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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

How to talk to children about coronavirus

I wanted to be next coming on here to write about our recent holiday to Lanzarote and share what we have been up to, how it was staying in a villa versus a hotel and so on... But sadly like every other person in this world we were locked down and didn't really get the holiday we planned.

We are home safe and sound (and have been for some time don't panic!) and have spent the last few weeks isolated at home. With 2 small children. Working full time. Whilst attempting home schooling (or emergency schooling) and keeping sane.

how to talk to your child about coronavirus


I expect none of us actually ever imagined we would be in this situation. It feels as if we may wake up any minute and it was all a dream. How in this day of age does something like this happen? It feels absolutely ridiculous, but it most certainly is happening. And it is terrifying to us as adults never mind small children.

I have been doing lots of reading up on how we should be talking to our children about the situation and how perhaps they may be feeling. It has become fairly clear over the last few days that Daisy is pretty worried over "the germs". And Alex definitely knows something serious is going on. So, how should we talk to our children about Coronavirus?

So a couple of my tips or at least things I am trying to do currently:

- Shelter them from the news stories and publicity as much as I possibly can. We all know what it is like to become absorbed by the news aound Covid-19 but even I have taken the steps to stay away from it as much as possible at certain points of the day, to avoid starting the day in a dark place. If I struggle how hard must it be for a 5 year old to absorb and process all of that terrifying news? They pick up of far more than we give them credit for. We are now catching up on the headlines when they have gone to bed in an evening. It may not exactly be sheltering them from the news but perhaps filtering.

- Give them a sense of control. So one thing we can control now we are in lock down is our hygiene. Take it as a time for education on germs and virus. How can they keep themselves clean. How can we wash our hands effectively. But also making sure you get that balance correct and don't push them into becoming obsessive over washing their hands for example.

- Reassurance is key. We have been asked questions such as we have to look after older people at the moment and stay away. will they die? But we turn it around and talk about older people we may know and talk about how fit and healthy they are and how they too are isolating to keep themselves safe. Try to keep the way in which you talk to them super simple and appropriate for their age.

- Take your cues from your child. This is a tip from Childmind and I thought it was really, really helpful.  Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel about it. Give them the chance to ask questions they may have, just be preapred that you have to answer them!

- Try to avoid them seeing you in a state of panic or heightened anxiety. We are all going to feel it at some point and I expect potentially there may be more to come but we need to try and disguise this. Children pick up on our behaviours and moods. When we are all stuck at home the last place we want to feel like a deep dark gloomy cave is here.



There are some fantastic resources available to help you with this such as the below:

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-talk-your-child-about-coronavirus-covid-19

Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/

Kids Health: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-talk-child.html




Jooki | Kid's Music Player Review*

We were recently sent a Jooki Music Player to test out and it went down an absolute storm.

jooki music player review, kids listening to music,


Jooki is a very colourful, bold, solid and super easy to use speaker for Children. It comes with five little solid characters which you then can program to play different songs and stories set up in Spotify (or Deezer). You can also upload any MP3 content that you may wish to or even stream live internet radio stations. We haven't actually done that though as we have never had a need, the spotify function has always been more than enough! The idea behind Jooki is that it allows your kids to control the music themselves.

The Jooki was super quick and easy to get set up, we had it up and running within 5 minutes. You just simply follow the instructions in the leaflet, connect your Jooki to your wifi – download the app (which is free from iTunes/ Play Store) and you’re ready to get playing. The next task is to program all your characters, you just use the app. You can create simple playlists and then just assign the character you want to that playlist. The the kiddies can argue over which character gets to go first!

Our Jooki has already had a few tumbles (3 year olds!!!!) and has survived without a mark at all. It really is built for little hands and is built to survive a few bumps and crashes. It is a little heavy as expected for something so strong, it definitely feels like it is worth the money you pay for it.

jooki music player review, kids listening to music,


My favourite part of the Jooki is that it is actually screen free. To find something so interactive that doesn't involve a screen can only be a good thing.

