Saturday, 24 August 2019

Double Reasons to be Cheerful - Moments of Joy #R2BC

Happy Saturday friends!  I hope you've been well and enjoying Summer. I have a double whammy edition of Reasons to be Cheerful today as last weekend we'd been away for my birthday and then I was doing a car boot sale so I didn't have time to get one organised.

I thought I'd share some simple moments of joy with you from the last couple of weeks.

Strawberry picking with my girls, we managed to get the very last of this years crop.


Playing with our cat. He really does love the laser light and a ribbon on a stick, we had him running everywhere!


Simple moments in London. On the way home from the theatre, after a bus ride through London the girls were thrilled to find this very cool wall near our hotel. Totally perfect for Instagram!


Sitting outside my house with a good book, looking at the atmospheric sky.


A trip to Bexhill in the rain to specifically have fish and chips with mushy peas in the local cafe.


Liking the way I looked when I took a train selfie the other day!


Miss E loves to visit M & M World and always buys herself some, despite them being completely overpriced!  It makes her happy and as I said, it was her birthday money, so why not?


We grabbed a quiet hour for a coffee and a read together. It was companionship in the quiet - bliss!


These two had so much fun on the inflatable slide in the rain at London Zoo!


A friend of ours is leaving Ashburnham Place and moving on to a new and exciting challenge, we had a fab time at her Hawaiian leaving party.


Miss E and I headed out for a blackberry picking walk at dusk.  It was lovely, but not our best idea as it became pretty hard to see the blackberries! lol


Come and Join In!

I'd love to read your Reasons to be Cheerful and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to join in -

1. Link up a post about something that is making you super happy/ grateful. It can be in this style or it can be anything you like - a recipe, a tutorial, a from the heart, a list - it's your blog, you choose

2. Add the #R2BC badge onto your post or blog so that people can easily find the linky and join in too if they fancy

3.  Share the love. This is the really important bit. Please don't just link and run, comment on at least a couple of posts and why not share with #R2BC too?

I'll stop by all linked up posts to comment and I'll share on twitter too


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Our Stay at Ro's Place, Near Whitstable through AirBnB

Lounge/ dining room

I love to get away with the family but with three adult sized kids, it is becoming harder and harder to find an affordable option that has enough flexibility to allow us all to be happy and relaxed. Air BnB seems to have become our accommodation of choice. I can opt for a whole house, with enough bedrooms and also choose the other factors that are important to our family like good WiFi, easy parking and a garden.

We first stayed in one back in 2017, when we stayed at the White House in Fakenham, then again earlier this year at Squirrel Court in Bradford and recently we spent a few very pleasant days at Ro’s Place close to Whitstable in Kent. This Air BnB only opened up in April this year, so it’s new to the market and as such I thought I’d share about our stay there.


Beach front near Whitstable
Just a few minutes walk from the house is the seafront

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Family Visit to London Zoo in the Rain with BuyAGift


It was my birthday earlier this week and our family had decided to have a night staying up in London, along with a theatre show. We were pondering what we might do on our second day when BuyAGift offered me the chance for us all to visit London Zoo, on one of their experience day vouchers.

I was very happy to take them up on this and I was thrilled to see that if we had bought one of their family London Zoo entry vouchers for £76 (based on 2 adults and 2 kids), we would have been making a great saving against the advance ticket price for the same, direct with the zoo. A saving of just over £14 on an off-peak day and nearly £20 for a peak weekend date. No worrying about peak and off-peak with the BuyAGift voucher though, that can be used any time for 10 months from purchase.

I've worked with and bought BuyAGift vouchers before, as you can often find really good deals. I've made sure I am signed up for their newsletters and then I get to know when there are deals like 10 or 15% off. One of my favourite deals to buy when there are special discounts on, is the Prezzo 3 course meal and a glass of wine for 2 people.

Tween taking a photo of a bird

I was pleased to find that using our BuyAGift voucher was super easy too. Sometimes you have to convert your voucher online and book in advance, but not so with the London Zoo one, we literally had to turn up to the gate and exchange it for entry. It was really easy.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

What does the Future Hold? Going back to my Catering Roots?

