 2 answers that they think the other plays will write. The fun then arrives as everyone has to read out their answers to see if there's any matches - who knows what crazy, funny or even rude answers could be shard! There are 400 category cards so it's a perfect game to play again and again.

Ladybird Books

Books always make fantastic Christmas gifts, and these two new releases from Ladybird books would make a fantastic choice this year. My Skin, Your Skin by Laura Henry-Allain MBE (and illustrated by Onyinye Iwu) is a really powerful book, created to help children and adults have meaningful discussions about race and anti-racism. The book also explores how important it is for children to celebrate their achievements and greatness. Such an important book to have in any child's bookshelf.

Everything Under the Sun by Molly Oldfield is a beautiful collection of 366 questions asked by children from around the world. We all know that children ask everything weird, wonderful and sometimes unanswerable, so this book aims to answer some of those questions in a fun and joyful way. A lovely touch with this book is that famous faces have also got involved - you can find out 'where ideas come from with award-winning illustrator, Rob Biddulph. Find out why you taste things differently when you have a cold with Michelin star chef, Heston Blumenthal. Learn about everything from how astronauts see in the dark to what the biggest dinosaur was with experts from the Natural History Museum'. I know this one's going to be a big hit!

ReaXion Xplode Game

ReaXion sets take dominos to the extreme! The tiles are built in an innovative X shape and are light weight with thicker edges, making them easier to set and up and use. The shape also allows them to be connected together to make epic set ups - made even more extreme with the use the linX connectors to make even larger constructions. This Xplode set contains 150 tiles, 75 linX, 2 cubes, 2 spinners and 4 wheels, so there are hours of play to be had!

If you're looking for more inspiration, why not check out last year's guides here and here!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Under 5s | Christmas 2021


 The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

It's that time of year again when I can finally start sharing all things Christmas! And after last year's festive period being so different and disappointing, I think I'm going to try and make this year as Christmassy and special as ever! For my second Christmas Gift Guide this year I'm going to be sharing some products that I think would make gifts for younger children - babies up to age 5. Hopefully this gives you some inspiration this festive season.

Magnetic Dress Up Toy

I wrote about Wicked Uncle and the fab gifts they have for older children a few weeks ago, but they also do amazing gifts for little ones too. The fun magnetic set from Floss & Rock comes with two wooden figures (a unicorn and a dragon) plus 40 magnetic pieces to dress them up for their adventures! There's even a reversible scene included to really get your children's imaginations buzzing. These sets also come in different themes such as dinosaurs and pets!

Baby Bare Bubbles Toiletries

These gorgeous toiletries from award-winning skincare line Baby Bare Bubbles would make a great gift for a younger baby. Their luxury baby and toddler products are dermatologically tested and paediatrician approved, and only use high quality ingredients. I received this gorgeous wash-care set that includes a supersoft hooded bamboo baby towel, a washcloth, and a bottle of their bubble bath, shampoo and body wash all-in-one. The bath towels are incredibly soft, and the bath product is "rich in vitamins, shea butter to help nourish, soothe and deliver moisture, avocado oil to help protect your baby's skin barrier, oats to calm irritated skin and lock in moisture, dandelion and purple coneflower for their natural healing properties" - such a lovely gift for a new baby.

Orchard Toys Games

I honestly think you can never have enough Orchard Toys products! They have such a big range of fun and educational games for a whole range of ages, and they are such good quality so last a long time too - plus Orchard Toys will also replace a certain amount of lost pieces from games which is such a lovely service! We received the Christmas Eve Box which contains both a fun game and a puzzle, as well as the Pigs in Blankets pairs style game. Our three are aged 3 - 8 and all of them enjoy these games which I think is so rare with games, so I would 100% recommend adding these to your children's Christmas lists this year.

Super Sand

Supersand is the original modelling sand made in Europe from natural materials. The unique formula is super soft and the best part is that it doesn't dry out! This allows little ones to create and make again and again, using the mould included with the sets (or free-style with their imagination). This original set contains classic shapes to make cones, cubes and more. The sand is non-staining and sticks to itself to help make the clean up process easier for us grown ups too.

Jaques of London Wooden Toys

We absolutely love wooden toys in our house, so I was over the moon to receive these items from local company Jaques of London. They the oldest games company and sports manufacturer in the world, that has been passed down from father to son for eight generations! Use this code here to receive 15% off your order.

The first product we received was the super sweet Dinosaur Car Park. The car park track itself is made entirely out of wood, and the set also includes 4 wooden cars and 6 colourful dinosaur toys. Not only is the product sturdy and well-made, but it's so bright and eye-catching too. The design of the track introduces children to early physics through observations of forces, movement and the effect of gravity. A great toy for imaginative play and a great size for little hands!