Another good benefit is that it is rechargeable and will easily last 8 hours whilst on. You simply just plug in the USB charging cable to the back of it for easy charging. It didn't take long to charge either.

I would say that the age range for this product would probably be up until about 8 years old. But although the characters may become tiresome at that age it also doubles as a bluetooth speaker so can be used forever more. It isn't something they grow out of and it is never used again! It would be a great birthday gift! 

Jooki is available to buy online at Jooki or Amazon.



*We were gifted our Jooki for an honest review. All opinions are my own 


Things to do in London with your mum

I recently went to London as part of a girls weekend away. We were a mixed group and thought we did some great things that your mum may enjoy to do whilst in London.

There is so much to do and look at but it really would depend on the season, weather and how active you want to be.

I will pop a few mum friendly London things that we did down below, that you may also like to try next time you go.

The Sky Garden

This wasn't the first time I have visited here but I knew the group I went with would absolutely love it. And it is Free, which is a bonus! You don't mind paying the slightly high prices for a G&T when you get to the top then. The Sky Garden is basically a free public space at the top of the Walkie Talkie Tower with the most spectacular views of London, depending on the weather.

The garden is filled with various species of plants and fauna which makes it unique compared to many other spots you will get to see the views of london. There is a restaurant (which has to be booked separately), a bar and plenty of seating. There is also an outdoor terrace, but this was closed this weekend due to the bad weather.

It was absolutely peeing it down when we went up at the weekend and we were expecting the views to be pretty poor. However we were pleasantly surprised to find it absolutely fine.

You do need to book tickets before you go though.

Photo of the walkie talkie building in london


Gin-themed visit to Mr Fogg's.

I had heard of Mr Foggs several times before heading to London last week, it has been a must visit for a while. It is an instagrammers heaven, so beautiful. There a couple of location and we headed to the Covent Garden Tavern spot. A really fun spot especially if you’re not from London and on a weekend trip. It’s a different and unique experience to the usual British pub you may stumble across. You won't miss the doorway of My Foggs with its gorgeous floral garland, first up you will notice tourists having their photo taken outside of it !

Not only is the venue quirky and visually pleasing but the staff were also so welcoming and did all they could to give their customers a real experience! The bar itself is really cool & based on a Victorian theme. We didn’t have food but it looked and smelt good too!

The drinks were absolutely beautiful too, to look at and drink!

beautiful doorway outside mr foggs

Mr Foggs Gin Parlour, Mixologist making cocktails, gin cocktails


Breakfast at the Ivy, Covent Garden

Everyone has heard about the Ivy, and who wouldn't want to be treated for breakfast (or lunch or dinner of course!) there. I know i would! It had again been on my watch list for a while and finally last weekend we went.

I made the reservation for the Saturday morning and we got there at around 10.15am and it was fairly well occupied. By the time we left at around 11.45 it was really busy! I would definitely recommend booking and getting there early if going for breakfast.

The venue itself is absolutely beautiful, it is what you would imagine. Classically decorated, shiny brass and interesting artwork. The bathrooms are also beautiful.

The breakfast menu was good, something for everything although rather heavily egg based.  Was expecting the quality of service and food along with the gorgeous venue to come at a fancy price but I was surprised by how modest the bill actually was.

the bar inside the ivy market grill in covent garden,


Visit the west end and see a show

We often go to see a show, weather that be in London or when touring at more local venues. The reason we actually visited London this weekend was due to us getting tickets to see Pretty Woman at the Piccadily Theatre. There is nothing better though that a trip to the actual west end to see a show.

The show itself was fantastic. I have always loved the film so was excited to see how it would transfer to the stage. From the opening scene I was loved it, the music was really catchy & the story followed the original fairly well.

