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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When it comes to planning a family holiday, there’s a lot you need to take into consideration. Will there be enough to keep the children entertained at the hotel? What sort of activities can we look forward to during the day? Will we be able to afford to eat out every night? I can’t answer every question you have about booking a family holiday, but can help with the finances. Below, I’ve rounded up six ways to save money on your next family getaway this year.

Ways to save money

  1. Go all inclusive

Although all inclusive deals are usually more expensive than self-catering, such holidays can save you a small fortune when you get there. You only need to add up the number of times your kids ask for drinks, snacks and ice creams, and the cost of alcohol in some tourist destinations, and you’ll soon see why all inclusive is the preferred choice for millions of holidaymakers around the world.

  1. Go off-peak

Booking a break during the summer holidays can be significantly more expensive than off-peak, and even though parent groups have campaigned to cut prices, travel companies still win during the summer. They argue that, because there’s more demand for holidays, they’re entitled to put up their prices, so we recommend booking your break during quieter periods of the year, like May, June, September and October. You’ll still enjoy the sun, and you’ll save hundreds of pounds, too!

  1. Use a price comparison website

Search for holidays using a price comparison website such as Travezi, and you can cut hundreds of pounds off of the cost of your holiday. With thousands of hotels and flights to compare in some of the most popular city breaks and summer destinations, it makes sense to check before you book.

Ways to save money

  1. Take your own

Although some airlines put restrictions on luggage, you should still be able to fit in all of the essentials – so make sure that you do. Some travellers recommend leaving toiletries and clothes at home and buying everything you need when you get there, but this can actually be more expensive. Make sure that you pack plenty of sun cream, shower gel and toothpaste, and leave the leftovers in your hotel to save money on excess baggage charges and to give you space for your souvenirs.

  1. Weigh it

Before you head to the airport, invest in a luggage weighing device and check that your cases come under the allocated weight. Airlines can really catch you out if you’re not careful, so it pays to check.

  1. Bring a bottle

Although you can’t bring fluids through airport security, you can bring water bottles – which you can then refill when you get into the terminal. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis told Good Morning Britain that, if you take an empty bottle into the departure lounge, you’ll be able to ask for it to be refilled for free – saving you a fortune in expensive departure lounge and in-flight drinks.

B xx

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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We are just back from our Blackpool trip last week and there you realise that bed and breakfasts are a British tradition. Whether you’re holidaying by the seaside or you’re looking to save money on your business trip, booking a B&B is often the most cost-effective choice, and can offer a comfortable and personalised experience. Below, we’ve put together the pros and cons of staying in a bed and breakfast for your next getaway.

The Pros and Cons of Bed and Breakfast

PRO: They’re easy to find

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of bed and breakfasts is the fact they’re easy to find. If you’re looking for a Blackpool B&B, for example, you can use a hotel search engine such as Toprooms to find the perfect accommodation for your visit.

CON: You don’t always know what you’re buying

Unfortunately, the quality of rooms in bed and breakfast can vary significantly – even in the same hotel. With chain hotels, you can be pretty sure of what your bedroom is going to look like, and if you’re not happy, you’re able to switch immediately. Make sure that you check what room you’ll be staying in before you get there, and ask for photographs if you’re not sure.

PRO: They’re cheap

With increasing competition from budget hotel chains and more luxurious counterparts, bed and breakfasts are a cost-effective form of accommodation. Typically, you should be able to pick up a room and a full English breakfast for less than £50 per night for two during off-peak, but prices depend on the time of the year and the location of your B&B.

The Pros and Cons of Bed and Breakfast

CON: Rooms aren’t always luxurious

Because of the fact they’re at the lower end of the spectrum, bed and breakfast rooms won’t all be fitted with the luxuries you’re used to. Make sure you understand that your accommodation may be basic, and consider an alternative if you’re not sure whether or not you’d be comfortable in a room with limited facilities.

PRO: They’re located in great areas

Typically, bed and breakfasts are located a stone’s throw from key tourist destinations, business facilities or transport hubs – often much closer than larger hotels. If you’re looking for accommodation for an important business conference or a simple day out in your favourite theme park, then a bed and breakfast is often the best choice. Simply put, they’re close to where you need to be, cutting transport costs and saving you time.

CON: Parking is often an extra

Bed and breakfasts can be cheap, and owners are always cutting corners to ensure they’re making a profit from your stay. Unfortunately, this means that things such as car parking may incur an additional charge, so find out in advance and book a space if you want to be prepared. If your hotelier does charge for parking, then consider looking at alternatives, as you may be able to get a better deal than you would parking outside of the B&B.