The second product we received was the Toolkit & Bench Wooden Construction Toy. The wooden bench contains everything needed for little hands to get their hands busy and moving. Children can develop their fine motor skills when using the tools to turn screws or hammer bolts - a great toy for little ones to develop their imagination as well. Once again the toy is well-made and of really high quality, and it comes beautifully presented in it's box with a ribbon. 

Frugi Pyjamas

A brand new pair of cosy pyjamas would make such a lovely gift for a younger (or older!) child, and Frugi have such a lovely selection to choose from this year. Made from GOTS certified organic cotton, Frugi's clothing is super soft and of such high quality. The sleeves and trousers are cuffed to keep little ones super warm and snug, and they've even thought to print the label straight onto the product to stop any scratchy labels.  My favourite part of Frugi's clothing though is just how bright and colourful their designs are - they really do have something for everyone!

Headu and Ecoplay Games

Headu is an educational toys and games company based in Italy, and they have a fantastic range of items that under 5s would love this Christmas. Their games, puzzles and toys are made with high quality materials, and have been designed to help promote, develop and harness your little one's natural talents through play. I love that you can see what skills your little one is learning just by looking on the front of the box, and just how colourful and bright they are too! Headu have also created a new range called Ecoplay, which is full of eco-friendly, artistic toys for little ones.

The How We are Made game gets children to fit cards in to their matching slots to discover the parts of the body, senses, facial expressions are more. The Play Farm set teachers children about animals and their environment - an open game for learning and fun. 

Doddl Children's Cutlery + Accessories

A great practical gift for under 5s are these sets from Doddl. Their Cutlery Sets were specially designed to help children learn to use cutlery, as well as helping them to develop crucial motor skills along the way! We used their cutlery set when our youngest was weaning and saw first hand how much easier they are for little hands to hold and grip. The sets are available in green, pink and purple. Their Children's Plates have been designed to make little ones feel as is they are using a grown up plate, but with practical elements included - the back is slightly raised and the front is wider to help keep food ON the plate, and the bottom is grippy so it stays in place!

If you're looking for more inspiration, why not check out last year's guides here and here!

Famileo Gazette - The Family Newspaper | Review



Whether your parents (or grandparents) live in the next town over, or a different country altogether, we all know how hard it can be sometimes to visit and keep everyone up to date with events and milestones. And keeping in touch with loved ones has been even trickier the last few years thanks to restrictions and lockdowns. But I think this has made it more important than ever to have that communication between families! And that's where Famileo comes in.

Famileo began when Tanguy struggled to keep in touch with his grandmother Elisabeth. He was thinking up ideas that didn't need Elisabeth to use the internet, and was inspired by family albums and postcards to create another way to share family news. Armel then joined the project and together they launched Famileo for French care homes - simply the beginning of their venture. 5 years later and 100,000 families in France had used Famileo, and now their magazines are sent to more than 50 countries all over the world, as languages also include English, Spanish and Dutch.

Famileo was created as an easy and fun way for whole families to keep in touch, whether that's via photos or just simply written memories and messages. Each family member can share messages and photos from their month with just a few simple clicks. These messages are then automatically formatted and printed out in the style of a personalised family newsletter. You can decide who the Famileo newsletter is posted to, but their main audience is grandparents or older parents who want to keep in touch without the need of technology.

It's incredibly easy to sign up and start creating your families Famileo magazines. Head to the website and click the 'sign up for my family' option. Enter your details, and then the details of the person you wish to send the magazines to. You are then you are given a code that you can send to family members so they can join the subscription and add their own messages too. Each member can add children and their birthdays so these feature in the magazines too - a great way for major events to never be forgotten!

Messages and pictures (up to 30 per gazette) are then simply uploaded to the family wall in chronological order. You can choose to get the printed magazines sent monthly, bi-monthly or weekly - with prices ranging from £5.99 to £19.99 a month which includes postage. Plus every registered family member can contribute to the subscription cost too which is a great option.

I chose to get the magazines sent to our home address first for the purpose of this review, so I really enjoyed looking through the pages with the littles. They loved spotting the pictures and remembering all of the things we got up to - excited that nanny would be getting to see all of these too! I love that the pictures are large and really fill the page, and the text is in a larger (although not the clearest) font too which is much easier to read for those with poor eyesight. The magazines really are a great snapshot of your families month and would be perfect to store away and look back on in the future. 