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

As I turn 46, I find myself thinking about my life and what has passed. What I'm doing now and what the future might hold. I've recently taken on a new part-time job and I'm very much enjoying doing that for two days a week, along with my freelance work, for another two days a week. These commitments still give me time to volunteer, shop, exercise and be available for the kids too.

I've definitely got a good balance right now and being in a Christian environment is the right thing for me at the moment, but I do have those times when I pass the seafront hotels in Eastbourne and I wonder if the future might take me back to my hotel and catering roots. At age 14 I decided that I wanted to be a hotel manager, I'd been inspired by my Grandad who was a chef in the navy and then worked as a chef and catering manager in many local places. 

From the minute I left school I was training for my future, I went to college and trained to be a hotel manager, and I took my chefing qualifications as well. I then went to Uni and did a Hospitality degree, knowing I'd be a hotel manager when I left, and I was. I had a couple of years with Friendly Hotels as a Trainee Manager, learning the trade from the bottom up, adding to my work experience that started when I was 13 years old.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Ways to use your Smartphone to create a better Financial Future for Yourself

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Most of us spend hours on our smartphones. We have become very reliant on them. So much so that smartphone separation anxiety has become an actual condition. We love these little devices and would find it hard to live without them.

Yet, most of us are only scratching the surface when it comes to what our phones can do for us. As you will see below, with the help of the right apps you can start to build a more financially secure future for yourself and your family. Sounds good, right?

Invest on the fly
Using this investment app, you can keep track of the investments you already have. But, perhaps more importantly, it also enables you to invest on the fly. So, for example, if you get a bonus from work, you can immediately identify a way to invest that cash. This will stop you from frittering that bonus away over the weekend.

Track what you are spending
Managing your day to day spending is critical if you want to stay out of debt. Knowing how much the essentials of life cost and budgeting accordingly can easily be done using a money management app. One of the best ones on the market is Mint.

As well as letting you set and stick to a budget, the Money Dashboard app has several additional features built-in. For example, alerts that tell you when your bills are due.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

More Summer Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

I'm really enjoying the summer and I hope you are too. I think it helped immensely that I had a whole week without any children! My hubby and I had a great time, visiting a National Trust park, going our for dinner, seeing a Tina Turner tribute act, going to the cinema and getting coffee! It has been bliss and shhh, no I didn't actually have time to miss them!

The kids all had a great time away as well. The girls were at our church youth camp, with around 8000 other people and JJ was with my parents.

Time to just read and snuggle with the cat


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

10 Ways to get your Teen Away from their Screen this Summer

Tween girls feeding ducks

We're fully into the summer holiday now and I'm sure you might have heard the dreaded words 'I'm bored' so far. No matter what, every kid seems to get in this rut and I've always believed that my kids need to break through the boredom barrier. It's good for them to be bored for a little while, as that is when they engage their creative mind and start to think laterally about what they used to or could do.

It's so easy for teens (especially boys) to get stuck in a rut and end up endlessly playing computer games, surfing the web or getting immersed into social media but we all know that too much of it isn't good for us, on so many levels - our physical health, our mental health and our ability to converse and communicate with others.

Here are a few ideas that aren't going to break the bank, that may just help you get your teen away from their screen. Of course, you have to be realistic, they probably aren't going to thank you initially, as they think they want to spend 24/7 glued to their phone or laptop.

1.  Volunteering / Work Experience
This one will depend on the age of your teen and realistically it probably should have been sorted out before now, but whats friends or family do you have who they could accompany to work for the day? My son has done voluntary work gardening, learning maintenance tasks, working in a cafe and marshaling traffic. Each has been great experience for him and provided something different to his skill set.

Don't just assume your teen is too young or that they shouldn't be working yet (childhood is for fun) these kind of educational days can excite, inspire and develop your teen.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Summer Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

Morning all, I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer holidays. Reasons to be Cheerful is back with me for the month of August and I'm hoping to be a cheery example and inspire you to share all those things (big and small) that have made you smile, if only for a moment. Life isn't always good but there are always glimmers of hope there, when you are brave enough to look for them.

A Fabulous few days in Kent
Last week we had 3 nights away in Whitstable before the busy summer kicked off for my husband at work. It was really great as we were only 90 minutes away from home, but it was far enough to be totally new and a lot of fun. We loved spending time on the local beaches as the sun went down.


