SOCIAL MEDIA

Thursday, 13 June 2019

The Best Things To Do In Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and there's certainly a good reason why. With an array of beautiful beaches, plenty of leisure and sporting activities on offer and a wonderful selection of restaurants, to name just a few things, it's easy to see why Koh Samui is such a sought after holiday destination.

For those wishing to stay in a family villa in Koh Samui, Villa-Finder goes that little bit further in helping you to find the perfect villa. You'll be given your own villa consultant to assist you in selecting the perfect one as well as a concierge service to arrange anything you might need whilst away. The villa consultants have travelled to each villa in order to familiarise themselves with every one so will be able to advise on the villas that will be most suitable for you and your family's requirements.



There's so much to do and see whilst in Koh Samui. Here's my pick of the top 5 things to do!

Big Buddha Temple
Perhaps Koh Samui's most famous landmark, the Big Buddha shrine is located on a small rocky island just off the northern coast. It's a 12-metre high, golden Buddha. It is reached by a causeway that connects it to the mainland. For those arriving in Koh Samui by air, it's usually the first landmark they spot! A staircase with a colourful dragon design leads up to the platform where the Buddha sits. Around the statue are restaurants and food stalls as well as a vendor area where souvenirs can be purchased.


Buddha
  
Namuang Waterfall
There are several waterfalls in Koh Samui but the Namuang waterfall is arguably the most spectacular. There are two stunning waterfalls; one 18 metres high and the other 80 metres high. For enthusiastic hikers, they will surely enjoy the hike to reach the summit of the highest waterfall!

Koh Tao
Koh Tao which means 'turtle island' is the ultimate scuba diving destination in Thailand. The island is 55km to the north of Koh Samui and is surrounded with white sandy beaches and turquoise seas featuring vibrant, coral reefs with an abundance of marine life. An idyllic tropical paradise! 



Ang Thong National Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a beautiful archipelago of tropical islands. Featuring limestone mountains, tropical jungles, hidden coves and white sands, there's so much to explore. Book a day trip using one of the few licenced tour operators to Ang Thong to explore the stunning scenery where you'll also be able to observe an array of wildlife. Most day tours consist of hiking, lounging on the beaches, kayaking and sightseeing!



Secret Buddha Garden
Hidden away high in the hills is a secret garden with a collection of statues. Surrounded by leafy jungle and lush vegetation, unique statues of deities, animals and humans reside. The garden, found in Samui's interior, is the perfect place to explore, taking in the peaceful surroundings. 

Have you been to Koh Samui before or would you like to visit? I'd love to hear from you. 

*Collaborative post.
Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Falconer's Quest at Warwick Castle

Recently, much to my delight, we were invited to Warwick Castle to observe the new bird of prey show; The Falconer's Quest! I had last visited Warwick Castle on a school trip many years ago and had been keen to take my little boys for some time now so we couldn't wait to explore it together.

Visitors to Warwick Castle can enjoy exploring the castle itself as well as the 64 acres of landscaped gardens! There are also daily shows and activities on offer such as displays of archery. The popular castle dungeon experience is also not to be missed with its live actors and spectacular special effects. There really is something for everyone. 

peacock

The Falconer's Quest is the UK's biggest bird of prey show featuring over 70 different birds including the spectacular Andean Condor which has a wingspan on 9ft! 

The show is really quite something! It's a live action show telling the story of Hobby, who goes on a quest to discover and befriend birds of prey, bringing them back to Warwick Castle in his quest to become the best falconer Warwick Castle has ever seen. The show takes place right next to the river and begins with Hobby arriving on a boat. The atmospheric music really adds to the suspense and excitement!

falcon

During the show, different birds of prey fly over the top of the audience who are seated on wooden benches. The birds often fly very low, so close that you can feel a rush of wind as they pass by. The show builds in pace reaching its thrilling conclusion as over 70 birds take to the sky! This was my favourite part of the show, there were just so many to look at. I'd not seen anything like it before. 


bird of prey

What was really special about the show was seeing how much the falconers were enjoying the show. They obviously cared a great deal for the birds and and their passion for them was evident throughout.  

