Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Summer Holiday Essentials

It's that time of year where most of us are packing our bags and jetting of to a far away land of sun, sea and sand. Sadly for me this years holiday is not going to stretch much further than the good old English beaches, but for the rest of you lucky lot I have come up with a top ten of your holiday essentials from T-Shirts to Tea bags. Now you might be looking at some of them and thinking "Well obviously!" but you would be surprised at some of the simple things us Brits forget to pack.

  1. Luggage - OK,so before anything else, the first thing you need is luggage. The type of luggage you need will depend on where you are going. Are you traveling with someone? or children? Then you will need a fair sized suitcase for all your things. Going on a short city break then check out the smaller sized cabin suitcase ranges available.
  2. Clothing - Yes I'm talking about your T-shirts, shorts and what ever else you plan to wear out and about on your holidays. It's all very well to get the sexy swimsuit and designer sandals sorted but when it comes to walking around town or going out for dinner your bikini just wont cut it. Don't forget the wardrobe essentials!
  3. Swimwear - Most guys will just pick out any old pair of trunks and be done with it. But for us ladies picking the perfect swimsuit takes time, planning and lots of prototypes! We take this kind of thing seriously. After all this is the thing that we have been dieting for , this is the single most important item of clothing in the suitcase and the reason we have been doing early morning sit ups religiously for. We can all look decent enough in a pair of linen shorts and a cute T-shirt, but when it comes to the swimsuit we have to look "bellissimo".Lucky for us ladies we are inundated with women's swimwear designs so you are sure to find one that's perfect for you.
  4. Cables/Leads/Chargers - Nearly all of us will take some sort of gadget with us on holiday and with the iPods, Kindle's, Smart phone's, digital cameras and camcorders taken away with us it's not surprising that many of us will forget the necessary chargers needed to use them. Don't forget your chargers and if needed an adapter for your plug dependent on the country you are visiting.
  5. Toiletries - Forgetting your essential toiletries on holiday can be as bad as forgetting your clothes. After all imagine having to go for week without your shampoo and skin cream. Granted we could get some toiletries at the hotel but us ladies know how naked we feel without our favorite perfume on. Get yourself a toiletry bag and fill that baby right up. You can never take too many toiletries.
  6. A Good Book - Delays are inevitable when travelling. Even if travel plans go smoothly there will be some point in your journey that you will be waiting around whether its waiting to check in or even on a long plane journey a good book or even a couple of your favorite glossy magazines are a must. Beat the boredom and pass the time a little quicker by getting lost in some literature even if it is from "Vogue".
  7. Protection - No, I'm not talking about the rubber kind (although if you are single and looking to mingle then go for it) I'm talking about UV protection. Too many people get ill from not taking the necessary precautions in the heat, so remember your sun cream, hats and your sun shades. Enjoy the sun as much as you like after all that's why we go, but stay safe and sensible in the sun.
  8. A Good Brew - Chances are that when you are away you will have to endure some not so pleasant local teas and coffees. So if like me you know what you like (in my case a good strong mug of Yorkshire tea) then don't forget to pop a few tea bags in your case or if coffee is your thing put some into a zip lock bag and tuck it away. I personally can't start the day without my brew and I would never go abroad without taking some...just in case.
  9. Sensible Shoes - While we have so much fun purchasing our sexy sandals we just now are going to look so hot against our tanned feet on the beach chances are you are going to be doing much more walking than you would at home. Even strolling along the beach is bound to clock up those miles. If you know you are going to be going sightseeing or maybe visiting some nearby towns then comfortable footwear is a must! Don't let painful blisters ruin your day and cut your walks short. Try out your footwear before you by them. Can you imagine walking all day in them?
  10. First Aid Kit - You don't have to rush out to the nearest chemist and purchase an expensive first aid kit. Get yourself a cheap toiletry bag and fill with the first aid essentials should you have any minor injuries  Make sure you have some plasters, insect repellent, bite/sting cream, painkillers, diarrhea remedies and some antihistamines. Chances are your wont need to use any but if you get in any trouble at least you have it to hand. Also you could be charged an obscene amount of money for emergency treatment/medicines, even if it was just Piriton!
So there you have it, my own top ten holiday essentials. Yes I could have easily wrote a top 100 as the list is endless when you start thinking of what to bring on holiday but with these things you are sure to have a safe and worry free holiday! With so many places online now, its easy to snap up some last minute bargains for your holiday. Take a look on Littlewoods online and check our their range of everything you need for a perfect summer vacation.