Thrills at Dreamland, Margate
We received free wristbands to enjoy the day at the Dreamland theme park and we had such a great time. It was far too hot but that didn't put the girls off going on so many rides! We all truly loved it there and would definitely visit again.  I've written a review over here.


We're Kid Free!
The girls are away at a camp with our church and JJ is at my parents this week, so dh and I have had the house to ourselves. We been out to dinner, coffee and the theatre. It's been very nice, if a little unusual!

We've still got nearly five weeks left of the summer holidays and lots of fun things planned, as well as some down time for chilling. I plan on having a fabulous time!

Come and Join In!

I'd love to read your Reasons to be Cheerful and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to join in -

1. Link up a post about something that is making you super happy/ grateful. It can be in this style or it can be anything you like - a recipe, a tutorial, a from the heart, a list - it's your blog, you choose

2. Add the #R2BC badge onto your post or blog so that people can easily find the linky and join in too if they fancy

3.  Share the love. This is the really important bit. Please don't just link and run, comment on at least a couple of posts and why not share with #R2BC too?

I'll stop by all linked up posts to comment and I'll share on twitter too


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Sharing my Experience of Switching my Bank Current Account

Photo by Nick Pampoukidis on Unsplash

After 35 years with HSBC (formally Midland Bank) my husband and I have just switched our current account, in fact all our accounts, to another provider. I have to admit that it was pretty daunting, we’ve been with them a very long time and know how they work. The easiest thing would have been to remain with HSBC for another 35 years, but to be frank we didn’t feel they were valuing us and with a sudden change in interest rates for our savings and a naff interaction with one of their personal bankers in the branch we felt it was time to take our business elsewhere.

I suspect there are many people in the same situation as us, wondering if there is something better out there but avoiding thinking about it, as moving a current account feels pretty big and scary. Who wants to set up all those standing orders, direct debits, and transfer details again?

Great news, you don’t have to. Banks and building societies in the UK make it very easy for you to switch your current account. You might have switched one of your utilities in recent years using a switch service and it is almost as easy as that! Take a look on the Current Account Switch website and see if your current bank or building society is signed up to the guarantee and thus making it easy. At a glance it looked like it was all the big high street ones I know.

Our move was from HSBC to Nationwide and this gave us and a friend a £100 welcome bonus each as they recommended us. It also means we are now part of the Nationwide Building Society and we get members rights, such as preferential savings rates. Another factor for us is that the Nationwide is the only bank or building society that still has a branch in our local town. All the others are closing theirs and moving away from personal service, but I can still bank a cheque or get an appointment when I need one and Nationwide have made a commitment to keep their high street branches open.

I'm not here to sell Nationwide to you though this isn't a sponsored post, I just thought it would be good to share my experience and reassure others how easy this process can be. Remember that you have to switch your account to one with the same holders name and a joint account cannot become a single one, and vice versa.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

So Much Fun at Dreamland, Margate (Review)

Dreamland event area
Central Event Area/Food Court

Earlier this week we had a few days away as a family in Kent. We had a wonderful time and the weather was amazing. On Wednesday we headed to the seaside resort of Margate to visit Dreamland, an amusement park that I hadn't visited for around thirty years.

I have to admit, that with exception of the entrance, I didn't recognise any of it. My memory of Bembon Brothers (as it was called then) was of the massive Looping Star roller coaster, that I was too scared to go on (I looked after the bags) and the Mary Rose ride that my Mum went on and vowed 'never again'! I was astounded to hear that Dreamland will turn 100 on 3rd July 2020 and at the moment they are running a public FB group to find the best 100 memories and photos to share. Check it out and join if you have memories of years gone by to share. 

I think the reason I didn't recognise the park is that it looks so much better now than my memories of it. It was very stark, with lots of metal and concrete back then, but now it is bright, fresh, clean and full of greenery.  I'll say from the offset that we had a great visit to Dreamland and Miss E said that if she lived locally she'd definitely get annual membership so she could go every week. She really is our daredevil child!

