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Is Christmas Really Coming? Why Do We Talk About It So Early?*


I know, I shouldn't mention the C word. But I just have.

Christmas bucket list


It is very unlike me to dare say it before mid-November and it is only October at the moment. However life is busy. Life with 2 children, my job, my blog, the house renovations, the house work, a tiny social life (yes, the kids have a better one than I do!) all add up to busy weeks. Weeks that absolutely fly by in a blink of an eye.

I also fear that with the work on the house to start imminently that it will mean the back end of the year is going to feel even more hectic and chaotic than it usually would. Hence me talking about Christmas. I just want to feel content with the idea that I may be ready for it this year, that I may enjoy December and soak up the festivities rather than battling them.

I don't mean that I will be getting the decs down and putting up the tree any time soon, that will always be the weekend before Christmas in our house. But it does mean I am starting to think about writing gift lists, buying pressies early when I see them on sale or when I think someone may like it and storing them away in what I have called "The Christmas box"!

I have never taken this tactic before and I have no idea if I will fail miserably come December but the thought is there, for now at least.

So some things I want to start thinking about and planning:


  • Christmas Wish List - And I don't mean this in a material way. I mean things I want us to do over winter and Christmas, so frosty walks, Christmas crafts, seeing Father Christmas, Christmas tree farm etc... 

  • Have a think about what we will need this year in terms of decorations, lights etc. Also the Christmas bedding (I like to go all out!), do I need any more or shall I change it up? See my post here from last year about which I went for! 

  • Photo Books. I like to have the years photographs, our favourites, made into photo books. Sometimes I give them as gifts but sometimes just for us. Otherwise I find we take all these photos throughout the year and then they're never to be looked at again. 

  • Gift lists - Ideas of what we will be looking to buy this year for various people. We don't go all out and go wild, because that isn't what Christmas is about for us but I do like to get gifts that mean something or that someone would really love. 
Anything else I should add?

Hayley x

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Pumpkin Picking at Llynclys Shropshire | Shropshire Days Out


I know, I know, such a cliche... A blogger that hunts out pumpkins for photographs at this time of year. But actually this was my first time jumping on the bandwagon.


free days out

free days out


I love autumn and everything that comes with it, the colours, the weather, the smells, you know what I mean I am sure. I love taking photographs and love to compile them at the end of the year into memory books of that year and quite often there is a void between summer and Christmas festivities so this was the perfect day out.

It was a nice dry, sunny weekend and I always like to get out when we can and of course something more interesting than our usual walk down to the play park goes down well with the kids.

Llynclys Hall Farm Shop is not too much of a drive for us and it was well worth it. If you have never been before then it really is worth a trip. It is free entry and although it will probably only fill about 2 hours of your day, it really was nice.

As you would expect there were a lot of pumpkins and so Daisy found this brilliant, trying to lift them, finding funny shaped ones, baby ones and massive ones! They had built a tiered wall from hay and placed pumpkins all over it which was lovely to take photos of. There were just loads of photo opportunities.

They had a barn with kids activities in such as chalk boards, ride on tractors and cars, drawing tables etc which was a nice little touch. And for us, a coffee van. Sadly we didn't get to have a coffee or a nice hot chocolate but next time...

I highly recommend the trip :)

pumpkin farm shropshire

pumpkin farm shropshire

Pumpkin Picking at Llynclys Shropshire | Shropshire Days Out

Pumpkin Picking at Llynclys Shropshire | Shropshire Days Out


Hayley x

Sandemans New Europe Tours Review | Prague Free Walking Tour


If you have seen my latest travel post then you will already know that we took a free walking tour whilst in Prague for a weekend. I thought I would share our experience here and also talk about another tour that we purchased with them too; The Castle Tour.

Free walking tour prague

When we were looking at things to do in the city before we actually went Ben mentioned a walking tour to me and I admit my first reaction was an almighty cringe. It sounded like my worst nightmare. Being dragged about the city at someone elses pace being talked to for hours on end about history and religion and various other subjects that could become dull after the first hour or so.

