We are heading off to Bluestone in December for some family fun and cannot wait. We have had quite a few breaks away this year which included my successful trip up to Blackpool alone with the kids at Easter time and we also travelled to Anglesey in the summer. I absolutely love going on holiday, but living in Shropshire means that to get to the coast is a pretty hefty car journey to get anywhere.

I refuse to let long journeys deter us though and here are my five top tips to make car journeys less stressful.

  • Snacks – the less messy the better. Try to avoid giving them loads and loads of drinks because who wants to have to stop every five minutes?!
  • In-car entertainment – get the tablets and iPad fully charged, along with the portable DVD players and definitely DO NOT FORGET THE HEADPHONES! It is nice to have a bit of quiet time so dishing out the electronics mid journey can offer a touch of harmony and sanity for everyone.
  • Books – Charlie is a complete bookworm and will happily sit and read the whole way there. They are a great way to get the kids reading and are the best for when the electronics run out of battery!
  • Pillows – why would you not want to encourage sleeping?! I like to have my own pillow to snuggle up in the car and if you’re travelling when it’s cold, a bit blanket is also a must.
  • Old School Games – no car journey is complete without a good old fashioned game of I-Spy and the colour car game. These are fun ways to get everyone involved and if you’re playing with four year olds, it usually provides some interesting answers!

Make sure before you head off on a long journey you give your car the once over, whether that be checking the oil level to the tyres. If it’s summer make sure you have your air con filled up or in winter, that your battery isn’t going to conk out on you; kwik-fit.com can help you check all of these things if you pop into your nearest branch.

B xx

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As we trudge our way through October, the dark nights and cold mornings are upon us and with Christmas still feeling that bit too far away to get excited, my mind always turns to a holiday and getting away from the doom and gloom England offers throughout the winter months.

I absolutely love getting away; whether it be a night away in a hotel or planning a big family holiday abroad, I always like to have SOMETHING to focus on. I am definitely the sort of person that once we land, I will be googling our next trip. Winter sun seems SO appealing right now but in all honesty it seems unlikely this year.

By far, my favourite family holiday was our trip to Disneyland Paris last December where all the Christmas decorations were up and the pure magic of Disney shone through. We flew to Disney and used Purple Parking at the airport so it made our trip super simple and stress free.

In an ideal world, I would absolutely love to travel to New York. I have never been to American and as a kid, it is one of the places that really sticks in your mind. So many TV shows and films are filmed there and growing up, America was just everywhere so I have always dreamed of visiting there.

I’d absolutely love to take a road trip from New York to Florida taking in all America has to offer on the way. Granted, it would take almost a day to drive between the two it but still!


These two iconic cities are two I want to visit more than anything. As a huge Disney fan, a trip to Walt Disney World is stuff of my childhood dreams so to visit Florida would be the final piece of the puzzle. In New York, I want to visit Ground Zero as it is so important to remember the awful events of 9/11. I always wanted to visit for my 30th, but it now looks like it’s more likely to be my 40th. These two places are heads and shoulders above anywhere else I want to travel in the whole world.

Where is your dream destination?

B xx

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Disneyland Paris welcomes everyone but it is actually tailor-made for 5 to 8-year olds. Kids of this age group enjoy the park’s classic rides and are also old enough to experience thrill rides as well. As there are way too many rides and attractions in the park’s multiple themed lands all competing for you and your child’s attention, it will greatly help if you create a plan with general daily itinerary.

By learning the basics and taking time for some research, you can avoid some Disney mistakes many parents experience.

Buy tickets ahead of time.

You can avoid the lines at the ticket window simply by purchasing in advance at the Disneyland’s website. If you’re looking to stay for around three days, you should order a multi-day and Park Hopper tickets ahead of time. You can also find discounts and deals on the Disney site that isn’t available to purchase at the ticket window.

Reserve your own character dinner.

disneyland

You can make reservations online to dine at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel. And you don’t have to be a hotel’s guest to enjoy the company of Disney characters strolling from table to table meeting children. The food too is great as well. Reserving a character meal is also fun, though it might feel a little bit rushed.

Get there early.

Check out the official opening house for the day/s you’re planning to visit. It’s wise to show up about an hour in advance so you can queue early. Sometimes the park opens up early to let visitors explore the Main street and shop in the many stores littering it until the rest of the park opens. As a plus, you’ll have more time finding the parking and getting to the gate as well.

Maximise Fast Passes.

The fast pass system lets you save a place in line for some rides – and it’s free! Fast pass assigns you a one-hour arrival window later within the day. Read up on how it works or ask a park staff so you can take full advantage of it all day instead of wasting your precious time at the park figuring it out.

disneyland

Give yourself some fun as well!

