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

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, kids playing in the sand

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 of tbh hotel
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.