But one of our friends had done tours like this before when in Prague and various other places and highly recommended them. Although she is a history teacher so would be far more interested in the details than I am, so I was still a little apprehensive but thought if it is free, what have we got to lose really? Ben agreed that if it was terrible we could leave at any point and make our excuses.

We booked in for the 9.30 tour, so an early start for us as we were staying just out of the city on a tram journey away. So much for a lie in when holidaying without the kids! We met outside Cartier by the main square in the old town and then met our guide for the day, Ian. Ian was a Brazilian who had been living in Prague for a number of years and he really did make the tour. He set the pace just right, fast moving, full of interesting facts, nothing too heavy and moving on from subject to subject to keep the interest alive. He was really quite funny (as in humorous) and a really likeable character.

We saw the following parts of the city:

Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock
View of Charles Bridge
House of the Black Madonna & Museum of Cubism
Church of Our Lady before Týn
View of Prague Castle
Rudolfinum – Czech Philharmonic
Old New Synagogue & the Golem
Art Nouveau Municipal House
St. Nicolas’ Church

It was a three hour tour and honestly it absolutely flew by. We really enjoyed it.

Sandemans New Europe Tours Review | Prague Free Walking Tour

Sandemans New Europe Tours Review | Prague Free Walking Tour


The tours are free and you may be wondering how they do this? Well it is expected that you pay them at the end with what you think the tour is worth, so in the form of a tip. Although us stiff upper lipped British may find this a little awkward it really was no problem and we paid exactly what we would have paid elsewhere for a paid trip, and it was well worth it.

We enjoyed it so much that we actually booked on to their Castle tour the following day. This is a tour that you pay for when booking but we did get a small discount because of already being booked on to another of their tours.

I have to be honest and this tour I didn't enjoy so much. Our guide was not like Ian had been the day previous. He was much slower paced, talked about every single thing is the tiniest detail and just didn't manage to keep my attention for very long. I have to say I found it a little frustrating. Just in that I wanted to get on and see more rather than standing around chatting about things that really didn't interest me very much. That may be a little unfair as some of the group really did seem to be interested so it would depend what kind of detail you wanted to go into and the type of personality you warm to. He was a nice guy but the engagement lacked somewhat. He also somehow managed to walk us about a mile up a hill away from the castle at the end to a brewery for no apparent reason, I would much rather him have left us in the areas of the castle so we continue to look around. It was a slightly odd ending and seemed to have no real schedule or plan.

 Although part of me does wonder that if we hadn't loved the day before so much and learnt so much about the city that we would have actually found his tour more interesting. I also think that this tour seemed to fall on to a Saturday and so the castle was busy, there was little movement around the grounds because of waiting for other people to move about and we couldn't even get into the cathedral which was disappointing. None of which was our tour guides fault. We didn't have a bad day but it just didn't compare to the day before.



Hayley x

Planning a Winter Break for the Whole Family*


It always feels good to get away from the daily grind of chores and work and it is no secret that we love to get away. When you break out of your routine, even for just a few days, you return home feeling refreshed and you feel like you have spent some quality time together as a family.

Even in the winter, we like to take short breaks. Usually, you pay less for accommodation and there are no crowds to cope with, so travelling at this time of the year is an especially good idea.

 Planning a Winter Break for the Whole Family*


PACK THE RIGHT CLOTHES

You need to make sure you are ready for all weather conditions, which means packing carefully. A good approach is to pack clothes that are easy to wear in layers. For example, the right pair of men´s joggers can be worn under a pair of jeans. On a warmer day, they are ideal for wearing for a walk on the beach. Of course, you still need to pack a jumper for everyone for days when it is very cold.


STAYING DRY

It is important not to forget items like umbrellas, waterproofs and wellies for the kids. That way you can still get out and enjoy a walk even if it rains all day.


PLAN SOME INDOOR ACTIVITIES

You need to plan to enjoy plenty of indoor activities. Even if the weather is not bad, the days are shorter, so at least part of each day is going to be spent inside.