Dreamland drop ride
Miss E on the Dreamland Drop

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Loving our Trespass Event Shelter (Review)

Trespass event shelter at sunset

For the last six years we've lived in the most amazing place. We have 220 acres available to us, much of which was designed by Capability Brown. People come here to take walks and admire the beauty; we have three lakes, a couple of forests, a prayer garden, formal lawns, an Orangery and a walled kitchen garden.

Life really is rich here, beyond any dream we ever had of anywhere we expected to live. But there is one downside - we don't have any private outside space. We can't hang our washing out, nor hide away when the day gets too much. The girls play out in the courtyard and in the main that is fine but there are guests coming through, volunteers heading to their houses and the neighbours kids playing as well.

For a long time we've just wanted the option to sit out as a family and enjoy time, just as us. Or for the girls to be able to play a game together without always having to have younger children involved. Well the answer has arrived and I am so pleased to have purchased a Trespass event shelter from Argos, for the price of £129.99 (and £3.95 if you wish for it to be delivered to your home).

Inside the Trespass event shelter

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Happy, Happy Birthday Girls!


Morning friends, for my benefit and yours, I'm bringing you a Reasons to be Cheerful post, so we can both get a dose of much needed positivity.

End of Term
As I type this I am just waiting for the kids to all arrive home from school, they have a half day and it's the end of term. I am so pleased that school is over for practically seven weeks. They really need this break and I really need at least one or two mornings a week when I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn and be on form!

Off to Whitstable
We have lots of fun things going on over the summer, starting with a few days break in Whitstable next week. We will be heading to Dreamland, Margate and also the Dockyard, Chatham, as well as lots of other fun times that are not yet planned. It's good for me to go with the flow. Of course going away does mean I need to have a good clean this weekend, as one of our volunteers is coming to stay to look after the cat.


Happy 12th Birthday Girls
This week the girls turned 12 and they had an enjoyable birthday. They were thoroughly spoilt and are now proud owners of a new phone each and then Saturday we are off to Brighton for them to have a good shop with the money they received. JJ will be pleased to avoid the shopping and he will be at Lewes Police Headquarters for the day joining in with some training with cadets.

Family Fun Afternoon
Last weekend there was a family fun afternoon at church and it was a nice, chilled event. We enjoyed time with friends, a BBQ and some fun games.

Prize for my JJ
I went to school this week to watch JJ receive a prize for mathematics. It is a subject he really enjoys and is naturally gifted in and I feel very proud of that, as it is not one I ever did well in at school. We then enjoyed a pizza together whilst the girls were at a youth BBQ.


He also came home with his prefects tie and badge this week, ready for year 11 duties. I can't believe he'll be taking his GCSE's next May, time goes far too fast!

Summer Ball
I better head off as I have a couple of jobs to do before I take the girls to their summer ball at youth club tonight. They'll be eating, dancing, playing and having a powder paint fight and I'll be serving the food and washing up, something isn't fair there! lol

Enjoying time Outdoors
Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know we live in the most amazing place, but the one downside is that we don't have any outside private space. This has been becoming harder and harder for me, as I love to be out in the fresh air, but despite however nice my neighbours kids are, I just want to be alone. So I got an event shelter, one with removable sides and I've been so enjoying just having some private space outdoors.


I hope you have a great week ahead.

Becky over at Lakes Single Mum is out host for the month of July.  Head over and check out more cheery reads.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Advice from my 11 year old Twins about Starting Secondary School

Back to school flat lay
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

This time last year I had two very excited 10 year old's living with me. They couldn't wait (on the one hand) for their school year to finish and to be a step closer to starting at secondary school. But of course they were also a little sad about losing contact with the friends who were going to go to different schools.

If you've got a child about to start secondary school this coming September you'll probably relate to what I've said and will know this is a time of change, worries and uncertainty, as well as great excitement.

I asked my girls to share their experience and give me some tips of what helped them make this transition and to settle in to their new school. So here are tips from my tweens to yours, hand the laptop over now -

Before you Start

*  If your school has an option to attend some summer classes to meet other new pupils and find out how the school works, make sure you take the opportunity to attend as you'll be ahead of many others on your first formal day and will feel much more confident.