The only big negative I would say about the magazines is that as they are printed on paper, they are easily crumpled, folded or damaged. I think it would be a nice idea for them to add a harder cover page, to help protect the pages inside with the images on. This would make them better protective during the postal process too, as although the envelope says 'do not fold' I still found our magazines were slightly bent and bashed.

Overall though, I really love the idea behind Famileo and their personalised family magazines. They are such a lovely way to keep in touch with loved ones who might not be so up to date with technology, and I think it's fantastic that multiple family members can contribute to one magazine. So if you're looking for a Christmas gift for an older relative this year why not consider a Famileo subscription? It would definitely make someone's year!

Build a Successful Brand as a Small Business

Whether you’re a small business owner or a blogger making their mark on the influencer world, branding is important, and something you should think about right from the start. Research indicates that 59% of consumers prefer to invest their time (and money) in brands that are familiar to them. So, if you’re recognised as a trustworthy name, then you’ll find yourself receiving much more engagement!

You might think that you’re too small to have to worry about your brand. But when it comes to branding, even small blogs and businesses should think big. If you’re unsure of where to start, then hopefully this post will have some simple suggestions to help you build your brand. 

Be Original

It’s important to strive for originality - it’s how you’re going to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but if you want to be memorable then you need to try for something truly original. Something that reflects you. If you can come up with a unique image, you’ll be sure to stick in people’s minds and spark their imaginations. But do make sure it's for the right reasons! 

Know your Audience

It’s important to understand what your audience wants from you as a brand. If you can work out what they’re looking for, then you’ll be in a much better position to provide that for them. It will be almost impossible for you to cater to everyone, especially when you’re just starting out. And while universal likeability might be a nice idea, it’s better that you strive for a more realistic goal. Instead focus on building up a loyal following and tailoring your offering to them.

When you have drawn in this audience, you need to work on forming a relationship with them (trust is an essential part of brand loyalty.) When your consumers feel like you hear them, they’ll be more inclined to invest their time with you.

Understand your Core Values

Studies have shown that consumers care about the values and beliefs of the brands they interact with. Increasingly, customers are drawn to brands that are conscious of issues such as a greener environment, so if you can demonstrate your sustainability, you will be able to appeal to these consumers.

Remember the Marketing

Marketing is a crucial factor in building your brand, and with so much of our lives existing online now, digital marketing is the best way to ensure user engagement. Developing your understanding of SEO, dofollow vs nofollow backlinks, and keyword rankings can take a lot of time, but they are incredibly important if you want to be successful.

If you’re not sure how to get started, then you’re better off outsourcing the task to an expert agency such as Maratopia Digital Marketing. This way you’ll not only have a tailormade digital marketing campaign that outranks your competition, but you’ll ensure that your brand is found by the right kind of users - that is users that will drive valuable traffic to your site and lead to conversions.

How are you building your brand?

This is a collaborative post.

Children's Stocking Filler Ideas | Christmas 2021


The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

It's that time of year again when I can finally start sharing all things Christmas! And after last year's festive period being so different and disappointing, I think I'm going to try and make this year as Christmassy and special as ever! For my first Christmas Gift Guide this year I'm going to be sharing some products that I think would make perfect stocking fillers for children. Hopefully this gives you some inspiration this festive season.

eatsleepdoodle Creative Products

eatsleepdoodle are a fab gift company that create fun and education gifts with a creative twist. All items come with wash-out pens, so little ones can get as creative as they want to really make them their own. I think these placemats and pillowcases would make perfect stocking filler additions for both boys and girls. Designs include pond life, world map / flags, butterfly, dinosaur, space explorer, cars & trucks and finally fairytale & legends - so there really is something for everyone. I love that the products also have little extra touches, for example there's space on the dinosaur pillowcase to write the dinosaurs names. So fun!

Active Snap!

A fun twist on the much loved game snap, Active Snap! gets you up and moving whilst playing the game. Depending what is show on the card, players have to do it - jogging on the spot, squatting, or just dancing and wiggling about. Suitable for the whole family to join in and play, this would be such a good stocking filler addition! The game retails around £5 so it won't break the bank either.

Waboba MoonShine Hyper Bouncing Ball

The new Waboba MoonShine is a crazy, gravity-defying ball with a twist. When bounced the ball will make a unique 'pop' sound as it hits the ground, and then bounces up to 100 feet into the air and lights up! The ball has over 100 hours of battery life so will keep little ones amused for hours (as long as they keep an eye on where it flies when bounced). 