BE FLEXIBLE

It is important to be as flexible as possible. Try not to promise you are going to do certain things. The kids will be really disappointed if the attraction you are planning to visit ends up having to close because of bad weather. Before you book, do plenty of research. Going the extra mile and checking the winter opening hours of local attractions will stop you from booking a holiday somewhere there is not enough to do to keep everyone occupied.



PACK ENOUGH ITEMS TO KEEP THE CHILDREN ENTERTAINED

Packing the right toys is key to keeping the children properly entertained. Be sure to take a few of their current favourites and what you need for rainy day activities. This article contains some great ideas for keeping young children happy on days when it is too wet to go outside much. If you read it before you pack, you will be able to add a few items to your list and be properly prepared.

Hayley x



*PR Collaboration

Helping Your children To have The Confidence To Swim | Konfidence Swimming Competition | Win £50 Of Konfidence Products*


We all know how much I love Konfidence products, especially the swim jacket which you will have seen Daisy wearing throughout the summer. She is now at a point where she has no flotation blocks in her jacket after a summer packed with as much swimming as she possibly can. So it is time for Alex to get one while Daisy potentially loses her before long. I am going to keep hers about for those fun sessions where she wants to be a little less structured and have fun and games with her friends without the worry.

Helping Your children To have The Confidence To Swim | Konfidence Swimming Competition

Helping Your children To have The Confidence To Swim | Konfidence Swimming Competition


Anyway, I now have a prize for one of my lucky readers.

To celebrate us being Swimologists I have a competition for you to enter, it should be pretty simple. It is a giveaway where you can win a £50 voucher to spend on swimming gear at Konfidence.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply login to Rafflecopter below and complete one, or a combination, of the optional entry options. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms And Conditions

The giveaway is for a £50 voucher to spend on swimming gear at Konfidence.  The giveaway closes at 12.00am (GMT) on October 20th 2017 and is open to UK entrants who are over 18 years old only.

The giveaway can be entered by logging into Rafflecopter and doing one, or a combination, of the following: 

(1) Follow Konfidence on Twitter
 (2) Follow Hayleychall1 on Twitter
 (3) Follow Konfidence on Instagram
 (4) Follow Hayleychall on Instagram

The winner will be selected at random using Rafflecopter and contacted within three days of the giveaway closing. 
The winner has 28 days to claim their prize and provide their contact details. The prize will be sent via email as a voucher code and is redeemable at www.konfidence.co.uk only. The voucher must be spent in a single transaction and can either be used to fully pay for product(s) or as part-payment towards product(s). The voucher expires on 31st December 2017. The prize is non-transferable. The giveaway is run by Hayley's Little Things in conjunction with Konfidence.


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5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Prague | Prague Top Tips


We recently visited Prague for a few days without the children, so an adult only break! We won the break as part of a competition I entered through Icelolly.com and although I was a little anxious about leaving the babies behind, it did us some good and we really did get to see the city in all of its glory.


I thought I would share my top 5 things to do when in Prague for just a few days, so here goes:

(1) TAKE A WALKING TOUR

When Ben suggested we did this I cringed, tours are not really my cup of tea, the idea of trudging along after someone who likes the sound of his own voice really din't appeal to me. However a friend of ours recently went and said she had done a tour and really recommended it. Sandemans do a free walking tour, so we had nothing to lose. We figured if we hated it then we would escape half way though, but in fact we really enjoyed it. We saw more of the city in those 3 hours than we would have on our own, they took us to places we may never have visited and we came back with lots of interesting information on the country we were visiting. We did tip our tour guide so it wasn't exactly free but it was worth every penny, we had a really good morning.

On our tour we managed to visit all of the following:

Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock
View of Charles Bridge
House of the Black Madonna & Museum of Cubism
Church of Our Lady before Týn
View of Prague Castle
Rudolfinum – Czech Philharmonic
Old New Synagogue & the Golem
Art Nouveau Municipal House
St. Nicolas’ Church

Prague chimney

(2) EAT IN THE SQUARE

Yes everyone you talk to will tell you avoid the top tourist spots for food and drink because you will pay a premium and you could get better quality food and drink elsewhere for much less money, especially if you are in to craft ales. And yes that  is true in our experience too. However, we sat in the square on our first night over looking the astronomical clock and it was just so entertaining watching the tourists hustling and bustling about and the street entertainers attempting to get all of the busy tourists attentions. Our food was actually good but we know we could have paid less elsewhere. It is nice for one meal though just to sit in the atmosphere around you. It is quieter in the evening than in the day but still busy.