There you have it – the pros and cons of staying in a bed and breakfast. Before you travel, make sure that you compare establishments, confirm a car parking space and ensure that you’re happy with your room. Have a great holiday!

B xx

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post

 

 

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Easter has been and gone and lets just say it has left it’s impression – namely on my waist as I had a HUGE unexpected gain at Slimming World. Well, I say unexpected, obviously I expected to put on just not that much. I was mortified. However, school holidays are never good for me as my routine goes all out the window and I go with the flow. They’re back at school and nursery on Monday so life is too short not to join in the fun and be a killjoy. So onto this weeks Little Loves. I’ve missed a few out as I was rushing to finish after our Blackpool trip!


I like many others were waiting on tenterhooks on Tuesday for the girls primary school allocation. I clicked on around 8am to find out that they both have been allocated our first choice school and will be joining Charlie at his school come September. We had the letter confirming it and reading it in black and white really hits home – they are off on their big journey. They all will be attending the school I attended as a wee mite and I love that they get to share the same lovely experiences I did, at such a wonderful little school.


We are now officially up to date with Line Of Duty meaning we can watch Gogglebox again without any spoilers ruining it. Finding Dory has also just come onto Sky Movies so we have been enjoying it. We saw it when it came out last summer and Dory is such a brilliant character, how can you not love her?!

I caught the end of Mind over Marathon last night and had a little sob at Rhian’s story. She lost her son and then her husband within 5 days. It was inspiring to see how running was helping people with mental health issues. I will be watching to see if they make the finish line of the London Marathon.

I’m also super sad that Teen Mom 2 has finished. I’ve heard that they’re putting another girl in next season? Not keen on that! I have recorded the programme about the Junior Doctors that I’m looking forward to catching up on along with Born to Killl that started on channel 4 last night. I do like it when there’s some good TV on.


The cheesiest thing ever – but I made some ace memories with the kids on our trip to Blackpool. It is the first time I’ve taken all three away overnight without the husband and whilst we had a few tantrums (standard) as a whole it was really lovely and I am totally embracing no fear parenting. I love travelling and taking them to new places so this has given me the confidence to make it happen more.

I also made the decision to join the National Trust. I have ummed and ahhed for a while and decided to take the plunge just in time for Easter Sunday where we went on an egg hunt. I also took the kids to Attingham Park on Tuesday which was lovely as the sun was glorious. I am looking forward to many more trips over the coming months.

 

We travelled up to Blackpool on Wednesday and stayed the night,. It was so lovely to get away and spend time with the kids. I am sad that the Easter holidays are coming to a close. Saying that it’s not long until the Bank Holidays and Whit week. Time to start planning our NT days out so any hints for the Midlands would be super! I’ll leave you with my vlog from Blackpool. Enjoy!

B xx

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat
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From the day your little bundle (or bundles in my case) is placed into your arms, you worry. Worry about every single decision you make, everything you say, everything you do. The one thing you are always worrying about is their health. I know throughout my pregnancy with the girls, I spent hours searching about twins and googling every symptom. We were told early on that they were measuring different sizes and I continually worried about their health when they were born.

The Worry of Being A Parent

I have to say as a whole, my kids don’t get ill very often. We had the odd sniffle but for the majority of the time, we never grind to a halt. It’s one of those things when they are poorly, you panic. You don’t to constantly bug the Doctor and make unnecessary appointments for a very minor ailment. Did you know that 81% of people  search the internet with their symptoms. Whilst it is quick and easy, it can also lead to you sometimes jumping to drastic conclusions thanks to Google and its huge variety of articles it can bring up. After looking for their symptoms, 76% of people  asked said their search results were not tailored to them; I know I have searched about headaches and it can take you to some scary brain results. Using a system such as onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com can enable you to get a more accurate analysis opposed to any Tom Dick and Harry’s article.

I started my blog in the hope that people expecting identical twins wouldn’t find article that I did all about Twin to Twin syndrome and scaremongering that twins always came severely prematurely and often spent the first few weeks and months of their lives in the neonatal unit. Obviously I know this can happen, but there seemed to be a lack of positive stories like what I experienced. My pre natal care from the NHS was outstanding and led me to be so lucky and have two healthy daughters born at term. And that my friends, is where the worrying amplified but I’ve learned to accept that it is part and parcel of being a parent.

