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Daisy, You Will Soon be Four Years Old...

A Ban On Baby Wipes?!*


Seriously, this news sent me into a spiral of panic. I mean I use wipes for EVERYTHING! Babies bottoms, faces, cleaning, dusting, bathroom wipe downs, taking make up off, cleaning the inside of my car... the list goes on. What am I going to do?

banning baby wipes


Okay so seriously. I do use wipes a lot and honestly, have never thought too much about the end destination of them. So to see the news articles did actually horrify me and leave me with a pang of guilt. Why had I never thought about if they were biodegradable before?

I have seen all over social media a variety of responses but lots of parents have expressed a tad bit of outrage after the government said they want to "eliminate" wet wipes in the UK within 25 years. So we are looking at a fairly big time frame anyway hey!

A statement for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said wet wipes would be among the "avoidable plastic waste" it aimed to banish as part of its environmental plan. I get it, and I agree. I do need to research more into it to be completely honest, is it how we dispose of them that causes the trouble? Or the fact that no matter how they are disposed they still can cause detrimental effects on the our environment? For example I wouldn't dream of flushing them but know people who do? I do know though that they are made from polyester, which is very slow to degrade and poses a huge risk to the environment.

However in the interim I have come across a solution for our household. Something that will make me feel a little less guilty when using a wipe for every single task known to man, and baby! And that is Aqua Wipes.

So not only are they made of 99% purified water BUT Aqua Wipes® are also biodegradable, meaning that you can care for the planet too. Some of you will be pleased to hear they are actually classed as vegan friendly too.

We have been testing out these wipes for the last few weeks and I have to say I love them. They feel soft on the children's skin, they have no nasty smells (which I am a bit sensitive about!) and they do the job nicely. I have also been using the odd one in my gym bag for taking off make up and freshening up and they really are nice.

Image Source: Aqua Wipes


Have you tried anything similar?

Hayley x


*PR Collaboration but all opinions are my own. I was gifted Wipes!

Finding Local Treasures: The Bringewood, Shropshire


If you follow me on social media you will know that not so long ago I was busy planning (and then attending) a hen weekend. I booked a beautiful venue in Ludlow, which was is buried away in the Shropshire hills. Most of us are from Shropshire so with us going on a plane to Greece for the actual wedding it felt like a nice, easy thing to do for everyone. And not to mention how beautiful it looked there.



The Venue is called The Bringewood, Burrington and honestly it exceeded even my expectations. I was searching around on Airbnb and stumbled across it but I actually seeked out their website and booked it directly as I know what whopping fees they have to pay via that way and kindly they passed on the difference to us, so we paid far less than we would have had we have gone through Airbnb.

I will try to share a couple of photos with you so you can see how vast the venue was and how luxuriously decorated and kitted out it was, it is tricky though, it was a hen party after all and some photos shouldn't be fining themselves on here!

Hen Do Shrewsbury

Hen do shropshire


The Bringewood self catering apartments  are available for holidays, short breaks, weddings, group bookings, hen/stag parties and special occasions. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to find somewhere that isn't against large groups of either females / males.

The venue is built up of various holiday let apartments that sleep between 2 and 4 guests, with the large group booking The Bringewood sleeping up to 22 guests in total (28 with sofa beds). We booked the whole venue exclusively and used a sofa bed too and at no point did we feel cramped, except maybe when we tried to cram too many bums into the hot tub (that we hired from somewhere else) late at night!! Each apartment has a large screen LED  TV and PlayStation 3 (not that we needed them!). The bedrooms also have luxury bed linen with hairdryer, hair straighteners,  radio, toiletries and a bath with shower or shower room. We were really spoiled!