5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Prague | Prague Top Tips


(3) TRY A TRDELNIK (A CHIMNEY)

You will see above I am eating like a cake pastry type cone thing filled with ice cream, in Prague they are called a chimney and the day we got there we saw them everywhere! A trdelník is very popular among tourists in the Czech Republic, they come filled with ice cream or other fillings such as strudel and even beer! I stick to ice cream and chocolate with strawberries! And I am pleased to report it was delicious!

Beer tours prague


(4) GO TO A CRAFT ALE MUSEUM/ BAR AND TRY A SAMPLE BOARD

I am no beer drinker and wouldn't generally order a beer of any kind if I went to the pub. However, I know that Prague or the Czech Republic at least is renowned for its beer offering so we knew we had to get involved. Ben loves a good craft ale so was in his element and tried all the different kinds he had never seen before when he could. On a few occasions though we ordered a a sampler which is a board that comes with 5/ 6 different beers/ ales for you to try. And I actually really enjoyed giving them all a little try as well as Ben! And who knew, I actually quite liked beer afterall!

Prague at night



(5) VISIT THE CASTLE (OF COURSE)

Slightly obvious but go and visit the castle. It isn't a castle like you would expect after years and years of amendments and add ons to it but there are several parts to the castle and its grounds, including some beautiful gardens that will give yous om beautiful views. A little warning is that it does get busy there, the entrance that our tour guide took us was busy and we had to que for some time however there are several entrances so I would recommend researching this first! 

Its presence, along with the St. Vitus Cathedral (the pointy gothic towers you can see), can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. The centrepiece is the cathedral, which is right in the central courtyard. We took a tour and didn't get time to actually que to get in to the cathedral which was disappointing so I would recommend getting there early in the morning before all of the tours arrive or maybe head up there late on as it doesn't close until late most evenings anyway.

5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Prague | Prague Top Tips

Top Autumnal Fashion Picks and Trends 2017 | Autumn Budget Fashion*


I absolutely love autumn, fashion wise it is my absolute favourite tome of year. I love it when it starts to get a little chilly, but it is crisp. And the main reason is that I just love the colours!

I absolutely love how quilted jackets seem to be making a bit of hit this year, I am no fashion guru, absolutely far from it, but looking at some of LFW shows its clear to see that they really are here for autumn. Stella McCartney's show was a prime example. Although I think I will give the headscarves a miss! I have also noticed that corduroys have made a comeback ( did they ever go anywhere in my opinion?) and seem to be popping up in all the luxurious tones such as  blush, burnt oranges, Burgundy and even teal. All the heart eyes!

I thought I would share a few of my favourite pieces that I have seen so far this season. I guessed summer is pretty much officially over now so I was safe to do so...

JD Williams

All of the above garments are from either JD Williams or River Island. That mustard jumper gives me all the cosy feels, so gorgeous. You'll notice there are no high fashion designers featured, think just your ordinary, every day average mum budget! I can dream of buying Burberry and Stella each season, one day....

So, talking of budgets on to my Matalan top picks. If you saw my latest Interiors Mood Board post then you will know I am loving Matalan at the moment, I have no idea if they have a new buying team but their ranges have just gone from nothing to everything in my mind! I could buy everything, almost...

Matalan autumn buys
So there we go, some of my top picks for the upcoming season...

Hayley


*PR Collaboration

Giving Hello Fresh A Go | Getting Out Of A Rut!


I have seen Hello Fresh popping up here, there and everywhere on social media for a while now and have ignored it all a little. The reason being I remember having a look some time ago and thinking it was pretty expensive for what it potentially could be. I am sure I also looked up our postcode and found that they didn't deliver to us so have been a bit blind to all of the hype.

Giving Hello Fresh A Go | Getting Out Of A Rut!