Are you going away this year? I'd love to know where you are going? What do you pack and more to the point what do you always forget?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Gallery- I made....

Blog land with be alive with beautiful pictures of handcrafted cakes, chic furniture which has been restored by hand and amazing crochet shawls as the theme this week is "I made this"

While I am quite capable of making a cake that not only tastes great but looks gorgeous to the eye too, I am by no means a crafty kind of person. While I would love the inner flair which would make me turn a drab old chair into an unbelievable chic focal piece that would make everyone green with shabby envy! Sadly I am the type of person that would just go and pay for it "ready made".

But there is one thing that I did make.. Something which is so perfect, nothing I can ever make will come close to make me feel so proud of creating such an amazing masterpiece.

And here is that beautiful creation....

Yes there were a few male chromosomes kicked in shhh .. keep that quiet.

Aalliyah truly is the love of my life and I will never make anything as precious as her.

I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful chic and creative pictures this week. Head over to Sticky Fingers to check out all the entries.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Making Plans

Ok, So the summer holidays are finally here! I have been waiting for them with such excitement for so long. I absolutely love all the school holidays and half terms. I genuinely enjoy spending every minute with Aalliyah. We have so much fun together you would think that we were best friends (minus the age gap) But even with all the excitement, I can't help feeling those pangs of dread. I'm anxious that I will not be able to organize many good things over the holidays. I worry that my limited budget will leave me with very few things to do and fear that the 6 weeks will fly by and we will have very few memories to show for it. So today I started mentally planning things we could do, even if it was one or two things a week, to ensure that Aalliyah would go back to school in September knowing she had an enjoyable summer. So far our plans include a day trip to Gullivers land and a few nights away in Blackpool, with lots of cinema, swimming and picnics days in between. 

What have you got planned for the summer? Anything nice? 

If you are stuck for inspiration or want to find out how you can have lots of summer fun on a budget then check out my Top ten of things to do this summer by clicking here

Monday, 22 July 2013

Summer Fun On A Budget

While the approach of the summer holidays brings excitement for us parents it can bring a sense of panic. Six week is a long time and for those who (like me) are living with "very" tight purse strings it can be hard to find entertaining things to do or places to go that wont break the bank. I have come up with a top ten of things to do in the holidays which are guaranteed to provide a fun filled day without having to file for bankruptcy.