What I absolutely loved about the setup of The Bringewood was that it was super easy for us to eat together with a commercial kitchen and a dining table which can seat up to 28 guests. The kitchen was an industrial style kitchen, kitted out with everything you should need! It was actually amazing! And the highlight for us was the bar! An actual bar! Completely stocked with glasses, ice machine, glass washer etc! We just took the supplies to fill it :)


I really hope to go back soon and was only thinking this week actually how lovely it would be to get a bloggers retreat going on there, I know a lot of people would love to stay there and well, it is always nice to see some fellow blogging friends.

Thanks
Hayley


A Hen Party Back In Time: Top Destinations for the Culture Vultures


Hen parties are evolving. They have become much more than obtaining a hangover with the girls at the pub down the street. These days, brides perceive hen parties as a way to get away from the stress of organising a wedding, and doing what they love.

As the maid of honour, it is your responsibility to ensure the bride’s last fling before the ring involves everything she loves. While it makes the job a bit more difficult, a hen party is a sacred tradition that calls for pulling all stops and pleasing the bride.

While some brides still prefer the old bar crawl routine, there are a number of other activity options available to choose from. If your BFF is tired of the whole getting sloshed routine, and is looking to absorb some history before her big day, we have rounded up the perfect list of destinations for your cause.

Berlin

Berlin for a hen do



Berlin is a happening city with an amazing nightlife. The German capital boasts a sexy nightlife, amazing art, bags of culture, cocktails with a kick, fabulous desserts, great shopping, and of course, a rich history. Here are just a few of the city’s many historical spots you and the girls visit:

East Side Gallery
Berlin’s East Side Gallery is actually an open-air gallery with political artworks drawn on what now remains of the Berlin wall.
Reichstag
Built in 1894, the Reichstag has endured a fire and a war, and still stands strong as the parliament of Germany. Tourists especially take interest in the dome built by famous architect Sir Norman Foster.
The Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral, situated on the Museum Island, is a Protestant Church that offers magnificent views of Museum Island, the Gendarmenmarkt, the Synagogue and the Reichstag from its famous 243-foot high dome.

Paris



The city of love offers history aficionados the treat of a lifetime. Those who like to do their research understand that Paris offers a lot more than Eiffel Tower. Here are a few alternatives:

The Catacombs Of Paris
Formerly used as mines, the catacombs were converted into a graveyard in the 18th century. The labyrinth now houses over six million human skeletons, many of them of people that lost their lives during the riots of French Revolution.
Les Invalides
Built under the reign of King Louis XIV, Les Invalides houses a number of significant museums, along with the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Prague



Gorgeous in the summer, awe-inspiring during the winter, Prague is the perfect love-child of metropolitan fun and rich historical values. If you’re planning to take the girls to Prague, don’t miss these historical spots:

Prague Castle
Originally built in 970 AD, the Prague castle has gone through a number of transformations, and boasts examples of some of the most significant architectural styles of the past thousand years. The castle walls also house some of Prague’s most visited tourist attractions like St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, the Powder Tower, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.

The Old Town Square and The Astronomical Clock
Situated in the historic centre of Prague, the Old Town, the Old Town Square is the best place to begin exploring the city. Apart from a number of museums and other historical attractions dating back to the 11th century, the Old Town Square is also home to the World famous Astronomical Clock.



Just a small reminder that the hen party is all about making your best friend feel like the centre of the universe. For that reason, make sure every activity you choose, and every destination you go to, resonates with her individual preferences.

As mentioned earlier, each of these destinations offer plenty of bucket list adventure sports and legendary drinking havens, so the group will not just have to settle for sightseeing.

Hayley x

Finding a Perfect Summer Wedding Outfit*


We have a wedding in beautiful Skiathos at the end of this month and although I am very lucky to have a dress chosen for me, as bridesmaid (well maid of honour actually if we want to be exact!), but I know a few of the guests have really struggled to find a suitable outfit for the wedding. And having had a look for a few of the girls I have struggled too!

But... I thought I would share a few little finds with you, just in case you too are looking for that perfect summer, special occasion frock. (Do people actually say frock anymore? That aren't a granny?)