Rider Switch passes allow parents (plus older brothers and sisters) enjoy rides that aren’t intended for small children instead of just standing in line all over again. Take note that only certain rides have the Rider Switch option, but the Disney site will have this information for everyone.

Note all the closed attractions.

If your kids are looking forward a specific ride, you can avoid disappointment by taking note of closed attractions during your visit. This information is oftentimes available in Disney website. This information is available on the Disney website.

Precaution against lost children.

Disneyland, regardless of city your visiting it in, is a vast wonderland. Lost children must be instructed to go to the nearest Cast Member if they get separated from you. A Cast Member will take the child to Lost Children, which is sited in the Baby Care Centres at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. Children should know your phone number and if they don’t, you can place a number on a piece of tape inside the child’s jacket or shirt collar. The Cast Members in Lost Children will ask the child if they know their parent’s number in order to reunite the family and child as fast as possible.

Keeping everyone extra safe

Since you’ll most likely be a tourist, don’t forget to get yourself an overseas travel insurance for every adult in your group so you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re protected from most travel hiccups. Since most insurance plan includes your children in the package, you must secure it weeks leading to your travel to maximise its use. Have fun and keep safe!

B xx

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It’s been a very different week to usual. As a stay at home parent, my days usually revolve around school runs so it has been nice this week to break out of my routine, albeit for just 24 hours! Not only that, but my husband is back from Norway after not seeing him for 11 days which is lovely to have him home. So let me share my rather exciting week with you all.


On the train down to London, my Netflix just would not work with the rubbish train WiFi so I ended up reading a book I’d downloaded to my iPad ages ago called The Bad Mother’s Diary. It has gotten really interesting where she was dumped at the altar, but I have to say it was quite obvious early on what was going to happen in regards to the lead and this Alex chap. I am hoping there may be a curveball but it’s seeming unlikely.

 

As you all probably know I am a bit of a Zoflora Addict and I saw on a Facebook group that people had been giving their vacuum cleaners a good clean by basically bathing them. After getting a pencil wedged in my hoover pipe, trying to fish it out made me heave a little by the grime that was also coming out. I decided to put what I’d read into practise and voila – Henry has a bath! I have to say he now smells beautiful and when I vacuum not only is it not full of grime but smells amazing too!

I have discovered Suits on Netflix and am hooked. I have been wanting a good long running series to get my teeth into for a while and Suits has fulfilled that for me. Alongside that, I have started Grace and Frankie which is SO funny, but not one for sensitive ears. I absolutely love that Jane Fonda stars as one of the leads and it’s not all about gorgeously young slim folk.

I also watched another(!) programme about Princess Diana where her brother was talking about her. I always find him an odd one as reports seem to show that they weren’t ever that close, nor after she died did he have much to do with the boys despite his rather damning speech at her funeral. I just find it all mildly hypocritical how he chats about her yet the way she talked of him painted a very different picture. I still cannot believe she died 20 years ago. Utter madness watching it all back and how the public pressure meant William and Harry were forced to grieve so publicly at such a horrific time for them.


On Wednesday I headed over to Netflix HQ to meet up with the rest of the Stream Team and meet the guys behind the Netflix Stream Team. It was such a brilliant day where we got to decorate biscuits, make our own terrains and also make our own bespoke perfume! Not only that, but we got to talk TV all day – heaven. It was lovely to meet up with other bloggers including some old friends. Netflix ran through some really exciting additions coming up soon which I will be sharing with you. I know you are going to LOVE the birthday idea. I’ll be writing about it very soon so keep your eyes peeled.

 


The night before the Netflix event, I was kindly put up in the super swanky Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch which was gorgeous and had the biggest TV in the universe. I absolutely loved being able to starfish in a huge bed with no little people jumping on me at 5.30am.
I slobbed around in this rather gorgeous slippers and robes feeling like a princess as I watched TV in bed and got to choose whatever I wanted – result!
netflix stream team

I have dug out the autumn colours and despite carrying a bit of extra weight that I am really struggling to lose, I am enjoying wearing seasonal shades. It always help to stand in a pretty Instagram-able rooftop too and co-ordinate with a sunflower!

netflix stream team

My hair is at the stage where it’s not short but not long, if that makes sense?! Can’t decide whether to grow it or lop it off again. This photo makes me want to go short, we shall see!


I am not showing you an after photo of my iced biscuits because you all know I didn’t take the kids so can’t pretend they did them. Mine were awful! I am definitely not poised for a career in icing that’s for sure. Regardless of the below parr icing, the biscuits tasted amazing and the kids just loved them.

netflix stream team

We also got to make our own perfume scent which was really interesting finding out how much works goes into every single scent. I was addicted to the one that smelt like parma violets and would happily have just had a bottle purely of that one!
netflix stream team


Tomorrow sees me travelling up to Manchester for Blog On. This will be my fourth time going and I just love it. It’s at a different venue this time so it’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out to previous conferences. I am really looking forward to seeing so many friends there and again I will be having a hotel room all to myself! How typical – I never do anything hen in the space of a few days I sound like a jetsetter. I’m sure normality will resume next week.