  1. Visiting Country Parks - You are never far away from a beautiful country park. They offer a gorgeous landscape to walk or cycle around, a place to picnic, a place to spot wildlife and a place to let your imagination run free. There are so many beautiful parks across England and further afield, why not check out where your nearest park is by clicking here.
  2. Visiting Museums - Museums are a wonderful way to spend the day. They offer a fantastic way to inject some culture and education into a day trip. Also being that most museums offer free admission (most have a donation box inside) they prove to be a popular choice for parents. Lose yourself in the wonders of history or science and spend the day soaking up all that our British museums have to offer.My favorite has to be the Natural History Museum in London.
  3. Go By Rail - Wherever you do go this summer ask yourself this..Can you go by rail? If the answer is yes then hop on board as most rail companies offer amazing discounts during the summer holidays like child tickets for just £1 as well as teaming up with attractions such as Legoland and Madame Tussauds to offer 2-4-1 entry when showing your rail ticket.
  4. Bargain Movies - Everyone loves a trip to the cinema but lets face it, its not as purse friendly as it used to be, thats why Vue and Cineworld both offer a summer holiday (and weekend) service offering film showings at a hugely discounted rate of around £2. The movies are usually not much more than a month old and make is easy to fit in a cinema trip each as often as you like!
  5. Sightseeing - Doesn't cost a thing and when its somewhere you have never been before can prove to be an exciting adventure. Take your camera or some binoculars and just have fun taking in your surroundings wherever you are. In the city? Hop on a local sight seeing bus for a more detailed tour.
  6. Visiting Beaches - There is nothing better than lounging on a beautiful beach on a hot summers day. With the sea at your feet to cool off, beaches offer the perfect getaway to escape for the day(or longer) There are some beautiful beaches around us from the quiet secluded ones to the bustling family ones. Check out your nearest beach by clicking here.
  7. Visiting Libraries - Libraries are a great place to visit at anytime but even more so in the school holidays. You will find that most libraries hold varied events throughout the holidays such as arts and crafts days and police workshops. They always hold some sort of summer reading challenge to get the children involved in and the many events they hold are guaranteed to get the children excited about reading. Visit your local council page to find out more about whats on at your local library.
  8. Visiting Farms - Zoo's can prove to be an expensive day out for the family and one that is usually a once in a year event. So why not treat the kids by visiting your local farm? If they have a love of nature then they will love getting up close and personal to all the farm animals. They offer mini workshops and sometimes allow the children to help with certain task like cleaning or feeding. The kids will love being able to pet the smaller animals too!
  9. Swimming - Not all of us have the luxury of a nice big garden with a lovely big pool to match. Head down to the local swimming baths during the holidays. Most of them have a specifically designed timetable for the holidays offering different swimming classes and discounts. Check out your local council page to check whats on at your local baths.
  10. Camping- You don't have to drive hours and pay big bucks at a camp site. Short of cash? Pitch a tent in your back garden! Don't have a garden then borrow grannies! Have fun getting the blankets out and getting closer to nature. Spend quality time as a family telling stories and having some midnight munchies! Want to get away then check out your nearest campsite online.
There are so many things to do this summer that don't have to cost a fortune. Whatever you choose to do this summer, stay safe and have fun!

Shelby's Snack Shack Review - Learning Resources

Myself and Aalliyah are big fans of all that Learning Resources has to offer, so when we were given the opportunity to review another fantastic product we jumped at the chance. "Shelby's Snack Shack" is another fantastic board game, simple to master but gives hours of enjoyment as well as being a great educational aid.

The intended age recommendation for this game is 4 years and over. Being that Aalliyah was too old to benefit (although would still have a blast playing it) I decided to take Shelby's Snack Shack to somewhere that it could get a good and thorough road test....The classroom!!

With the agreement of the headteacher, I was able to give Shelby's Snack Shack to the reception class pupils who all had such a fun time playing it. The educational benefits of the game are incredible and it proved to be a vital learning aid. Some of the pupils have difficulty grasping a pen, so the structure of this game and the way the tweezers (Shelby) has to be held really helps to fine tune their gross motor skills.

The class teacher had nothing but good comments about Shelby's Snack Shack. The rules were very easy for her to explain to the children. The game was simple to follow and was great for helping with lower ability counting skills while still being in a fun group setting. The game got the children working together and will continue to be a firm favorite for the class.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

We've Joined The Hygiene Revolution

So.. Our household had joined the hygiene revolution. But what exactly is it? I hear you say. Well the hygiene revolution has been formed from all other claims made by other brands in the cleaning and hygiene market.
I was given a bottle of anti-bacterial surface cleaner to try out. The difference between this and any other leading spray cleaner is that this contains "Byotrol technology". With this technology these products are believed to be the only products on the market that can kill and continue to protect against germ for up to 24 hours.

Most products kill germs on contact but Byotrol technology ensures that your surfaces stay protected by creating a barrier which remains even after drying and prevents any further germs from settling again for up to 24 hours. This is amazing when most cleaners only protect against germs for less than half a minute after drying.

I'm a busy mum with a daughter who loves to get hands on in everything she does, whether its painting a picture, baking biscuits or digging in the mud for hidden treasure bottle tops, so a good cleaner that guarantees protection from germs is a must! I have found this with the hygiene revolution.
Look out for the Byotrol symbol on your products to ensure only the best protection for your family.

Want to learn more about Byotrol technology or join the hygiene revolution yourself? Head over to their Facebook page by clicking here.

Silent Sunday