Here goes...

Finding a Perfect Summer Wedding Outfit*
Karen Millen
Karen Millen wedding outfit
Karen Millen

Coast
Lipsy (Available at Next)
Lipsy (Available at Next)
You will see I am all about that classic style, lace and anything delicate and beautiful! I can't say that I would usually go for a Lipsy dress, however, I was so pleasantly surprised when I was looking through Next for that perfect dress.

It is always worth looking at sites like latestdeals.co.uk if you want to find some vouchers codes and latest reductions. I tend to forget but always seem to remember when I am looking for that "special" dress that may cost that little bit more than I would usually spend!

The beautiful Lu Lovely has also written about how to wear spring/ summer trends for 2018 which is a great read!


*PR Collaboration, but all opinions are my own as always

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Is Coming Soon! | WIN! *


Any of you that are fairly local to me will no doubt have heard of the Eisteddfod that takes place in Llangollen every year. One year we were actually there in the town for a day out and had no idea it was actually running and the town was just alive with all kinds of music, acts and colours, we had the best day that we really hadn't planned for. The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is an annual festival of music, dance and culture, which includes competitions showcasing choirs and dance troupes from across the world, just look at the colours in the press photos!

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Is Coming Soon


The 2018 International Eisteddfod runs this year from 3rd – 8th July. This year the festival is welcoming Alfie Boe, Van Morrison, Kasier Chiefs, The Hoosiers and Toploader, as well as solo performers and groups from the UK and as far afield as China, Africa and Australia. Throughout the week, during the daytime, there is also a range of exciting family-friendly activities, as well as international food stalls and outdoor performances. Each year the festival attracts approximately 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the week, which just blows my mind! If you know North Wales and Llangollen then you will know it is a quaint little town, very beautiful, but you would never expect it to attract those numbers!

We have kindly been invited to the Eisteddfod for the day as a family and I am so excited about it! I just know the kids will absolutely love it, they both love any kind of live entertainment and music. We will be going for the day time activities for the first time.

win tickets to festival


The extra exciting thing about this post is that I have a family pass available for one of my readers! All I need you to do is comment below with where you would be travelling from and what you would be most excited about at the event! All entries will then go in to a random number generator and the winner will be announced on the 21st May 2018! 

Tickets are on sale online at www.llangollen.net or via the box office on 01978 862 001.

llangollen festival

*PR Collaboration

My Top 5 Tips for Saving Money* AD


Most of you that have read my blog or watched my videos will know that we recently have done a lot of renovations to our home this past 12 months and that has meant we have needed to save where we can both before we started and while it goes on. I would love to say it is finished but nope, not yet.

Family Saving Tips


Anyway on to my top tips:

1. Check all of your utilities and go on to comparison sites to see about switching. You will have seen Martin Lewis chirp on about it on the tele but honestly we switch our suppliers regularly and really do save that way. Switching isn't all that big of a faff, the suppliers will do it all for you once you have decided who you are going with. Remember it's the same electricity, same gas etc it is only the service and price that changes.



2.  BUDGET. This is a big one for us. We like to know what we spend on things so we can asses it and see if it really is necessary or if we are over spending. We do this by paying for everything on a credit card that we have simply for our day to day outgoings such as groceries and then use software that analyses those bills and categories for us. So for example we would know what % of our income is spent in supermarkets. You can then set yourselves targets so for example £100 a week on groceries.

3. SELL WHAT YOU NO LONGER NEED! I am as bad as any other person for hoarding. I struggle to say bye to any of the children's old clothes, toys, books, I feel that it is all too sentimental. But we have to be realistic. What am I really going to do with those things? They will sit in the attic, unloved, unused and deteriorate, when someone else could be making the most of them and I could potentially be getting something for them to put towards new clothes etc. Ebay is a great tool for this but also hit your local Facebook selling sites, I find these better than anywhere for selling bundles of clothes, toys etc.