B xx

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I was a little preoccupied last week with adjusting to having three children at school, opposed to one. We had such a lovely summer that as it ended and I knew school edged ever closer, it felt somewhat bittersweet. The girls have spent over a week in reception class and it’s safe to say that despite an initial first day wobble, they’ve taken to it better than I ever could have coped for. I am also trying to get used to being home alone for six hours a day.


After reading that The Highway Rat is going to be on TV this Christmas, I decided I would get us a copy. I’m sure we had it from the library a while back, but I wanted to buy the book so we can read it on the lead up so everyone is aware of it. I also indulged in a few trashy magazines as my husband is away in Norway working for ten days so I have been quite lonely of an evening. I am getting old as I know so little about the celeb world!


I tuned in to watch Liar on ITV and was hooked. I have really gotten into TV lately seeing as my husband has been away so much. I didn’t realise it was a six part series so was pleased, but not quite sure how they’ll be able to string it out for 6 weeks? We shall see. I found it really good although it raises such a huge question for both sides of rape/rape accusations for both parties.

A few weeks ago, I binge watched all of Doctor Foster so am now watching it “in real time” I find myself having to bite my lip throughout as I bloody HATE Simon. He is SO smug and so annoying to watch – hats off to the actor who plays him absolutely spot on to stir up such hatred. I still have the last few episodes of The Crown to get through on Netflix too. So much good TV on at the moment!


I swear I was born in the wrong decade; at 31 my radio station of choice is Smooth FM. I have been having it on pretty much all day when I am at home now I don’t have kids TV on loop. I absolutely love the classics they play and can often be found belting out a mowtown classic at midday.


I definitely think the chance of an Indian Summer have slipped away under a river of rain. I have dug out all my jumpers and have been hibernating under them. This is a favourite that I bought a few weeks ago (apologies for the multiple recycled image of me!)

I got it from a shop in our local town that has been there forever and sells such gorgeous stuff. It’s so soft and I adore the colour too.


I finally made it back to the gym! As regular readers will know, I gained a whopping stone over the summer holidays so it’s been mission lose weight. I am pleased to say I lost 3.5lbs last week and today will be my third gym session this week. I am hoping that this will expedite the weight loss and I’ll see a good number again next Tuesday morning on the scales.

The girls were sent a Barbie styling head so we’ve had lots of fun playing and making up some wacky hairdos. They absolutely love it but lets hope they don’t decide they want pink hair!

Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head Review


I am off to London ON MY OWN on Tuesday! I am off to a Netflix event and am super excited. Quite weirdly, also about travelling on my own. I know for many it’s not something they’d relish in but I am quite looking forward to being carefree, albeit for 24 hours.

B xx

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Last summer you probably spotted groups of kids and parents roaming the streets everywhere trying to find and catch Pokémon; this summer it’s gone back to basics and here in Shropshire there’s a new craze – Shropshire Rocks, in the literal sense.

shropshire rocks

What is Shropshire Rocks?

It started by a lady called Rachel in July and was inspired by the Whidbey Island Facebook Community, where you decorate a rock and hide it in various locations for someone to find. Someone will then find the rock and (hopefully) take and share a photo to the Facebook group. Afterwards, they re-hide it so someone else can do the same. Such simple fun!

I spotted various family and friends sharing photos on their Facebook pages and decided to join the main Facebook group which currently has over 17.5k members! I then realised how huge this ace activity had gone, but not only that what a brilliant idea it is. If you think about it, it is SO simple yet gets kids being creative and crafty whilst getting them out and about. Best of all? It’s an incredibly cheap fun day out for all the family.

shropshire rocks

How can I get involved in Shropshire Rocks?

All you need to do is find a little rock of stone and decorate it however you want. There are some incredibly detailed rocks but we just did simple squiggles on ours. Some are painted, some are just drawn on with sharpies. It seems the general consensus that coating them in varnish or clear nail varnish is the best way to prolong them not to mention making them look super funky. You can post your finding/creations on the Shropshire Rocks Facebook page.

We went out with my friend and her boys and we were soon all hunting and getting incredibly excited when we found one. We managed to find six on our little walk and it gave us the bug to come home and do our own. It’s probably the only time I will ever be grateful that we have a gravelled drive so have access to stones!

shropshire rocks

I am hoping the weather stays nice for the last few weeks of the holidays so we can get out more hunting and hiding. Some of the rocks have been travelling far and wide – some even took them to America! I love that these Shropshire rocks will be found for weeks, months and even years all over the country and world. It is such a brilliant concept and I think all local communities should try to do the same as it’s a great way to get kids off their tablets and doing what they do best – being kids having fun!