The theatres in London are beautiful and really are an important part of London and in particular the west end. Whats On Stage has a fantastic article all around the ideal show to take your mum to: https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/mothers-day-top-shows-presents-theatre-mum_48718.html

Pretty woman in london


Where to stay with kids in Lanzarote & Favourite Playa Blanca Beaches

We went to Lanzarote with children in 2018 and are heading back there again in a few weeks time.

The canary islands are a favourite destination of ours for a winter escape to the sun. With it being just a 4 hour flight and almost guaranteed sunshine, it is hard to resist! We do get the odd cloudy day and you will definitely need a cardigan or jacket in an evening but to have a high chance of feeling the sun on your face and a bit of warmth after the freezing, wet weather here in the UK it is most definitely worth it!


Best beach in lanzarote with children, flamingo beach playa blanca. Kids playing in the sand on the beach

Where to stay in playa blanca with children, family friendly holidays in lanzarote, instagram spot in playa blanca


On both occasions we will have visited Playa Blanca with Kids. The first time we stopped at the THB Tropical Island resort in a self catering apartment. At the time we had hoped to stay in a villa or an apartment as we usually would, but we 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. So we ended up here.

We  ended up booked in to the Tropical Island Aparthotel (Has all the facilities of a big hotel but is made up of smaller self catering apartments) through Hotels.com and we are really pleased it worked out that way as we had a fantastic stay. If we are honest, the hotel was far 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. 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 hotel was a short 5 minute drive from Playa Blanca's centre, we had read that a car was easiest but there was a fairly safe walk with a pavement if you fancied it. We did it once or twice and although it only took 20 minutes or so, it was quite hard work with the 2 kiddies.

This time we have booked into a smaller part of Playa Blanca towards Flamingo beach in a little family villa that we have booked through owners direct. I will of course share our thoughts on this, photos etc when we return.

playa blanca with kids, best restaurants in playa blanca, playa blanca reviews


Flamingo beach is a really small beach area that we stumbled across one day when we were out for a drive and absolutely fell in love with it. We ended up spending a lot of our week there in the end so to find a villa that is on it's doorstep was the perfect choice for us.

There is actually a TUI resort next to Flamingo beach too that has good reviews if you wanted more of a hotel based break.

Flamingo beach is a location we highly recommend with small children. It is the perfect Lanzarote beach! It is the perfect beach for the kids because it has really tranquil waters and really fine white sand, which they will play in all day long.  Flamingo beach has showers and sunbeds with umbrellas which is something we always look out for at a beach now that we have children to cater for. Along the perimeter of the beach there are shops and restaurants too, perfect to grab some lunch and snacks from.  Oh, and ice cream of course!

It is worth noting that this is a man made beach and so here you will find clean but imported sand and reliable breakwaters, which means the water is shallow and gentle.

Shall update this as soon as I have more details on our next stay!

Secret Hidden Bars in Copenhagen

We recently went to Copenhagen for a long weekend to soak in some festive atmosphere before the chaos of Christmas actually struck.

Not only did we find some of the most gorgeous Christmas markets and shops but we also found some lovely, hidden gems of bars. We were lucky that we (I say WE lightly, it was Ben!) did some research before we went and had a little list of places we wanted to go to when we were there and there were a couple of bars and restaurants on that little list.

Top of the list has to be Ruby, an understated Cocktail Bar which from the outside you may never know is there except for a little neon sign that hangs above the door. Ruby is placed in an old terraced townhouse in the oldest part of town, directly opposite the parliament buildings and Thorvaldsens museum. You go through a door which feels as if you may be wandering directly into someones house and amble your way through to what feels like a lounge. It is dark in there and slightly mysterious, but the atmosphere is indulgent and special. The cocktails were not cheap but they were really good! If you are looking for a cocktail bar in Copenhagen then I would highly recommend here.

Ruby Cocktail bar copenhagen
Image: Telegraph. (It was too dark to take my own!) 