4. BE THRIFTY! So you need a sofa? Or a swing for the garden? Does it have to be new? A little like point number 3 head to ebay and your local selling groups, or pay a visit to the charity shop. You will surprised what you can pick up for your money.

5. Be REALLY careful when looking to borrow money. If you are after a short term loan then really do look around and make sure you know what you can afford and how much you can get and expect to have to pay back, you really need to do your research before even considering it. Using something like a Consumer credit index will really allow you to start to see what you should be expecting for your level of income etc.




*PR Collaboration, all opinions are my own

Daisy, You Will Soon be Four Years Old...


Dear Daisy,

It has been quite a while since I last wrote you a little note, perhaps even 6 months or so. that is pretty bad isn't it, considering this little online space was created purely for that reason. Things have been busy and time has just flown by, once again.


Starting school tips


It suddenly dawned on me this morning, 1am to be precise, that you really are growing up. I had an email at that time to let me know that you had got into our first choice school, and it just hit me. You were not a baby anymore, not even a toddler. You are in fact a pre-schooler. Soon to be a school goer in a matter of months. It makes me feel guilty for some reason, guilty that I didn't soak you up as much as I should have this past few years. Guilty that we haven't had enough one on one time together before I lose you to the Monday to Friday weekly regime.

But then that is slightly ridiculous don't you think? I spend all the time I can with you, and perhaps we could spend a little more time just sitting and chatting and soaking you up, but on the whole I think we have done okay. We swim every week, go to ballet, play in the garden, read a book EVERY SINGLE night, the list could go on. I think we have done alright.

That isn't to say I won't miss you come September. To have you in school every day, Monday to Friday is more than I have ever had you away. You go to Nursery 3 days now and that is plenty, but I guess you need more now. You need to learn the ways of the world, build your own little network and just have fun without your old mum hanging about!

I have had my concerns about you going to school. Will the other children be naturally inquisitive into why you have a little hand, will they pester you for answers that you just don't have or that you are grown up enough to understand? Will you feel different?


I really hope that isn't the case, I don't want you to feel that way, although I am realistic enough to know that there will of course be times we have to deal with this. But this is just part of it all I think, the way we all learn to deal with the situations, the questions and well it will be how we adapt into it I guess.

I know you are going to be just fine. You have a such a strong, fiery attitude that will get you through life just fine. You are open to new relationships and love nothing more than making new friends. I have a feeling this is going to be the best adventure you will ever have!

Mummy xx

THB Tropical Island Review | Playa Blanca Lanzarote


I don't often do reviews on the places that we stay on our travels but am often asked where we stayed, the pros and cons and if we would recommend it, so i thought perhaps I should start doing mini reviews so you all know the low down of where we have been.

We went to Playa Blanca a few weeks ago (March) for 8 nights with the two children (Daisy, 3 and Alex, almost 2). We had got our flights booked last year but had left accommodation to fairly last minute, something we shouldn't really do. We had hoped to stay in a villa or an apartment but had left it too late and when we came to book on somewhere like Owners Direct they were 90% booked for our dates and we couldn't really afford what was left.

But sometimes things are just meant to be, we booked in to the Tropical Island Aparthotel (Has all the facilities of a big hotel but is made up of apartments) through Hotels.com and we are really pleased it worked out that way.

Tropical Island Playa Blanca Review


The hotel was bigger than we would usually go for, with lots of facilities we knew we just wouldn't use. However, being out of season meant that it was quiet around and there wasn't the hustle and bustle I come to expect at these larger resorts. Which for us was just what we were after. We like enough to keep the children entertained, so the big pools dotted around the grounds, the splash park and the mini playgrounds were just what we needed. There was enough to keep them busy at the times were around our accommodation.

The pools and grounds were clean and tidy and as far as I could see safe. The only worry I had was the children running by the pools but you'll have that where ever you go.

