Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Bagging a cheap holiday

If you’re trying to plan an all inclusive family holiday to Barbados and your budget can’t stretch to the exclusive family hotels such as Turtle Beach or Crystal Cove then you could try the newly reopened Almond Beach Resort.
Set on a beautiful picturesque beach on the West Coast it’s a very child friendly hotel. I stayed here with RD a few years ago before it closed down in 2012 (See review) and I must say, it’s the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. It’s huge! And they get what it means to have a family holiday so everyone is catered for.
Unlike most kids clubs, Almond Beach will actually take the kids from babies as they actually have a baby nursery with cots and well.. baby things and they have specially trained staff to look after them and then from 4 they go to the standard kids club . Also these ladies in the kids club are

Customizing your suitcase

So after seeing good deals on suitcases in Sports Direct and really wanting a brightly coloured suitcase, I’ve noticed that the black set is a lot cheaper than the colourful ones. So.. what I might do is get the black set and customize them so that they don’t get confused with every other black suitcase on the carousel.
I remember seeing really colourful bag straps in the Pound Shop, you know the ones that you tie round the width of the suitcase. I’ve also seen brightly coloured handle straps that look like a sign post, that have messages on them like “Hands Off!” 
What I also tend to do is get a piece of like neon ribbon and tie it in lots of bows around both handles so that also helps my suitcase to stand out.
I may also look for little quirky things that I can stick or iron on. So I may get some cartoon characters for the kids suitcases and random bold stuff for mine so they definitely stand out. I’ve even recently seen some suitcases where people have painted things on which is something I love. Even buying all of these add ons still works out cheaper than spending more on a brightly coloured suitcase.

So now I can’t wait to start my next little project J

Monday, 24 February 2014

Childrens Meals

 Now I never used to book children’s meals on the plane as I figured you would get more food with a standard meal and didn’t want the kids to be hungry. But I’ve noticed that’s not the case as the kids meals are more than enough for the kids and the kids meals ALWAYS get served first which is a bonus. I learned this the hard way when Cali and I were on a packed flight to Barbados and the dinner took forever to come out and Cali was starving. I then saw a family next to me getting all their kids dinners first, obviously this annoyed me, so I asked why Cali wasn’t getting her dinner first too, as she’s also a child and I was told that the family had pre ordered kids meals and it’s those that are served first not necessarily kids eating a meal and when I looked at their meal it was a good amount of food, more or less what the adults were eating. So don’t be fooled your kids won’t starve, but I have now learned my lesson and will definitely be ordering a kids meal on our next flight for sure.

Have you packed yet?

So I picked this Shimmering Protection Lotion by chance (basically it was on the clearance shelf in Morrisons and you know how I love a bargain) and it’s like the best Sunscreen I’ve ever used. Not only is it SPF30, which is pretty decent, it makes you look all golden and shimmery when you apply it which is fab. I didn’t even get a tiny piece of sunburn when I used it and I was in Barbados during its hottest period. I’m normally one of those people who burns easily, normally on my shoulders, nose and ears (yep random) So now that I’ve found something that actually works I want to stick with it. But the only problem is obviously I brought it very cheap (It was £2 something) and now when I’ve been looking for it, it seems to be just under £15 everywhere and there’s no way I can justify spending that kinda money on one bottle of sunscreen when I could take that £15 and buy some shorts, a couple vest tops and some flip flops from Primark.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Have you packed yet?

I've seen that Primark has brought out some grey boys clogs for £3, so I may get a pair for RD, as I find with Primark it’s best to buy these kinda things as soon as you see them because if you procrastinate (like I normally do) then by the next time you’re in there and actually willing to buy them they’re gone. Clearly this has happened to me a lot of times and I can’t tell you how annoying it is.
During the summertime RD normally lives in clogs as they’re so easy to wear and the fact that Primark do them is even better because there’s no way my budget could stretch to actual real Crocs, as cute as they are.

I also put him in Sandals with a foamy bottom and Velcro strap as they seem to go with everything. I tend to get these from Sports Direct for £2.99, although I’ve just had a quick check of their site and a lot of those kinda sandals are in the sale for less than £2.99 but it looks like a lot of them only go up to a childs size 9 which is no good for me seeing as I would need a size 10 L.

Zero Baggage Challenge

After seeing this posted on Travel Noires Instagram page I thought hmm... Interesting. It’s probably doable if you’re travelling solo but I don’t know how that would work if you’re travelling with small kids. It’s a god idea though because after you've completed the challenge, it would definitely make you re-evaluate the way you pack, because lets face it, most of us mummies will pack the most amount of unnecessary bollocks that we blatantly know doesn’t even fit us properly and we will never wear it.
The Zero Baggage challenge is basically about taking no luggage at all on your trip, obviously you can carry a few essentials and you can buy or borrow stuff along the to way but the main aim is:
About simplifying material belongings and being present with life rich experiences
So if you’re going travelling this month, even if it’s just a dirty little weekend away and wanna give this a go then there's loads more info over at Travel Noire.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Have you packed yet?