Next up is Lidkoeb. Now this place really is hidden. You walk down some random alleys and end up at the back of what looks like an old disused building. Located down a windy old street in Vesterbro, Lidkoeb is a bit hard to find but definitely worth it. Lidkoeb is a cocktail bar with two floors of cocktails and the top floor is a whisky bar. When we arrived at a weekend around 9pm it was very busy. There was not anywhere to sit but we were able to stand to the side of the bar until some seats at the bar become free. It was a beautiful location and the atmosphere was nice, it appeared to attract a nice clientele that enjoyed good drinks, all be it for quite a big price tag again. But again watching the mixologists at work I would say they were worth every penny.

Overall we found it friendly, good service, great products and a cosy atmosphere.

hidden cocktail bars copenhagen


Next up, is Noho. This is in the meatpacking district where you can find several really cool bar and restaurants. If you are into instagram worthy venues then this is your place. NOHO is one of those places that when you step in for the first time you just can’t stop looking at the interior design, the flowers all over the ceiling and the beautiful neon lights. Again on a Saturday night this place was very busy. The restaurant side of the venue was full and the bar appeared full too. However, after we had been there a while we noticed there was also a downstairs and that lead to lots of areas of seating.


Noho Meatpacking district, cocktail bar copenhagen
Image: Noho
Have I missed any top bars?



Save Money This Winter, Be Sensible, Thrifty & Sustainable


Christmas is looming and we all know it can be a struggle with the old bank balance, Christmas also feels to be coming a lot earlier this year. I think we with the impending Black Friday and cyber monday the pressure mounts up far earlier than in previous years. All of the gifts you need to buy, the special food, clothes and all of the additional funds you need for the special events that come with it like your Christmas party! It’s never easy especially when you throw children into the mix.



These are my top ways of saving a bit of money to help lighten the load a little this year.

1- Meal plan. I’ve talked about this before and how it really does help us a family to not only be organised and know what we are doing each evening for food but it also cuts down on waste and trips to the shop. We try to go for dinners that we can bulk and stretch out to at least two days, sometimes even three. For example if I’m doing a chilli then I’ll throw in some extra veg (what ever is lurking in the fridge) or an extra tin of beans or lentils to bulk it up and make it go that bit further.

2- This is more about utilising what you’ve got to free of funds rather than dipping into your bank account. Start working your way around the house room by room and minimalise. Do you need everything, love everything or have a use for it all? If not, sell it! That way you not only free your house up of unnecessary clutter but you also make some £ to spend on things you do need to buy or to put away for a rainy day!

3- Think free! At a weekend it’s so easy to pop out for the day with the kids and before you know it you’ve bought lunch, a coffee, parking, a present the kids have begged you for and so on. Instead go for a walk or a bike ride, visit the library and take some snacks with you or aim to be back home by meal times. It may not feel much of a day out to you but the children will barely notice, or at least mine wouldn’t who are just 2 and 4 years old. All they want to do is be out and about. Basically if you avoid opportunities to spend then you won’t! A prime example of coffee shops for us, it’s so easy to spend way over £10 on two coffees and a snack so I try to avoid it where I can because they all add up.

4- Sleep on it. With this I am talking about impulse buys. The internet is a wonderful yet very tempting place, it’s makes shopping that bit too easy! Instead of clicking buy now on that new pair of boots or what ever it may be leave it in your basket for 12-24 hours and then have another look, is it really necessary?

5- Be a bit thrifty. Not everything you buy has to be brand new. I know some people will stick their nose up at this but what’s really wrong with looking around a charity shop or eBay for that particular toy your after for your son? I have picked up a few retro transformer toys and bits for Alex, he will have no idea they are not brand new! Or maybe you’ve a thing for Joules or Boden clothing, then there are a ton of Joules pages on Facebook where people are selling either brand new or almost new items every single hour and you could pick up a bargain!

6- Voucher codes. I used to be the person laughing at those others who would scour magazines and things for coupons to save that bit of money on their shopping. Now I’m not as In to it as that but if I’m buying online then I do a simple Google searching for vouchers for that particular store and quite often I’ll find a voucher of some kind such as free delivery of 20% off if you spend £20 etc. It’s always worth a look. 

