Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Making Savings with my 1066 Card in East Sussex

A post shared by Town City Cards (@1066card) on

Previously the TownCityCard was known for the towns it served, so it was the Hastings Card, Battle Card, Hailsham Card etc but now all the cards for all the different areas are coming under the unified name of the 1066 Card. This is a really good thing as it will alleviate any confusion and mean that you, as the customer will be able to tap in to discounts at over 360 places across East Sussex and in to Kent. 

I've had my card for a couple of years now and the hardest thing for me is remembering to use it. I often purchase my items and then afterwards realise I should have got my 1066 card out of my purse! So don't be like me, make sure you present your card with everything you purchase in local shops, restaurants, cafes, take-aways and days out venues. Even if that venue doesn't take the card at that point, ask them if they want to, as I know Chris, whose business it is, is always keen to meet new interested local businesses and to bring them on board.

I love the idea of shopping local and not just putting money in the pockets of the big chain stores and this is what the 1066 card is all about. You can purchase your own card from loads of local shops, council offices and the tourist office in Hastings but probably the easiest way to get it right now is to buy it direct from the website and it will arrive promptly in the post. Mine came within a couple of days. The cost is just £9.99 and it lasts until the end of the year.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Staying with Eurocamp at Club Farret Campsite, South of France

eurocamp club farret header

Over the May school half-term break we flew off to the South of France arriving in to Beziers, a very short drive away from the resort Vias Plage where the 5 star Club Farret Campsite is ideally located. It appears that the end of May is still considered low season as the seaside town itself wasn't very busy but this didn't present a problem as there were many shops and restaurants open and the parc itself was so well equipped.

Welcome on Arrival
Due to some great flight times we arrived at the parc at about 5pm and headed in to reception where we met Anette, who spoke excellent English and gave us a super welcome. We received a site plan and details of the activities going on during our week, then I had to leave a 20 euro deposit to make sure we returned our all-access wristbands at the end of our stay and she directed us over to the Eurocamp reception.

The parc is set on two sides of a road but don't let the word road put you off as really it is just a way for locals to access the beach and a few houses. It wasn't busy with traffic and there is a marked crossing between the two sides. The Eurocamp area is on the opposite side to the main reception and I really liked this as it was the quieter side and we were away from the town area, which I imagine could get noisy during peak season.

Our arrival time was outside of the Eurocamp Couriers regular hours so I gave them a call from their reception and they were with us within about 3 minutes; it was great service. The kids quickly helped themselves to a chess set and badminton equipment from the well stocked area that you can borrow activities from and Leanne took us over to our mobile home and explained how things work and what to do if we needed them. All in, it was a very smooth arrival and a fabulous welcome onsite at Club Farret Camping.

Esprit Eurocamp Mobile Home

Our Eurocamp Mobile Home
This year we had a 3 bedroom Esprit home, which is one of the more basic models and I tell you this as it really is good enough. We found ours to be spotlessly clean and that always impresses me as it shows that the company care. There was everything we needed for five of us to stay there for the week and we were able to cook meals in the kitchen and to relax fully.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Understanding Sun Protection Products - What Does it all Mean?

beach bundle
Summer Beach Set Image by Africa Photo, thanks to Shutterstock

After spending a week away in the South of France where we had mixed weather but still some horrid sunburn I’ve been prompted to write a post about sun protection products available here in the U.K. It’s a bit of a minefield really, you choose a well known brand name like Ambre Solaire or Nivea and you assume that all is good and you have chosen well for your family but it might not be the case! Read on for a low down on what all the different terms on your packaging mean and how to make an informed choice this summer.

UV Rays
There is so much information out there about the ultraviolet rays that come from the sun and it can get a bit confusing but I’ll just share the basics in layman’s terms. UV radiation from the sun comes in three wavelengths - UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC does not penetrate our ozone and thus we’re only concerned with the other two.

UVA (Ultraviolet A - long-wave)
Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA rays in our lifetimes and it has long been established as a cause of premature ageing and wrinkling but was less associated with damage to the epidermis (the outer layers of the skin) which is commonly associated with skin cancer.  However this is changing as newer research shows that UVA damages skin cells in the base layer of the epidermis as well as penetrating deeply.

UVA is the dominant tanning ray and whilst many of us love that brown glow our skin develops in the summer it is actually in response to our skins DNA being damaged and these imperfections can lead to skin cancer. UVA rays are present during daylight hours and they penetrate clouds and even glass.

UVB (Ultraviolet B - shortwave)
Are the rays that cause skin reddening and sunburn. They are just as damaging as UVA rays penetrating the outer layers of the skin and can significantly contribute to skin cancer.

Monday, 11 June 2018

London Theatre Kids Week: Tickets on Sale Tomorrow

Have you heard of the Official London Theatre Kids Week before?

No. Really? You need to know about this. If you are a parent who loves going to the theatre in London but finds it hard to afford to take all the family then this is the time of year to get excited because you can get your kids tickets for free!

What is Kids Week?
Yes, totally free. For each adult ticket you buy for one of the 40 eligible shows on offer this year, you can get a child ticket for free (for a child 16 years or under) and if like me you have more children than adults in your family then you can buy up to two additional child tickets for half price.

Kids Week is an amazing initiative from the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) which has been running since 1998 and has reached over 1.2 million families, it is such a great way to make the best London shows available to more families and to open children up to an amazing new cultural experience. Last year we went along to see a show called 13 The Musical which wasn't one I'd heard of before but the kids really enjoyed it and the tickets were super cheap. We had a fab time in London as a family.