At the end of the show the falconer who played Hobby, was able to answer any questions. He was very kind and patient with the children which was lovely to observe. My six year old asked him where the birds slept at night and my three year old randomly told him he has strawberry ice-creams at home! 

children

We really recommend The Falconer's Quest. It's on everyday until the 3rd November and is suitable for all ages; it's just as thrilling for adults as it is for children. 

Warwick Castle is a wonderful day out. We enjoyed exploring the castle, climbing the towers and looking at the beautiful gardens. Not even the rain could dampen our enjoyment. 

We will definitely be back soon! 

castle


*Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted tickets to Warwick Castle in exchange for an honest review.
Sunday, 9 June 2019

The Sweetest of Gifts with Swizzels Plus Giveaway

Sweets are the perfect treat to be enjoyed across the generations. For adults, certain sweets can transport them back to their childhood, to memories of pick n' mix in a paper bag! I have fond memories of walking to the local corner shop with my Nan with ten pence in my hand to pick my favourite sweets! What a treat! And for my Nan, the taste of sweets reminds her of precious childhood days with her sisters. For my six year old little boy, sweets are the ultimate treat for him and as far as he's concerned, no party bag is complete without them! 



In recent years there has been a real revival of retro sweets. Vintage, classic sweets stir up wonderful nostalgic memories and so who can resist them? Sweet company Swizzels are the inventors of all those much loved classic and iconic sweets including Love Hearts, Drumsticks, Parma Violets and Refreshers, to name just a few. Launched in 1928, Swizzels are one of the longest running sweet companies in the world and with new, tasty sweets being launched over the years including the much loved Squashies, they continue to go from strength to strength. 


But one thing has changed since the invention of these popular sweets all those years ago and that's the introduction of online shopping. This means that all your favourite sweets can be purchased from the comfort of your home and delivered right to your doorstop. This makes them ideal to purchase for birthdays, Christmas and a whole host of special occasions or for that 'just because' gift. They also make great last minute gifts. And what's more, for a truly individual gift, Swizzels Love Hearts can be personalised! I am confident that my six year old boy would love to receive a hamper of Swizzels sweets just as much as my Nan would, although she's more likely to share them!! 


The lovely people at Swizzels have kindly provided me with a 5kg Swizzels Party Sweet Tub (RRP £24.99) to give away to one lucky winner.

Filled to bursting with 5kg of Swizzels yummy retro sweets – including Drumsticks, Parma Violets, Love Hearts and much more – this tub is the perfect way to get any party started. You could use it to style a candy buffet, to create party bags, or even to stash away for those days when your sweet tooth gets the better of you!

For your chance to win, just enter via the Gleam competition below. Can’t wait for the prize to be drawn? Head on over to the Swizzels shop and order yours today. 


sweets

Win a Swizzels Party Sweet Tub worth £24.99!

*Disclaimer: This is a paid collaboration but all opinions are my own. 
Saturday, 8 June 2019

An Essential Guide to Camping With Children!

This year we have booked a family camping trip for our summer holiday! Now that our boys are aged 3 and 6 years they have bundles of energy and so when my brother and sister-in-law suggested we book a camping trip with them as well as my two nephews, it seemed like the ideal holiday for them! And so a camping trip to Cornwall was booked! As excited as we all are for our summer holiday, I must admit, it's a little different from previous holidays we've taken them on so there's been a bit more preparation and consideration given to it. I've spent the past few months researching how to make the most of camping with small children and have also had a mini camping trip this month in order to put together a guide with lots of tips and tricks to ensure your trip is as smooth as possible! 



Preparation 
There's no two ways about it, you need a fair bit of equipment when you're camping from the tent itself to air beds, sleeping bags, chairs, tables and a cooker, to name just a few things. Start off by making a list of everything you'll need and if you can, try to buy a few items each week to spread the cost a little. You may find you can pick up some items from second hand sites or even grab a camping bundle this way! 

Test run
Once you've gathered all the items, its worth considering booking a mini trip, just one or two nights somewhere local in order to do a trial run. This is a great opportunity to firstly test out all your equipment as well as practice putting up, and sleeping in your tent. It'll enable you to discover any problems that may emerge, ie is your tent spacious enough to comfortably fit you all for the duration of your trip? It will also highlight any things you may have forgotten that ultimately will make your trip smoother, for example, on our mini trip we didn't bring a light with us which I now have down as an essential! It will also enable you to check whether you will have enough space in your car for everything that you'll need.