Shopping Small This Christmas... II

As a little reminder..,

This year (and last actually) I aim to be more sustainable, thoughtful and I also aim to enjoy the experience a little more.

When purchasing gifts (which I do actually love to do) I am trying to shop small or local. Local where possible but sometimes you just can't find a specific thing locally and have to put out a wider search, but in those instances I want to find small businesses where your purchase makes a difference to those selling as well as receiving.

I am going to start sharing local gift guides, businesses and ideas with you over the next few weeks. If you know of anywhere then please do let me know as I would love to have a nose and perhaps share any secret gems that we find along the way.

So on to my second installment...

First up is not a business that is local to me but one I stumbled across on Facebook and one I have already shopped from for my children's Christmas stockings this year. Potionfizz...  The business is run by a lovely lady called Molly and she handmakes all of the beautiful bath products that you can find over on her etsy page. Handmade bath bombs are the most beautiful, thoughtful gift, they can be used and loved and can make that person feel special whilst using. No waste and vegan!

All images belong to Molly:



handmade vegan bath products

Next up is again a business I have had the pleasure of meeting, trying and buying from. And That is Shire Gin, The Shropshire Distillery.

My mum has a Shropshire mobile bar business and as part of that and some events we have attended we have met the lovely owners Emma and Gareth and got to have a good look at their products. The Distillery is a family run business with with the gin all made in-house with no third party involvement with every batch and bottle hand numbered and signed.


Shropshire Gin, Shire Gin
Image: Shire Gin

So there you go, 2 more small "local" businesses to feast your eyes on this Christmas. One being very local to myself.

I would be very content receiving gifts from either and I know that my friends and family would be the same! 

Again if you know of any small businesses that you think I should take a look at then please do let me know!

Hayley x

Shopping Small & Local This Christmas

Christmas is a time when we all inevitably go out and purchase more than our usual monthly spends. Those of you that are well organised and prepared do so in advance and a lot of thought goes into finding the right gift for the right person, on the other hand some of us rush about in panic mode finding a gift for someone that may not necessarily be the right gift for that person.

This year (and last actually) I aim to be more sustainable, thoughtful and I also aim to enjoy the experience a little more. Last year I tried to do as much as I could that would give that person an experience in some way. Think theatre tickets, spa breaks, afternoon tea etc. Creating memories rather that giving goods. I probably achieved this in about 25% of the cases but i do want to work on that this year again.

When purchasing gifts (which I do actually love to do) I am trying to shop small or local. Local where possible but sometimes you just can't find a specific thing locally and have to put out a wider search, but in those instances I want to find small businesses where your purchase makes a difference to those selling as well as receiving.

I am going to start sharing local gift guides, businesses and ideas with you over the next few weeks. If you know of anywhere then please do let me know as I would love to have a nose and perhaps share any secret gems that we find along the way.

Most of you will know I am from Shropshire and so my search will begin here but then as I go it will go wider.

First up has to be this gem that I found earlier on Instagram: Primrose And Lily. Offering beautiful, luxury tweed clothing handmade in Shropshire. I will share a couple of images because their items are really beautiful, all images featured on their Instagram page as tagged above.

Tweed gifts shropshire, shop locally, shop small business, local shrewsbury business

Tweed gifts shropshire, shop locally, shop small business, local shrewsbury business


Next up for today's post is Washed Up Wood. A business I have heard of before and have known friends and family to buy from but somewhere I haven't actively seeked out until now.

A  small family run business based in my home town of Shrewsbury. Washed Up Wood offers a gorgeous  collection of quirky and useful products that are all hand crafted. The use the combination of hand collected driftwood and also locally sourced vintage cutlery, and they aim to bring an element of rustic charm with a modern feel into your home. The perfect quirky gift!

 They offer the perfect mix of contemporary and vintage finishes. I already have my eye on a few pieces including some of their gorgeous coffee spoon rings! I will pop a few images below for you to see for yourself, all images taken from their website as linked here.

