Friday, 29 June 2018

Discovering the Local Area from Eurocamp Club Farret, Vias, South of France

Beziers
Beziers by Eric Valenne Geostory, thanks to Shutterstock

Back in May we flew into Beziers and took the short drive to the coastal town of Vias Plage, there we stayed with Eurocamp at Club Farret campsite. We had a wonderful time and you can read all about the parc in my review blog post and if you're an artist or crafter then check out my post about their outstanding (and free) art facilities too.

As we flew to the South of France we didn't have a car but if we were to visit again we would definitely hire one while we were there and not bother paying for hefty airport transfer charges. There is so much you can access easily and cheaply with a car but without it was much more difficult.

On Foot - Vias Plage
If you want to walk out from Camping Club Farret the nearest place to go (just 5 minutes away) is the resort of Vias Plage. This is very much a seaside town and has a 'strip' with plenty of restaurants, bars take-aways, tourist shops, convenience stores and great gelato shops. We popped into town every day to buy fresh pastries, have some dinner or to get ice creams to eat on the beach.

The beach itself is a lovely sandy one, with good clear waters and some very nice (if expensive) restaurants on the beach itself.

Children eating ice cream on the beach


Sunday, 24 June 2018

Planning our Perfect Paris Getaway

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower by MarinaDa, thanks to Shutterstock

In July my Mum hits a big milestone age, I won't reveal as that's not my story to tell but we thought it was worth marking with something a bit special. My Dad isn't much of a traveller so he didn't fancy going abroad but Mum really likes to get away and has hardly travelled at all in her life. So lucky for me Dad offered to fund a trip for my brother and I to take our Mum away.

I knew straight away we'd go for a city break as we'll only be there three nights and I thought taking the Eurostar might be fun as neither my brother nor Mum have before and even for me it has been almost twenty years since the last time.

Arranging our Travel
I managed to get a good price on the Eurostar with the three of us travelling at decent times both ways for just £234. That's £78 each and I couldn't find a flight with better prices for daytime travel, I think the key is to book early. You seem to be able to book about six months before your date of travel and there are lots of £29 one-way deals at the moment.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

My London Musical Theatre Bucket List

musical theatre bucket list header image
Theatre Chairs Image from VDB Photos, thanks to Shutterstock

If you were to grant me a wish of doing anything I wanted to for the day, I would easily know what to ask for and it would always include a trip to the theatre in London. For years I went regularly and saw all the big shows, some I even saw a number of times. I think the Phantom of the Opera still reigns as my absolute favourite but I did see Blood Brothers around six times as I loved it so much, so that must be a close second.

Then the kids came along and things changed, we had a massive salary cut and of course evenings out then involved costly babysitters too, so I really felt the London theatre scene was passing me by and I missed quite a number of shows that I wanted to see, ones like The Sound of Music and Dirty Dancing.

Then about four years ago things started to change again and I found myself staying in London at least a couple of times a year and of course I wanted to see a good West End show whilst I was there. So in the last few years I've seen Wicked (twice), 42nd Street, Dreamgirls, Mamma Mia and Beautiful - The Carole King Story. Every one different and each with their own merits but the thing I really love about musical theatre is that you can lose yourself for a few hours in a world of bright lights and great songs.

Musical theatre is definitely my preferred genre and I'm so pleased that there are still dozens of shows that I haven't seen yet, so here is my bucket list for the next few years. You never know, if I'm really lucky maybe I'll get to book three sets of tickets for London shows each year and then I can crack this list in just over three years!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

How to Save Time in your Busy Schedule

These days, it can seem like just about everyone has a busy schedule that they have to stick to day after day. There are certainly plenty of jobs that require you to be on the ball around the clock, but saving time and creating more space in your schedule is almost always possible. It might not seem that way right now, but there are lots of little things that create extra time saving opportunities.

When you add up all these small amounts of saved time, it can create quite a lot of time saved by the end of the month. So it’s time to start looking into some of the various ways in which you can save time in your busy schedule and make your family’s busy life that little bit more laid back and relaxed than it is right now.

Stop Putting Things Off Until Later 
It’s so easy to open a bill or letter and then just throw it onto a big pile of things that you need to deal with later. But you will actually make more space in your budget in the long-term if you sort things out now and get back on track with your bills and other similar pressing matters. If you take the easy option of putting things off until later, that might seem comforting right now, but it will only come back to bite you and cause you more problems later on, which isn’t what you want.

Learn More Keyboard Shortcuts 
If you do a lot of work on your computer or you’re on a computer a lot, you should try to learn more keyboard shortcuts. These will help you get the most basic and important things done more quickly than you otherwise would. Of course, if you don’t feel like you need them, that’s up to you. But if you do try to pick up more shortcuts, you will get through so many situations much more quickly than you’re used to, and that can speed up your entire working day.

Woman saying no image thanks to Khaoniewping from Shutterstock

Turn Things Down When You Don’t Have the Time 
There is nothing wrong with being able to say no when you're simply not able to complete tasks that people ask for you. Your own workload should always take priority over whatever else is going on in the business, unless you get a request directly from the boss to do a particular paid. By turning things down, you will make your life simpler and more basic, and it works really well when it comes to adding more spare time to your schedule.

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.

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.