Essentials
I consider the absolute essential items to be the tent, air beds, sleeping bags, lights, torches, a cooker, first aid kit. pans, kettle, cutlery, plates, cups, chairs, water storage, bottle and a table. There are lots of other items that will make your stay in a tent more comfortable too but these are my key items. It's important to ensure the essential items are the right ones too, for example, I discovered that my sleeping bag was too thin so will be purchasing a new one before our holiday. My eldest son has a gorgeous sleeping bag from Deuter; it's so soft, and has a contour hood as well as a 30cm zip extension at the end. My sleeping bag certainly paled in comparison! 


Sleeping bag
Another essential item to consider is a carbon monoxide detector. CO can enter your tent from a smouldering BBQ outside so for peace of mind as well as your families safety, pack a CO alarm. The FireAngel CO-9X is small and portable with a 7 year battery life. For more information on Carbon Monoxide, visit Project Shout.
It's also important to ensure you pack long-life batteries for all those items that require them; you don't want to get half way through your trip and discover the batteries have died. Varta's Longlife Max Power Batteries are absolutely ideal to take with you; they are ideal for battery-draining items like digital cameras! 




I'm also going to pack Varta's Slim Power Bank which is a wonderful device that helps keep electronic devices charged. I always like to keep my phone nearby now I have young children should we ever need to call someone for help and so this will ensure my phone can stay charged throughout the week. They have multi USB sockets so can even charge two devices at a time!



Home Comforts
There are many ways you can add a little bit of luxury to your camping trip, for example by investing in good quality sleeping bags and air mattresses, adding tent carpets and comfortable portable furniture. There are many products out there to make your camping experience as comfortable as possible. Take a walk around your local camping shop and see which products appeal to you. One of my friends has bought herself a portable camping toilet for her holiday so she doesn't need to walk to the toilet blocks during the night!

Rainy day plans
You can plan your trip in every detail but one thing you can't control is the weather, so it's worth having some activities to hand for you and your children in case of bad weather. You may also wish to plan for activities for when you all need a little bit of relaxing downtime. I really love Little Brian Paint Sticks. They are a convenient and fun way for your child to paint! The paint sticks twist up and down just like a glue stick so the paint can be directly applied to the paper with out the need for paintbrushes and water! We will definitely be packing these in our cases! 
I also love Munch Cats! magazines. They are plastic-free, environmentally friendly magazines. Each issue is jam-packed with activities, craft ideas and puzzles. They aim to encourage children to become environmentally aware, to love nature and they also encourage upcycling of single-use plastic and household items. The magazines are free from plastic and are 100% recyclable. I would have loved these as a child so I'll certainly enjoy reading them with my boys!


Making life a little easier
I'm planning a few little ways to make our camping holiday go smoothly. Firstly, I'm going to bring along some snacks for the week to keep our energy levels up. I've recently discovered protein balls from The Protein Ball Co. They are tasty, sweet balls made with natural, high quality ingredients; perfect for keeping hunger at bay! There are 8 unique flavours including Cherry Bakewell and Peanut Butter for example and they are suitable for vegetarians!



I'm also going to buy some additional storage to ensure that we are not tripping over our suitcases in the night. Camping storage can include collapsible shelving units and compact cupboard units for example. I will definitely be happier with a bit of order to the tent! 

Lastly, I want to ensure we take backpacks with us for when we're out and about, walking around the local towns or taking trips to the beach, for example. Anyone with young children will know just how much you end up carrying out with you; wipes, suncream, changes of clothes ect! I love the range of backpacks from Deuter. They make adult sized ones each with a generous capacity and even ones ideal for your toddler and young child so they can also carry some of those essential out and about items! Explore the range here.


So there you have it, my essential guide for camping with children! I will be covering my camping trip on the blog later in the year so stay tuned to see how we get on! 

Do you have any camping trips planned or have any essential camping items to recommend? I'd love to hear from you! 


*Disclaimer; we were kindly gifted the above items in exchange for an honest review. I will only ever recommend items to you that I truly believe are high quality.



Friday, 7 June 2019

Educational Fun with Learning Resources!