So even though most shops are bringing in new summer clothes and fancy swimwear, I went in Primark the other day and saw a lot of bikinis from last year heavily reduced. I managed to get 2 bikini bottoms for 50p which is great seeing as the new ones start from £4. Also the best thing about both of these bikini bottoms is that they're tied at the sides so no matter how much weight you put on or loose they will probably still fit you by the time you are ready to go on holiday.
I've also seen some simple bikini bottoms in Asda, I particularly liked the boy shorts as they're perfect if you're a bit self conscious about your thighs and they're only £2.50 for plain colours. So if you're not one of those people who needs to have this seasons 'in' colour or pattern then you will be able to find a lot of cute and very cheap bikinis in the sales.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Getting ready for the holiday

Soo... I’m slightly OCD when it comes to packing. The thought of mixing the kids clothes in one suitcase kinda makes me freak out a bit (hence the reason why I have to get them separate ones). I’m one of those people who packs in a very particular order so that clothes can literally just be unpacked and placed easily. Like I’ll put all the casual sandals together so they don’t get confused with the going out or beach sandals. Dressy bottoms packed next to dressy tops and dresses near to dressy sandals but not too far from standard dresses etc and I’m even more anal with my own suitcase because I also take a load of toiletries and ‘Just in case’ stuff i.e. I need to take Diarylte, just in case we get diarrhoea and I always pack anti bacterial wipes and wipe down the insides of all the drawers, shelves and hangers before I put any clothes on them, these can also be used to wipe down the toilet seat. I also take one of them funny shaped air fresheners (you know the plastic ones with the rubbery smelly thing inside) for the bathroom and kitchen (if I’m going self catering) because I can’t take random smells that linger.
I always unpack as soon as I get to the room because I can’t take living out a suitcase and I always take extra hangers for me plus kids hangers as I love to just iron everything and hang it straight away then lock up my suitcase and put it away and not deal with it again until the end of the holiday. I can’t even explore because I can’t concentrate until all my stuff is packed away neatly. It does sound a bit obsessive but

Time for a new suitcase

So I’ve been looking for suitcases as mine is completely destroyed and the kids don’t officially have a real suitcase.
I initially wanted a fancy 4 wheeled suitcase, but after talking to a guy that owns a well known bag shop in town (This bag shops been there since I was very little) I’ve now decided to stick with the not so fancy or as pricey 2 wheeled suitcase.
The bag shop guy basically told me that unless you buy an expensive branded 4 wheeled suitcase, and then don’t bother, as the wheels break off very easily on the cheaper models as they’re simply attached externally to the base whereas the more expensive models have their wheels actually built into the suitcase making them harder to snap off. He also advised me that a cheap 2 wheeled suitcase will always outlast a cheap 4 wheeled suitcase. So with that info I decided to look for a cute suitcase that stands out as opposed to the standard black one that I had.
I’ve seen some suitcases mysteriously appear in Morrisons for £25, but, the best deal I’ve seen so far is in Sports Direct. I’ve seen a bright pink set of 5 and a spotted set of 5 for a really good price. Now I don’t necessarily need 5, but it seems to work out cheaper to buy 5 than to buy 3 or 4 separately, as I need a small weekend pulley for myself 2 medium ones for the kids and a large one for me as well.
My mum thinks the kids stuff can all hold in one suitcase, but the way I see it is I pay a lot for a plane ticket and that ticket includes a free baggage allowance for the kids so I shall be taking advantage of this.
So anywayz, I’m seriously considering one of the sets I saw in Sports Direct. Annoyingly there is a black set that’s a lot cheaper, but I really don’t want another black suitcase. I want a suitcase that you can spot a mile off and be like Yep that’s mine not one where I’m like ‘oooh I think that’s mine’ *struggle to life it off & look at the tag* ‘Oh no that’s not actually mine’ *struggle to put it back on again*

I haven’t completely made up my mind yet though as I got my last suitcase from Matalan and it’s lasted around 8 years which is good for a cheap suitcase and I’m sure I paid around £20 for it... in the sales of course, you know me J