B xx

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own. The statistics used are from a survey conducted by LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

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As Butlin’s ambassadors, we spent our February half term at Butlin’s in Minehead. We first visited Butlin’s in Bognor Regis back in May 2016 (you can read my Butlin’s Bognor Regis review here) so we were excited to be trying out a different resort. This time we were staying in the West Lakes Village which has the new style chalets. This post is all about our accommodation and I’ll be doing another post all about what we got up to next week.

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

The West Lakes Village has it’s own separate check in office. We arrived around 1.15pm after having lunch at the Hairy Dog in Minehead town, which I would definitely recommend to anyone travelling with kids as it has a HUGE outdoor play area. On arrival, we received a warm greeting from a member of staff who gave us directions to the West Lakes check in office. We pulled up outside and went in where we were quickly seen and given our welcome pack, which included our cards for our chalet and also a map and timetable for all the activities for the week. You are also able to pick up scooters from the office for the duration of your stay but with two somewhat crazy three year olds we opted out! We were given a map of the West Lakes Village and she circled which parking area was closest to our chalet. We were also given a parking pass that needs to be displayed during your stay.

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

 

The key cards don’t activate until 3pm when staying in a chalet, but you are able to use the facilities on site at Butlin’s from 1pm. We decided to drive and park up by our chalet and have a nose around. Our parking spot was about 20 metres from our front door. We were staying in the Edinburgh area and were super excited when we realised our chalet was one with a lakeside view meaning we were going to be looking out onto the lake which has lots of lovely ducks! It was a single storey three bedroom chalet with one adjoining neighbour.

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

We had a walk up to the pavilion and were impressed by the size of it all. It felt much bigger than Bognor Regis and I much preferred the layout of centre stage. The front few rows are made up of deckchairs and it really gives a holiday feel.

Around 3.30pm we walked back to our chalet to unpack. The walk from the pavilion took us around 5 minutes. We passed the Yacht and Deck restaurant which is where we ate our meals as we had a premium dining package included.
Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

We were given two key cards to the chalet and as we all walked in were really really impressed. Not only was it huge, but every detail had been thought about. From the copious amounts of storage, to a coffee table with rounded edges (any parents DREAM!) to a bathmat to loads and loads of towels, Butlin’s had it all covered. There was also an iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, fridge, kettle, lots of utensils glasses and plates, a dishwasher, two TVs (one in the living are an one in the main bedroom which has an ensuite.

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

I could write a whole post about our utterly stunning view. We had some utterly glorious mornings with late winter blue skies and I can imagine how utterly amazing these chalets are in the summer sitting on the deck area watching the ducks on the lake. There is an outdoor table with four chairs too so you can all get out there to watch the world go by. 

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

I also really want to mention the amazing housekeeping staff. We never actually met any of them but the little touches absolutely made the world of difference. We had cute towel animals and little messages left on our blackboard but what made the kids howl with laughter and delight was when we came back to find that their teddies were reading stories and the Paw Patrol were an avid audience. It’s things like this that make it feel so family friendly and that make all the difference.

Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead Butlin's West Lakes Village Minehead

I genuinely struggled to find any fault with the chalets. They were spacious, incredibly clean, fresh and modern. The area is located at the rear of the Butlin’s site so it was so quiet and peaceful. Looking out onto the lake at the ducks made it feel so tranquil and serene which, if I am being totally frank, is definitely never something I thought I would ever say about Butlin’s. For me, the accommodation absolutely changed a Butlin’s holiday. It felt luxurious and was a place we really looked forward to heading back to after a busy day out and about. Accommodation really sells a place to my husband and we have already discussed going back next year as we were both so impressed with the quality of the chalets.

I made a video review of our chalet which gives more detail of each individual room – hope you like it!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of our Butlin’s break.

B xx

Disclosure – as Butlin’s ambassadors we were given a complimentary four night stay at Butlin’s for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and images/videos are my own

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I’ve mentioned before about how my husband predominately works away during the week. We go to bed Sunday evening and he usually leaves around 4am meaning we don’t see him until around 5-6pm on a Friday. This is how it’s been pretty much our entire relationship and it’s one we are all used to.

Last week, we all headed off to Butlin’s for our second ambassador trip meaning that Daddy was home for 9 whole days! It’s interesting to see that the kids quickly gravitate towards him when he’s at home for “long” chunks of time. For me, it’s lovely just to have someone to talk to, to share the load and chip in with the mundane tasks.


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