Children have curious little minds, often striving to figure out just how something works and so naturally they will love toys that feed their curiosity. My little boys are now aged 3 and 6 years and both really love any toys that help them make sense of the world and so we were delighted when the educational toy company Learning Resources got in touch to see if we would like to explore some of the items they stock. 

We were kindly sent some Beakers Creatures Reactor Pods, A Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab and a Playfoam set to review. 


Beaker Creatures are fun little aliens from five different planets which can be identified using the classification cards included with each Beaker Creatures product. There are 35 to collect including some super rare ones!

Beaker Creatures

The Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab is a 15-piece set that contains everything you need in order to extract and identify the Beaker Creatures from their reactor pods. Setting up the lab is really straightforward and only took a couple of minutes to complete. A reactor pod is placed in the beaker and then water is pumped into it using the syringes. The water then begins to bubble and fizz until the creature is free. It can then be removed using the tongs and then identified using the classification cards! 

Beaker creatures super lab

Beaker creatures super lab

The boys enjoyed every second of playing with this set. They both love collectibles, especially where there is an element of surprise to it, and so this really appealed to them. Each set contains two of the pods but more can be bought to ensure the lab can be used time and again. 

beaker creatures super lab

From a parent's perspective, the lab was simple to use and easy to clean, providing lots of excitement and fun. I will definitely be recommending it to friends. 

We were also sent some Beaker Creatures Reactor Pods which we placed into a bowl of water to enable the bubbling process to begin. The boys loved watching the bubbles and listening to the fizzing. They had both picked a creature that they hoped would be in their pods and amazingly they both found they had the exact one they had hoped for! What are the odds of that?! They were certainly very happy with that and have been keen for me to order some more for them! 

We also explored the Playfoam Combo 8-pack which is a wonderful creative play resource. 

Playfoam

Playfoam provides endless fun for children; it has really unique bead-like texture (perfect for sensory play!) and can be molded into different shapes. I really loved how Playfoam only sticks to itself rather than to tables, skin and carpet for example. It also never dries out so is certainly value for money! The boys firstly experimented making shapes from the different colours and then mixed the colours to make colourful designs! The colours don't end up mixing to create that browny/grey colour in the way modelling dough does. The Playfoam appealed to both boys and was a hit in our house! So much so, that I purchased a pack for my friend's little boy! 

Playfoam

I'm really pleased to have discovered Learning Resources, they have a wide array of interesting, unique and stimulating products for children and at great prices too! 

*We were kindly sent the above items in exchange for an honest review. 


Sunday, 2 June 2019

The Read Everyday Challenge With A Giveaway From The Book People!

Books, glorious books! Is there anything more wonderful in life than completely and utterly immersing yourself in a book? If you enjoy reading, you'll know all too well the feeling of finishing a book and feeling a little bit bereft that you're no longer still sharing the world of the characters you've grown to love. It's no secret that I consider myself a bit of an introvert and so for me, reading is the ultimate escapism; a way for me to be both alone yet still in company. Books can transport you back in time, can launch you into the future, fly you through the stars and have you home in time for tea. By introducing children to the joy of reading, you give them the gift of new and exciting worlds and enable them to journey on an array of spellbinding adventures. I've been keen to introduce my little boys to the wonderful world of reading from an early age and so I've always endeavoured to provide them with access to books and to read regularly to them. And now that my eldest can read, I try to encourage him to enjoy quiet time exploring his books too. It's not always easy to get children to read; some will love it and others will need more encouragement and so I'd like to introduce you to the Read Everyday Challenge. The idea is to read to your child each day. If your child is older and is either starting to learn to read, or can confidently read, they may wish to read to you, or by themselves. This could be a chapter from a fiction book or pages from a fact book; whatever sparks their interest! If you have younger children, this could be a book a day; many books aimed at preschool and primary school-aged children are just the right length to capture their attention and are full of bright and captivating illustrations! Perfect for snuggling up together!


baby, reading

Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing ideas to help encourage your children to read everyday, sharing some of the ways books have inspired my little boys and the benefits of reading to your child.