Monday, 10 February 2014

First time at cinema woop woop

So I had been planning this trip for ages and anytime I went to take them to the cinema something always came up, so this week I thought, right we are going regardless. I saw the weather warnings and how it was super windy outside and just ignored that fact and packed our snacks (there was no way the budget could stretch to expensive cinema food) and we were on our way.
We went to see Free Birds (just because that's what happened to be showing at Kids am) I didn't even really bother to read what the film was about I just thought OK its a cartoon I'm taking the kids to see it. Now originally we were meant to just watch the standard movie (because that was only £1.75) then we got there late and the stupid machine wouldn't let me purchase those tickets so then we had to go to the 3D screening instead, so then I was worried about how they would get on with the glasses and the whole 3D concept but they did really well, especially Cali who sat still with her glasses on and was totally mesmerized by the film. It took RD a little longer to warm to it but once he got what was going on he snuggled up next to me and watched the film nicely.
I must admit it took my eyes a while to adjust to the whole 3D thing, I dunno if it was because I was a bit tired but it was weird how after I had a little nap (yep I always fall asleep at the cinema) my eyes were fine.
The movie itself was cool basically it's about

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Cali's hair journey

So I finally put up a video on YouTube for Cali's hair journey. I think I've finally found a routine and the right products it's now just a waiting game to see what happens..

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Bagging a cheap holiday

So when all the sales seem to be coming to an end Virgin decided to be different and grab more attention by extending their sale till 19th February. So you still have time to go book that exotic holiday you’ve been craving. I’ve also noticed shops slowly brining out their summer stuff so even if you fly out in the next week or couple months you should still be able to get a cute summer wardrobe. Oh, and I’ve seen sunscreen on the clearance shelves in Primark and Morrisons, I actually picked up 2 coloured spray on sun blocks for the kids for only 75p because I know how pricey they can get if you buy them when it’s not in season.

Soo.. yeah, what are you waiting for, go book that holiday at least then you’ll have a real reason to lose that ‘Christmas Belly’ lol it also gives the kids something to look forward to. I really wish I could get away from this random weather for a bit. Sunning myself on a lovely beach sounds like heaven to me right now.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Happy Birthday RD

Soo another week in January another birthday, finally my little RD is 4. He's come so far and gone through sooo many noticeable changes. Going from not really being able to talk, having a stammer and having to see a speech therapist to being a complete chatterbox and talking very clearly with no problems in such a short space of time makes me sooooo proud.
He's the most cuddly and caring little teddy ever and will always be the first person to see if I'm OK and offer a kiss or cuddle to make me feel better. He is always better than any mirror as he will always tell you how pretty you look today.
He does have his naughty 'I'm such a boy' moments and I've also seen an increase in tantrums and screaming when he can't get his own way now that he's 4, but hopefully he will grow out of that soon.
Like his sister, he's a very switched on and intelligent little boy and he loves to observe so don't think anything you do goes unnoticed with him.
After arriving a week early on 29th January 2010 (due to my sudden craving for hot sauce) I knew life was gonna be different trying to raise a son but I seem to be doing well so far, yes, I'm taking all the glory for RD being so lovely and squashy.

School, Ofsted, Unsatisfactory....

 So recently I learned that Calis School got an ‘Unsatisfactory’ report from Ofsted. Initially I was a bit concerned then I started to wonder how much this ‘Score’ would affect me and most importantly Cali (and RD who will probably be attending the same school in September) and the answer is, it doesn’t affect any of us. The reason why I say this is because I’m the kinda parent who doesn’t rely 100% on schools to teach my children everything as I feel it’s part of my role to also teach my children things that they may/may not learn in school.

I was brought up knowing the importance of education, knowledge and most importantly homework. From a very young age I remember loving my word tin and learning new words, I also remember my mum making me speed write lines of words until the spellings stuck in my head, my sister also did a lot of reading with me and she was also the best at maths and would help me a lot with that, so I excelled from a young age and this is what I am trying to instil in my kids.
Cali maybe got lucky, because her teachers are very good and she has been doing well at school and even at nursery was described as very advanced. She tends to get some form of homework from school whether it’s copying simple letters or reading sentences and on the odd occasions that she doesn’t get any I will always give her some homework which could be anything from her word tin, learning to type her name on the laptop or her Mr Men workbooks (which are amazingly helpful by the way, Thanks Nats) I tend to see what I feel she needs work on at that particular moment and give her homework accordingly.

I know with a class of 30 plus children each child may not get the amount of attention you can personally give them at home and going from my experience at school the naughty kids tend to get most of the attention while the children who really want to learn or the advanced kids are sometimes left to get on with it, this is why the learning shouldn’t stop at 3.15. I refuse to let my kids drop behind at school because then who really is to blame, the school or me?

I went to a crap primary school, I wouldn’t be surprised if that had a few ‘Unsatisfactory’ Ofsted reports and I was very advanced to the point where I got moved up a year so I know the importance of keeping your kids challenged and stimulated. So with that being said, going to a crap school, in my opinion, has no bearing on how well your child does. You as the parent should be working in partnership with the schools/teachers and reinforcing the teaching, so really it’s up to you to some extent as to how well your child does.

Although in Ofsteds eyes the school may be failing, I will not let my children fail. I’m also optimistic that the school will be able to turn it around.

But, with that being said, if this were a conversation about secondary school I would probably have a different opinion...