Kids Week started as one week but is now so popular that it now runs from 1 - 31 August. Tickets are available subject to availability (especially at weekends)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Why Mental Well-being Should Be On Your Family Health Agenda

Image thanks to Pixabay

When you think about healthy lifestyles, what springs to mind? Most of us tend to think about being active and eating well. Although it’s incredibly beneficial to move more and stick to a healthy diet, don’t underestimate the importance of mental health. For many of us, being healthy is all about having a trim, functional body, but it’s also essential to keep your mind in check. As mental health dominates discussions in the media, is it time to add it to your family health agenda? We all want to be happy, confident, and content and here are some tips to promote mental well-being in your household -

1.  Talk openly 

We live in an age where we’re more connected than ever, but we’re also lonelier. This bizarre juxtaposition can take its toll on both adults and children. Social media and 24-hour access to the Internet can make you feel like you’ve got friends, but many of us go for days, even months without having face to face conversations with people we claim to love and cherish. If your routine consists of the kids coming in from school and firing up the laptop or spending hours on their phone, now is the time to try and introduce periods of time when you can put your phones down and talk. Talk about your day, share funny stories, and chat about how you feel if you’ve had a bad day or you’re feeling a bit stressed. Set a good example for your children. If you bottle everything up, or you devote too much time to chatting online, there’s every chance that your children will follow suit.

2.  Tackle issues head-on 

If you suffer from a mental health condition, you may be reticent to talk about it. There’s a stigma attached to psychological illnesses, and many people still feel uncomfortable discussing how they feel or talking about their behaviour. You probably wouldn’t think twice about telling your work colleagues that you’ve got a bad back, but it’s a totally different story with an addiction or an illness like depression. For some reason, mental illnesses can make us feel embarrassed and ashamed, and there’s also a fear of how other people’s perceptions of us will change. If you are struggling, try and tackle issues head-on, and reach out and ask for help. This can be easier said than done, but you should feel a sense of relief once you know what kind of help is available to you. There are all kinds of options out there, from facilities like an addiction recovery centre and treatments like group therapy to one-to-one counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and grief support. Whatever level of support you need, don’t be scared to ask for help.

Family at the Beach Image by Tom Wang, thanks to Shutterstock

3.  Learn what makes you happy 

Mental health is a subject that should concern all of us. You don’t have to suffer from a psychological condition to pay attention to your well-being. There are lots of steps you can take to protect your mental health and boost happiness and contentment. Make time for the people you love, spend time doing things you enjoy, and learn what makes you happy. Make the most of weekends, summer evenings and days off. Experience things as a family, but give yourself a little time off too. Indulge your interests and passions, and figure out ways you can combat stress and lift your mood on difficult days.

Examples of self-help techniques include meditation, exercise and doing creative activities, such as writing or painting. Most of us tend to prioritise our physical health, but mental well-being is equally important.

Hopefully, this guide has provided some useful tips to help you put mental health on the agenda for all your family, young or old.

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Perfect French Holiday for Crafters and Artists

girl making a mosaic

If like me, you're an amateur crafter who enjoys a bit of me-time with paints or pottery then I’ve discovered the perfect break for you. Nestled in the beautiful French countryside by the picturesque beaches of Vias Plage is Camping Club Farret that we recently stayed at with Eurocamp.

We took this family break with the intention of enjoying all the regular fun of a Eurocamp parc - amazing pools, kids clubs, fun evening entertainment, play parks and a beautiful holiday parc to rest at. I had no idea when we booked that there would be the most amazing opportunities to get creative!

The Atelier Creatif run by a lovely German woman called Sabine is fantastic. For six days a week (it’s closed on Sundays) who can go along from 9-11am and 3-5pm and get involved with whatever takes your fancy.

girls learning to tie dye silk
This is Sabine with my daughters, teaching them to tie dye silk

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Would You Use an Online Pharmacy?

Image thanks to Assured Pharmacy

I have to be honest I've never considered using an online pharmacy before. I'm lucky to have enough time to go to the doctors, get my paper prescription and then head to the pharmacy but when I think back to working full-time and the restrictive opening hours of GP practices, it was quite a different story then. Also what about if I was a man with a sensitive problem, like erectile dysfunction. I'm sure I'd want help but I don't think I'd either A, want to miss work to go and see the GP or B, have to talk about this issue face-to-face to my doctor.

Can you trust an Online Pharmacy?
This is where an approved and reputable online pharmacy comes in handy. you can get the medication you need, without having to go out of your way and with minimal embarrassment factor. When I mentioned this to a couple of friends they were both worried that they'd receive substandard medication, or that it would come from aboard or not be legal in the UK but I was able to reassure them.

I've been checking out AssuredPharmacy.co.uk, who are approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and have a GMC (General medical Council) registered doctor issuing their prescriptions. I particularly liked that I could (within moments) check online that that the MHRA registration is current and that the prescribing doctor - Dr Roisin McHugh is currently registered and able to practise medicine.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Bio-degradable Pads now Available in your Teens Bettybox

Back in November my girls were sent a Bettybox each to try and review. We all absolutely loved the concept of a monthly subscription box that the girls can receive that contains all their sanitary requirements for the month but also has wonderful pick-me-up treats for that time of month. We all agreed that we probably couldn't afford to buy two boxes a month, every month but that they make wonderful treats every now and then. The classic Bettybox is £12.99 including delivery when you order as a one-off, £11.99 a month when you sign up for 3 months and you get one month free when you sign up for 6 months.

I was interested to hear recently that there is now also a pick and mix box, available for £5.99 a month. This is a no frills box were your young girl can choose up to 25 Bettypads that suit her and her period flow. Bettypads are a new product just launched by Betty and I'm so pleased to hear they are made from bio-degradable materials and packaging. The pad itself has an absorbent 100% organic cotton inner and a silky soft bamboo cover.