I'm delighted to be collaborating with The Book People to help promote the word about the Read Everyday challenge. The Book People are my favourite online bookstore; they have a wonderful selection of high quality books at amazing value. Their range of children's books is inspiring as they feature both timeless classics as well as exciting new releases. With up to 75% off the RRP, books can be purchased at unbelievable prices, making books the ultimate birthday, Christmas or 'just-because' gift! 

Below are some wonderful selections currently available at The Book People and what's more you can win them in the competition below! 


books

The 13-Storey Treehouse Collection- 8 Books- Andy Griffiths
Andy and Terry live in the world's tallest treehouse. As the series continues, extension after extension is added to the treehouse and at one point it even hosts a sports stadium! Your child will love these funny and wacky stories! Find them here.

Wonder- RJ Palacio
An uplifting and inspiring story about a boy with who was born with a facial disfigurement and who is due to start high school after being home-schooled for years. A thought-provoking and compelling read. Find it here.

The Worst Witch- Jill Murphy
This delightful and enchanting book tells the tale of how Mildred Hubble became a trainee at Mrs Cackle's Academy for witches. With magical mayhem galore, this is perfect for young readers! Grab your copy here.

How to Catch a Star- Oliver Jeffers
This charming story with captivating illustrations, is the perfect book to enjoy with small children. It follow the tale of a little boy who loved the stars so much that he decides to catch one of his own. Find it here.

Horrid Henry Collection- 12 Books- Francesca Simon
Children will love this collection of Horrid Henry books! He's cheeky, naughty and causes chaos wherever he goes! Find the collection here.

Quentin Blake Collection-10 Books
This delightful collection of books will be adored by your child. They feature a collection of picture books full of loveable characters and quirky stories. The iconic illustrations will captivate and amuse your child. A wonderful collection. Find yours here.

A Wrinkle In Time
This spectacular science fiction book revolves around the characters Meg and her brother Charles as they stumble on a gap in time and embark on an amazing adventure! Find your copy here! 

Coghart Collection- 3 Books- Peter Bunzl
These exciting and thrilling adventure stories will be sure to capture the imagination of any young reader. Find them here! 

For your chance to win this amazing collection of books, just enter the competition below! 

Would you like to take part in the Read Everyday Challenge? I'd love to hear how you get on! 
Win An Amazing Book Bundle From The Book People!





*Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted the above books along with a another bundle to giveaway. All opinions are my own. 



Saturday, 1 June 2019

Treat Your Dad: A Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day will soon be here and so if you're looking for some last minute inspiration, then look no further with my 2019 Father's Day gift guide! 

Blue Tea Box 
Delivered in a classy, slim, letter box friendly box, a Blue Tea Box subscription box would make a really unique gift and one that can be delivered to your father's front door each month. You can select one tea to be delivered each month or a selection of three different types and you can specify whether your preference is for black, herbal, connoisseur, infusion or healthy teas or you can even request for a surprise. Each of the teas are ethically sourced and of the highest quality. If your dad loves a cuppa, he'll be in for a treat! Find out more here.


tea

Creative Nature Superfoods
If your father loves baking, these beautiful baking mixes from Creative Nature Superfoods will be right up his street. What's more, they are allergen free, refined sugar free and organic. The ingredients are all pre-measured and make delicious baked goods. There's a range of different mixes including banana bread, chocolate chip muffins and brownies, to name just a few. It's a great activity to involve children/ grandchildren with too. Find out more here.
cake mix

Steel Bonnets Blended Malt Whiskey
This is the perfect gift for any whiskey-loving dad. A blend of English and Scotch whiskeys with hints of creamy vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and dried fruit wrapped up in that comforting layer of wood smoke. At it's heart is a single malt whiskey from the Lakes Distillery- a fine whiskey, gin and vodka distillery based in the Lake District. A beautiful gift which comes with a stunning metal presentation box too. Find yours here.



Eat Your Hat Ultimate Gift Set- Coffee and Chocolate
For any father that loves coffee and chocolate, this really is a very special gift. It contains three bags of premium organic coffee and seven bars of delicious organic chocolate. Eat Your Hat's ethical coffees and chocolate are fairtrade, sustainable and ethically sourced. They are presented in a rustic wooden presentation box. A gift of the highest quality for your lovely father! Find one here!
coffee, chocolate
Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted some samples of the items in this post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Coping With OCD In Pregnancy

OCD is a common, yet debilitating disorder that causes the sufferer to have obsessions (thoughts, worries, urges and doubts) and compulsions (to try and counteract the obsessions). But did you know that OCD can present in pregnancy? Here's my story...