I recently watched one of Charlotte's videos though and found that she was offering a 50% discount code for your first 2 boxes so thought I would have a look if they could deliver to us yet, and they could! I was so tempted that I decided what did we have to lose.

I should point out that I am not working alongside Hello Fresh and that I paid for it all with my own money. So I made an order for a 4 meal box for 2 people, it came a few days later. It was like Christmas waiting for it to be delivered and when it arrived we all excitedly opened it up and had a good look through it.


Hello Fresh Discount Code


 The concept is great, who knew how intuitive having every meals ingredients prepared for you in its own little bag is. There is no faffing about in an evening on trying to piece something together for a meal once the kids are in bed, we literally grab a bag and menu card and get going. I say we loosely, I can't remember when I last cooked tea!!!!

So my verdict was that I actually love the concept. Having a fuss free meal that can be made in between 30-40 meals laid out for you make with no trouble and no extra ingredients needed is literally a game changer for us. I mean we have always been fairly good at meal planning but still find ourselves stuck in a rut cooking the same things over and over, so new recipes are refreshing.

I do think if it was full price (over £40) that it is expensive though, I look at the recipes and think I could buy the ingredients for less possibly, although all of the ingredients come really fresh and of good quality. I have just received my second box and if I am going to be completely honest then I am not blown away by this weeks recipes. you could go in and swap your menu about but I like the idea of being surprised each week, makes it much more exciting!

Hello Fresh Discount Code


I am not sure I will continue my subscription now it will be full price or not, I just cannot decide if it is worth it or not. It is certainly worth it for our lifestyle and ease in the evening but I am just not sure if it is a luxury we don't actually need.

Have you tried it before?

Hayley

A Little Bit Of Luxury: Malee Natural Science*


I was recently given the opportunity to try out some of the Malee natural science range. Usually I pass on this kind of offer as if I am honest, I just don't have the time to have a good look at them, test them out and then photograph and write about them. A lot of my content is more spontaneous now a days, having two babies to run about after isn't a walk in the park!

But...

A Little Bit Of Luxury: Malee Natural Science*

I had not really heard of Malee before and looking through their online range I was intrigued. The packaging is right up my street, clean, minimal and what I like to describe as Spa ready.

SO I set to it choosing some products to test out. I had not long got back from a very hot  fortnight in Cyprus and so my skin really did need a little TLC, as much as I am ashamed to say it, I am a bit of a sun worshipper. Although I do always use sun cream to stop any burning. But it did mean my skin was a little dried out and needed a bit of a moisture surge.

So I went for the gorgeous moisturising oil, body scrub and well a candle, because who doesn't love a candle!

Review of MAlee

The moistorising oil is in a long glass bottle and you simply pour it out on to your hand and massage in where you need it. I have been applying daily after my shower or bath. It doesn't leave any reside, leave you feeling sticky or slightly slick, it just leaves a nice sheen and your skin feeling healthy and refreshed. This actually is suitable for your hair and nails too, and although I haven't personally used it in my hair there is nothing that would stop me. I will actually give it a go over the coming weeks and feedback how I found it. Rich in essential vitamins, fatty acids and skin tightening peptides, it really is an all in one beauty product. One that is now top of my favourites list.


Next up the Conditioning Body Scrub. The scrub is made up of Multi-grain natural salt, skin-loving oils and sugar, so no nasties. As you would expect or hope for. I have used very similar scrubs before, sugar based are my go to. I like the coarse scrub sensation and would highly recommend this one. If you have ever used the Trop Skincare natural scrub then you too would love this one.

Malee Natural Science

And on to the candle. I couldn't really tell you what Peppersage smells like, to me it is like a Spa. Fresh and luxurious but with a woody hint. I have only had it burning for maybe 6 hours and it barely looks touched so it is going to last a long time, which is what we want!

I do feel that the range is quite expensive, it is high end. The candles have a RRP of £55 which to me is definitely at the top end of what I would pay but I do love the scent and the staying power really is good so you would get your monies worth.

They are a great treat to me, and I will be repurchasing some of the products and would certainly purchase them as gifts.




*PR Collaboration