Klean Kanteen Drinks Bottles

When you have little ones you can never have too many water bottles - home, school, out and about, you always seem to need them! These drinks bottles from Klean Kanteen are not only long-lasting and fantastic quality, but they also come in such lovely designs for children. We received the insulated 12oz unicorns, the classic sport 12oz planets, and the classic sippy 12oz coral strawberries. The sports caps are spill proof (not leak proof), and the bottles themselves have been designed to be cleaned easily and to withstand childhood play. The loops on all of the caps make them so easy to carry or attach to a bag - all are interchangeable too so they last so much longer!

Bath Products from Kids Stuff Crazy

These bath products from Kids Stuff Crazy would make a really fun addition to a child's stocking this year. The Magical Sparkling Bubble Bath turns baths into a glittery dream, whilst also creating plenty of bubbles to enjoy and play with. The formula is mild and gentle so suitable for most skin types. These Foaming Soaps have been a hit with our three for a long time now - not only can you mould and play with the foamy soap, it also gets your little ones squeaky clean too. You could also use this product for sensory play too! 

Bamboo Toothbrushes from The Humble Co.

Another practical but easy stocking filler are these bamboo toothbrushes from The Humble Co. - the company behind the world's most popular bamboo toothbrushes! They are made with 100% biodegradable and sustainably-grown bamboo, so are a great swap to make to be more aware of the environment too. The children's toothbrushes have super soft bristles, and as your children get older you can swap to the bigger brushes that feature changeable heads.

Crafty Surprise Mystery Craft Kit

Surprise toys are still incredibly popular with children of all ages, but I think this one from John Adams is a great alternative to layers of plastic. The Crafty Surprise Mystery Craft Kit contains everything you need to make 1 of 6 different craft projects, including a charm bracelet, dream catcher and pencil topper. I love that the products inside aren't just thrown to the side once opened, as the kit has the creative making element to it at well. 

Personalised Bunting from 2 Green Monkeys

Sarah from 2 Green Monkeys makes a wonderful selection of personalised gifts, all handmade and sewn with love in her studio by the sea in Devon. She offers a range of products such as keepsake bears, quilts, baby blankets and more. But I think her personalised name bunting would make a lovely stocking filler for a loved one this year. There are lots of patterns and designs to choose from and the quality is really lovely too. You don't have to have a name on the bunting as you can also choose to keep it plain. I think these would also make a really special first birthday or Christmas keepsake!

Top Trumps Games

Top Trumps are the UK's number 1 card game and has been enjoyed by families for over 40 years now. I love that the games are so easily portable (the cards come inside a handy plastic case) and therefore are great for family dinners, days out or simply just for popping in your bag to bring out when you need them! They also have topics to please everyone including these Disney and Minecraft versions, football, Marvel and more. 

If you need more ideas, why not check out last year's stocking filler Christmas gift guide!

Celebrating Special Occasions Virtually

Although we're almost 2 years into the worldwide pandemic now, and life is resembling a lot more normality, there's still lots of areas where things are still a little different. Visiting loved ones around the country (and the world) is still a little tricky, so virtual celebrations are probably going to be popular this festive season. And actually, even when things get back to normal, I can imagine the appeal of these parties to stick around. So if you are thinking of hosting a virtual party this year, this post might give you some ideas!

Setting up the Party

There are a number of ways you can make a video call or live stream your event, but there are some factors to consider. Live streaming, unless you tweak the settings, is open to the public. This means that not just your friends and family could be watching and joining in. You can set up live streams so they are 'invitation only' though, so make sure to do your research first.

If you’d rather the event be a two-way conversation then you would be better-off video calling. Any smart phone and laptop can do this, but if you want to bring it to the next level, you can stream your video call to your television using an entertainment system such as a Google Chromecast, or via a gaming device.

Baby Showers

Just because travel restrictions are making things difficult, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the support of your family during a special moment such as your baby shower. You can start the party by sending out virtual baby shower invitations, and have everyone feed into your home via a video call. Once you have your home well decorated and the food in, that’s where the fun begins.

Once everyone has RSVPd you can send out the party game supplies to those who can't make it in person. You can then play games with anyone you have at the party in person, while your far away loved ones can join in online virtually. There's no need for anyone to miss out!

Birthday Parties

Similar to baby showers, of course you can also invite virtual guests to birthday parties too! Simply set up the video streams to play on a nearby laptop (or even the TV) and have a constant stream of friends and family watching all the fun. They won't have to miss out on gift opening, and they can even sing along with the 'happy birthday' chorus whilst the candles are blown out too. 