My second pregnancy was a very anxious time. A few months before, I'd very sadly had a miscarriage. My much wanted baby who, from the moment I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, had become a glorious part of my future (as I daydreamed of first smiles, first days at school, holidays by the sea etc) had gone. I was bereft. In the weeks that followed, I tried to make sense of this loss and with it I began to worry that I had in some way caused it. Of course, I know now that I didn't, that miscarriage is common (1-4 women experiencing it in their lifetime), but I began to over-analyse my actions. Was it something I had eaten? Had I taken a bath that was too hot? Had I been too stressed at work? The questions were endless.

A few months later I again became pregnant. As wonderful as this was, with it came fears that I would again have a miscarriage and one that I would somehow cause. Over the course of my pregnancy and indeed, into the first few months of motherhood, these fears manifested themselves into compulsions. A large part of my anxieties surrounded contamination, anxieties that I would somehow pass something harmful along to my baby. I began to wash my hands a lot. At the time I was working as a nurse and I while hygiene and cleanliness are vital, I began to take it to the next level, scrubbing my hands frequently in an attempt to make them sterile. Sometimes I would wash them again straight after because my hand had brushed past a wall or object which I feared had contaminated my hands again. My hands would be red raw, often cracking and bleeding from the frequent washing. Eating also became an issue. Firstly in terms of my fears of contamination and also because I worried that one of the ingredients, particularly if it contained herbs, would cause harm to the baby. Daily life had become difficult, simple tasks became exhausting. I knew that my actions weren't the norm but I didn't have the first idea how to stop. I felt like this was what I had to do to keep my baby alive and well.



Regretfully, I didn't seek help in my pregnancy, but I wish I had done. My OCD symptoms continued after my little boy was born where my obsessions centred again around fears of contamination (now it wasn't just my hands that were scrubbed constantly but his bottles too) but also around fears that he would accidentally come to harm. I remember constantly checking every little noise he made in case he was unwell. I also worried that something would fall from a shelf or wardrobe onto him and I would spend a lot of time checking everything was secure. Eventually, things became easier, largely due to previous Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) I had previously had for anxiety. CBT helps you to change established thought patterns and to recognise negative or unhelpful thoughts. I had been taught a word during this; 'catasprophising'- assuming the worst case scenario will occur. I realised that a lot of my thoughts were just this, anxiety of the worst happening. Each time I had an urge to wash my hands, or to check on the baby for the 50th time that evening, I reminded myself of this word and eventually I started to let things go.

OCD During Pregnancy affects 1 in 100 women and PostPartum OCD, which occurs after pregnancy is slightly more common. If you're experiencing any signs of OCD then it's important to speak to your doctor. There's no shame, it's a common condition that can happen to anyone. Rather than conducting a specific OCD test, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and can then advise on the options for OCD treatment. This includes talking therapies such as CBT or your doctor may give advice on the best medication for OCD.

I'm happy to report that I don't feel affected by OCD in the same way that I once was. I sometimes feel things bubbling away under the surface, a worry or fear that I've done something wrong or the need to check and recheck something, but most of the time I can bat these thoughts away, recognising them for what they are, without the need to carry out any compulsive behaviours. But I'll never forget just how difficult it was and so if this is you, I urge you to seek some help and guidance so that you can receive the support to effectively combat your symptoms. For help, advice and guidance visit betterhelp.com. You can and you will beat it.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Embrace Your Garden This Summer!

If you're lucky enough to have a garden or patio area, there are many ways to make the most of this outdoor space enabling you to sit back and enjoy some fresh air and (hopefully!) good weather this summer! I've talked before about how I like to think of our garden as an extension to our home, like a whole extra room if you will! Now that my boys are aged three and six they seem to have a surplus of energy which I just can't seem to contain within the walls of our house. They need to walk and run about and so I really do encourage garden time for them. British weather is notoriously hit and miss but that doesn't mean they need to be contained to indoors. Rain-suits and wellies on and off they go! Here are a few that you can make the most of your garden this year! 