Washed up wood handmade gifts, shop local, shropshire handmade

Washed up wood handmade gifts, shop local, shropshire handmade


An honest review of Club Farret, with Eurocamp*

We were lucky enough to be invited to stay at Club Farret at the end of the summer season this year with Eurocamp for our family holiday. We have visited France with Eurocamp previously but a different site, Le Brasilia. Club Farret is in the same region but a slightly different part.

club farret France review


It's been a couple of weeks since we returned home from our week away at Club Farret campsite with Eurocamp and autumn has well and truly hit here in the UK, heading to France at that time in the season was a lovely way to end our summer adventures.

As a family we absolutely love France and it really suits our holiday lifestyle. The slow pace, good weather, beautiful beaches and amazing food is all we ask for on our week away and France ticks all of our boxes, as did the campsite we chose this year. When we were given the chance to choose a stay with Eurocamp, I knew straight away that France was our best option  - I mean the flight time has a big part to play in that but also we are never disappointed. The last time we visited we paid for the whole visit ourselves and knew we would return one day.

Vias plage france


Club Farret looked great because it looked like it had something for everyone, I was particularly drawn in by the pool which has a roof that closes when the weather isn't so great. With us going at the end of the season there was a fair risk that it would rain so knowing we have something to do if it did was good. And actually it did rain on our last day - so it was a good job!

Accommodation

We stayed in one of Eurocamp's newest mobile homes which is called the Azure. It has 3 bedrooms, separate shower room to toilet and I have to say we were really impressed.

The mobile home had a large airy living area that was really spacious and certainly big enough for our family of 4. We had a small double bedroom and 2 twin bedrooms, each of the kiddies had one each which suited us perfectly as they have their own room sat home and it saved them waking each other up.

The bathroom was great too, although because we aren't used to it, it did take some time to get used to the toilet being in a separate room. You know what children are like as soon as they hear running water!! But it was fine, no issue at all.

The mobile homes are equipped with everything you need for your holiday and that includes the kitchen area which has an oven (Gas by the way, it took me a while to realize I needed to ignite it!!),  fridge with a mini freezer, microwave and all the utensils you would need.

Outside there is a large decking area outside which the kids really made themselves at home with. It had a BBQ, dining table and chairs and also the clothes airer for all those soggy swimsuits and towels you will have! This also had a gate you could shut which was great for roaming toddlers!

The Location

This site is only around 12 miles from Beziers airport so even though we personally did you wouldn't need to hire a car to get there from the airport. We actually flew into Perpignan as the flights were half the price and even that was only an hour away in the car.

This site is located on the coast with direct access to a large beach. The beach was beautifully clean and really wide and open, plenty of space for the kids to run and roam about. There are plenty of shops nearby and there is actually a shop on site too that was pretty good too, obviously a little more expensive as you would expect.



The pools were amazing on this site and were the absolute highlight for Daisy and Alex.

 We moved around the different pools each day to mix things up a little but one thing we did love was that each day at the Pirates Beach pool there is an aqua fitness class which Daisy absolutely loved!

Tao Beach and the Aquadome were our closest pools only a few metres away. The Aquadome is the pool wit the sliding roof and all of the water slides by the way!



As well as the great pool areas there are a few play parks around the site too. There is one attached to the kids club (which I can't comment on as we didn't use t this time!) and there was also a big play park behind it with loads of sand too.  There were swings, climbing areas, slides and a massive pirate boat climbing frame. Also by the other pool closer to our home there was a small play park area which was more suitable for pre-schoolers with a slide and climbing frame. It was a bit little for Daisy but they didn't complain.  Everything on the site was really well maintained and looked in good condition.

You can also catch up on a short video I put together of our trip here. Please do let me know of any other sites that you have loved and watch our for more photos shared over here in the coming weeks.





*Accommodation was gifted in return for honest coverage but all travel etc was paid for by ourselves.