B xx

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Summer is upon us and Facebook tells me that the world and their wife are off on their jollies. Whether they’re jetting off to sunnier climes or off exploring in the mountains, summer is without a doubt the time to get away with the kids off school for six long weeks.

I love going on holiday but one thing I don’t love is packing, especially with three kids. I don’t think you realise how much “stuff” kids really need. I remember us taking the girls away for a week when they were two months old and the amount of stuff we crammed into the car was something a tetris champion would be proud of. Flying is even more of a logistical nightmare. With four-year old twin daughters who are exceedingly “spirited,” trying to tell them they can’t take 14 bags filled with remotes, bottle lids, scraps of paper and random bits of string with them is a somewhat daunting prospect. Add in the dilemma of liquid restrictions with formula feeding infants and hungry toddlers wanting snacks every five minutes, the relaxation of being beach side soon fades into a chaotic stress-fest before you’ve even left the ground. P&O Ferries are helping reduce the stress this summer with their joyful way to travel meaning the journey there doesn’t have to be the part we as parents dread. You have the freedom of packing what you want without worrying about getting fined for going over with a crammed case. Imagine being able to pack freely – sounds pure bliss!

P&O Ferries asked us what would be in our ultimate holiday suitcase so I asked the kids. Their faces lit up at the prospect of zero restrictions and things they know would get a big no-no, if they decided to pop them in the coveted (not to mention limited on weight) family suitcase. I asked Charlie first and let me tell you, Charlie is such a book-worm. A ten minute car journey to the supermarket, you can be certain he will grab a book and sit with his nose in it for the duration. He reads at lightning pace so each trip to the library, you know he is going to max out the 10 book limit. Charlie’s ultimate suitcase would look like this:

 

On top of the stack of books, he chose his tablet and headphones; minecraft won’t play itself now would it! I know there’s been some talk of issues with tablets and iPads on flights, so you know that on a ferry you won’t have any of these worries. He also loves his Star Wars light sabers which he and his Dad love to wind me up having mini fights. In his ultimate suitcase, size and dimension restrictions don’t matter so he would be able to take it on board. He is also a big fan of the board game and is forever asking to play Monopoly so what better time than a family holiday. As it’s so bulky it’s usually banished to the top of his wardrobe but it’d get an airing I’m sure. What ultimate suitcase isn’t complete without an Iron Man mask and his beloved cactus known as Steve! I’m sure Steve would take pride of place on a hotel windowsill in the South of France.

I then decided to as the girls what they would take and more predictably they chose teddies. Oodles and oodles of teddies. Usually I only limit them to one when travelling, but a trip using a P&O ferry would mean a few extra stuffed toys wouldn’t eat up on the precious baggage allowance you’re restricted to with an aeroplane.

All this talk, led me onto thinking about own my ultimate suitcase. It’s a known fact that my husband would happily tell you all that I do not travel light. A one night stay can warrant at least three pairs of shoes so can you imagine what I would take for a fortnight away? I know my suitcase would be packed for a trip to the sun. I absolutely love a good beach holiday so that’s where I would be packing for. As you may have guessed, shoes would be the first thing in the case – hundreds of them. From flip flops, to cute ballet pumps to skyscraper heels I would be chucking them all in to my hearts content. Some fun in the sun calls for a refreshing gin and tonic. I am a bit of a gin snob so I would be packing my own and would be able to take it in my handbag for the first drink of the holiday (probably as soon as the boat departs!) There would be the iPad in there so I didn’t have to miss out on updating my Instagram with the obligatory shots of wine glasses set against bright blue skies and the sea, not to mention checking in as we arrived – bragbook indeed! Charlie inherits his traditional ways from me and I’d be taking a good book to read next to the pool, where I’d be rocking numerous pairs of OTT sunglasses. I would also take our own pillows as there’s nothing like sleeping with a pillow from home for the ultimate comfort. As a bit of a Disney-a-holic, Minnie ears are classed as an essential as you never know when you may need them.

Now finally, would I be allowed to throw Tom Hardy in the case as an essential..? I think he definitely qualifies as that and I’m sure he’d have his own passport.

No matter what the purpose of your trip, travelling on a P&O ferry makes life simpler than I could ever imagine. As a parent of three kids that my friends is music to my ears. P&O ferries are making it simpler for all travellers to get away via their ferries. Put all the long airport security queues and motorway traffic jams behind you and try P&O Ferries this summer. Just don’t forget the “essentials” whatever they may be for you all.

B x

Disclosure – this is a sponsored post written in collaboration with P&O Ferries

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