Grow plants 

I love growing plants and I'm keen to get the boys interested in this too. My eldest has certainly been excited to plant some seeds and see them sprout recently. We are lucky enough to have a greenhouse left for us by the gentleman that lived here before us and so this year we have started to grow green beans! Garden Tool Box has a huge array of gardening tools for all those gardening essentials!


A Vegetable Patch
There's something truly wonderful about growing, harvesting and eating your own fruit and vegetables and what's more it helps encourage children to eat them too! 




Create a dining area
What could be better than enjoying some alfresco dining on those warm summer days! It's also a real treat for children to eat outside and having BBQs encourages them to try a range of meats, fish, vegetables and salads that they might otherwise be reluctant to try. I can't wait for BBQ season!
There are lots of different styles to choose from, from wicker, cast iron and wood, for example. Accessorise with patterned cushions to add some style!


Create an outdoor play area
Little ones have amazing imaginations and so you'll find that they really don't need much in the way of toys for the garden. Provide them with a bucket and they can make little insect homes, mud pies and collect daisies for example. We have a little sand and water table in our garden which has provided endless fun! We also provided our boys with a play tent which has been played with so many times I'm surprised it's still standing. They make little homes in there and make a secret hideout to spy on the grown ups! 

Outdoor Lighting
Solar lights can create a wonderful ambiance in the evenings enabling you to sit outdoors for longer enjoying the fresh air and looking at the stars! 


So there you have it, a few ways I'm planning to embrace the garden this year. Do you have any plans and ideas for yours this year? I'd love to hear them!

*Collaborative Post 
Saturday, 18 May 2019

Travel In Style With Trunki! A Review and Giveaway!

When you're travelling with children you want to ensure that the process is as stress free as possible for both you and your little ones. That's why I love Trunki; they make fun and exciting travel gear for children to help make the journey there and back  just as exciting as the holiday itself! Their range of ride on suitcases are quite frankly, ingenious! Waiting around in airports can be boring but your child will love being able to ride along next to you on their very own suitcase. The Trunki designs are fun, engaging and colourful and even include stickers for them to decorate it. What's more, children can actually design their very own Trunki with the Trunki Customiser. We were very kindly sent a Trunki to put through it's paces along with a backpack too. Perfect for our upcoming camping trip this year! 

We selected the Trunkisaurus Rex design. I have a dinosaur-mad little boy so the design suited him perfectly! He likes to pretend that it's his pet dinosaur that he is taking on holiday with him! 

Trunki

From a parent's perspective, the Trunki ticked every box. It's lightweight yet durable and has a generous capacity (18 litres to be precise!). It has lots of useful features including a carry handle, an internal pocket and a strap to help you pull them along.

Trunki suitcase

My little boy was able to grip onto the horns for stability and the lockable catch ensures that the contents are kept safe and secure. 

Trunki suitcase

From my three year old's perspective, he loved the bright green colour, and the stickers too! He also loved putting his favourite soft toy in the teddy bear seatbelt inside too. 

Trunki, stickers

The Trunki was a massive hit in our house! The boys are even more excited for the holiday now (we purchased my eldest son a Gruffalo-themed Trunki afterwards so they each have one for the holiday!) and I'm happy that the children each have a sturdy and reliable case to transport their belongings in! 

The range of Toddlepak Backpacks are also fun, practical and of high quality. With their 4-litre capacity, they are a perfect place to keep snacks, drinks, notebooks and pens to keep them occupied during the journey. 

Dino, Toddlepak

We tested the Dino Toddlepak Backpack which features a cute and bright dinosaur design. It features a handy grab handle, a chest strap and wrap around arms so their favourite soft toy can hitch a ride too! 

Toddlepak, toy

Safety is a key feature of this design, it's bright colour as well as the reflective patch and piping help your child to remain visible in lower light. I really liked the front pouch that serves to keep items separate from the main part and the drinks holder in the side is also very useful to help prevent spillages.

I am happy to recommend products from Trunki; the items are of wonderful quality, the designs are bright and appealing and they really have children's safety and comfort in mind! 

For your chance to win a Trunki, just enter the competition below! 

Good luck! 

Win a Trunki! *Disclaimer: We were very kindly provided with a Trunki and Toddlepak for the purposes of this review. All opnions, as always, are my own.