If you have found that a job, a visa, or a quick trip, has gotten in between you and the person you love the most on your anniversary, it might be the case that your only option is a virtual celebration. But that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. I think most couples would agree that just speaking to each other would make the anniversary special, but if you want to go all out to really show how much you appreciate them, there is lots of things you can do to enjoy quality time together. The internet has exploded with a range of online date ideas - wine tasting, video gaming together, and streaming sites such as Disney+ let you watch a movie alongside each other whilst being able to chat. 

This is a collaborative post.

5 Downsides of Working from Home


There are so many positives to working from home. Not having to commute (saving both time and money), being able to properly relax during a lunch break, and some may even say they enjoy not seeing certain people around the office. But the thing is, remote working is only fun and games when there aren't any technological problems or mishaps. You need to be able to be flexible, and understanding updated information on your computer isn't something everyone is clued up on. But what are the other downsides of working from home?


Miscommunication is so much easier when you are working remotely. When you no longer have the face to face interaction that you had before, it’s very difficult to read into the meaning of a written message. You can’t hear the tone or the inflection of the person talking to you, so you can easily misinterpret their message to you. Plus you can't easily pop over to that person's desk to sort a problem either, making mishaps harder to quickly solve.


Isolation is much more prevalent than working in an office. When you are at home, it’s just you. Of course other people are at the end of the phone and more businesses than ever are making a point of including working with collaborative software, but that doesn't mean that it’s any less isolating to be at home. There is less of a community spirit here, and that means that you have less of a chance to feel included in something.

All the Distractions

The distractions are real. The TV and the fridge might call to you far more when no one is keeping an eye on you at your desk. You are going to be far more distracted in your work if your home isn't a tidy and calming space either - your mind will probably wander to putting a load of washing on, or whizzing the hoover around if you're not in the office.

Lack of Motivation

It’s harder to get motivated if you're on your own at home. If you work in your pyjamas and you are in your home office surrounded by all your things, it’s much easier to want to not want to do any work. I know I find getting dressed and ready for the day gives me much more motivation, but if you're working from home I can imagine a lot of people just sleep in as long as possible before jumping straight onto a computer at the last minute.

Security Issues

Occasionally you might find that you are dealing with poorly run software or issues with your work. You need to be able to keep on top of updates and upgrades and keep your manager in the loop about them, but having to stop to fix these problems can waste working hours. It's also worth keeping in mind that you'll want to consider better home contents insurance if you've brought your work computers and equipment home with you.

This is a collaborative post.

How to Create a Sheltered Garden Space


Now that colder weather is here, it's easy to fall in to the trap of closing the back door and not using the garden for the next few months. But actually, by installing a sheltered space in your garden, it is a great way for you to enjoy the garden whatever the weather. Ensuring that you protect your garden from the elements is so important so you can offer shelter to your guests or yourself, and making it useable all year round. In this post I'm going to share 5 ways in which you can add shelter to your garden space.


Gazebos are great options for shelter in your garden, and can be made from lots of different materials. Companies like Trade Oak provide a number of gazebos using their Trade Oak building kits and they can be secured to a number of surfaces. You can also choose whether you want removable doors or windows or panel sides, making this a very flexible solution.

Patio Awning

Patio awnings are a very flexible design in terms of shape and size. With a flexible positioning you can also set an awning to your desired height. It's a very simple, yet easy to maintain outdoor roofing solution.


These are great to create sheltered and relaxing hideaway spots in your garden. They're also very useful for any climbing plants in the space. An arbour is a perfect setup for people who want to retreat to a corner of the garden and relax. You can turn this into an amazing “relaxation station” where you can add a number of throws and cushions to turn it into an amazing and comfy space. Even if it is pouring down with rain, you've got a lot of comfort.


After a hard day of gardening parasols are an amazing way for you to offer shelter to smaller spaces, and come in a wide variety of sizes and colours. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to add shelter to your garden, parasols are perfect. However, if you live at a high altitude, parasols might not be ideal. Parasols are very likely to blow away and can be temperamental in any slight breeze.


This is another great garden shelter option. You can customise and decorate a pergola in any way you want. If you are looking to set up a garden space with seating opportunities, this is one of the best ways to protect your diners from the elements. A pergola is also an excellent way to add structure to an outdoor space. A pergola is something more for people who have a bit more space to play with, and are looking for an attractive focal point. Because you can add a lot of climbing plants and lighting fixtures to your pergola, it's one of the best ways to make your garden truly stand out.

If you are having a garden makeover this is a great time to think about adding shelter options. Just remember that these should work with your space - so consider the plants, lighting, and any other garden furniture you want to install.

This is a collaborative post.