Hotel Review Tropical Island Lanzarote
Photo Credit: Loveholidays
onthebeach lanzarote
Photo Credit: Onthebeach


Our apartment was one bedroom with a sofa bed in the lounge area. We could have had a cot for Alex but decided to just put the extra mattress from the double sofa bed (Daisy only needed one mattress) on the floor in our bedroom and it worked out fine. We would just pop it away in the morning and it was out of everyone's way. Daisy was on the sofa bed and it was like a pop up metal framed bed, it was pretty high. We ended up putting it down to the floor and just not extending the legs, she probably would have been fine but the thought of her falling out of bed onto tiles just gave me the frights!


Our room was cleaned 6 out of the 8 days we were there and the towels and linen were tidied and changed as and when needed which was a relief, with kids that were filthy from having 8 hours at the beach every day our towels didn't stay clean all that long, no matter how long they were in the bath or how well they were scrubbed that sand sticks like glue!

We only used the restaurant on site once as we ended up eating out the majority of time, there were lots of beautiful restaurants down on the seafront so we chose to do that rather than use the buffet restaurant that was on site. We did use it on our first evening though when we first arrived and for the price it was really reasonable and there was plenty of choice, all seemingly freshly prepared too. There were a few other restaurants on the site but we never ventured into them, to be honest we only saw them open a few times but this may be because it was out of season and the demand just wasn't there.

They had a kids club within the grounds that I think we may actually have given a go one afternoon or morning, however the minimum age was 4 years old. You could put the children in under that age but you would have had to stay with them, which kind of defeats the object of them going in my mind. But I guess if the weather was dull then it would be something for you all to do.



The hotel was a 5 minute drive from Playa Blanca's centre, we had read that a car was easiest but there was a fairly safe walk if you wanted to try it. We did it once or twice and although it only took 20 minutes or so, I wouldn't have fancied dragging the 2 toddlers up and down the road at a night time after dinner.


Hayley

Tea With The Easter Bunny | Wyevale Garden Centres


We recently invited along to have tea with the Easter bunny at our local garden centre, Percy Throwers. Percy's is a Wyevale Garden centre and often runs activities such as this but if I am honest I have never really thought about going. I can't put my finger on why, but now I have been I will certainly be going back to other events there.

Easter Bunny Shropshire


We turned up at 3pm and had a meal that we had pre-booked. The children had cooked lunches so Daisy had Chicken nuggets (which actually looked and smelt amazing by the way, nicely fresh cooked not beige looking rocks!) and Alex, Sausages. Which again smelt so good! Their dinners were gone pretty quickly! Ben and I had afternoon tea, which again was really good. At first glance we wish we had gone for a cooked option so perhaps fish and chips but the afternoon tea was really filling and it was nice to have some sweet treats too. Which of course we had to share with the children. But if we were to do it again I would definitely choose the cooked option, we should have known how good it would look as we have eaten there a few times!

Whilst they were eating the Easter Bunny came out and meted and greeted all of the families, making a real effort to have cuddles and do high fives, along with photo opportunities. It went down really well on our table, even if Alex did look slightly terrified at first! I should have mentioned (in case you don't follow this blog) that Daisy is almost 4 years old and Alex 2.

We then went on an eastern hunt around the garden centre, which appealed to the older half of the group. Daisy was in her element, where as Alex just wanted to fill his little bag with chocolate! But it was well thought out and moved at a good pace.

Then it was back to decorate Easter cookies, which both children really enjoyed. Especially the eating of them after!

Tea With The Easter Bunny | Wyevale Garden Centres


They have various events on throughout the year and will definitely be going back at some point. It was nice to just get out as a family and have devoted time together with no other distractions. And really it costs not much more than your standard meal out and they were kept very well entertained! I would highly recommend it.

To book Easter breakfast/ tea you simply need to go to this link on their events page.

Hayley x

*We were gifted this event but all opinions are our own and we really are thankful for the opportunity!