*  Make sure you get the right uniform. You might want something different to what they state but it won't be worth the defaults or maybe detentions that you could end up with.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Passing on a Love of Photography


Since I was young I have enjoyed taking photos and making albums full of memories. At University I had photo collages on my wall, I'd make them as gifts for others and then once I got my first digital camera back in 2001 I took all the wedding photos for my friend of her marriage in Cyprus. It was such a delight choosing the best photos from the hundreds I had taken and presenting her with an amazing keepsake album as my wedding gift to her.

Looking back, I didn't really have any skill and I never had a very good camera to use. It was only once my blogging became more professional and I started to attend conferences that I knew I had to up my game. So in June 2013 after the BritMums conference I headed to a big department store I trust and asked for some advice, they sent me packing with my very first Panasonic Lumix (Professional) Mirrorless Camera.

Mirroless cameras were still fairly new on the mass market back then and many people had no idea why I had gone for one of them rather than a classic DSLR camera, but I just loved the smaller and lighter weight camera body. I still had the capacity for changeable lenses and full user adjustability but I didn't have to carry a heavy or cumbersome camera. My Panasonic Lumix DMC G5 is still serving me well six years later.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

9 Top Tips for Visiting Windsor Castle, Berkshire

External Windsor Castle view

Last week my Mum and I visited Windsor Castle, this is the second time I have visited and I thought I'd share some tips for visiting this super busy tourist attraction. Windsor Castle is a very grand example of one of the Queens official residences in the UK, and from what I understand she chooses to spend many of her private weekends there. So if you're then on a weekend check if the flag is flying! You never know, you might glimpse her riding her horse one morning if the weather is fine.

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, having been founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs and thus has a very good pedigree! It's also still used for many state occasions and ceremonies, so when you visit it does feel very special, as if you could have been at the wedding of Harry and Megan! lol

Windsor Castle garden view

When visiting somewhere like Windsor castle that has international appeal for Royal fans, it is best to be organised and plan your day in advance. Here are my top tips -

1.  Book your tickets in advance
We skipped a 40 minute queue when we visited last week, as we had our tickets and could join the short queue (6 people) at the booking office. The queue went right back to the end of the street by the Queen Victoria statue (this was at 11.30am). Make sure to check the website for any changes to opening hours and days, as they can change due to royal requirements, and you don't want to be disappointed on the day.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful: End of Term, the Sun and Time with Mum


Joining in with Becky for Reasons to be Cheerful.  It's been another good week so I need to celebrate and make sure I record all the things making me feel grateful.

The End of Term
We still have a couple of weeks left but it is definitely on wind-down. The end of term exams have finished, the kids all seem to be without homework, JJ's had a couple of good taster days at college, ready to make a decision of where he wants to attend in the Autumn and the girls have a trip to a zoo Monday. JJ is also starting work experience for a week very soon.


Time with my Mum
It's my Mum's birthday and so I took a couple of days to go and stay with her and my Dad. We had a lovely time, eating good food, seeing Rocketman, visiting Windsor Castle and having afternoon tea as we sailed on the Thames. I also got two days free of cooking, cleaning up and washing.  Wish me luck when I get home Saturday, we'll see what the house looks like!

I love this photo as it is part of a series when mum was larking around and laughing so much!

The Sunshine!
Yes, I am a tad pale and I do get burnt easily. It's also not the easiest in the heat when you are my size, but I really can't moan as it has been just lovely. In fact I'm sat in my parents garden with the laptop writing this now. I've enjoyed Pimms on the bench outside my house, read my book out, supervised the girls at the lake, chatted to neighbours and tomorrow we have an event shelter (gazebo type thing) arriving so I can get some shade outside!


That's it, back to basics, a classic Reasons to be Cheerful 1, 2, 3.....  post!  Just like in the good old days when this linky first started.

I'm linking up with Becky at Lakes Single Mum as she is the host for this month.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Hooray for Summer - 2019 Bucket List


I'm very excited that summer has finally arrived. There are only three weeks until the kids break up from school and then all the real fun can begin!

As I was thinking about summer I thought it might be fun to do a bucket list, I think its been a few years since I last did one. I'm working in my new job two days a week this summer, so I'll have to be creative how I fit in all the fun that I want to have, as there will still be my freelance work to do as well. Luckily the girls have various church camps that they'll get involved with over 3 or 4 weeks of the summer, so they won't have time to be bored.


Here's a few things I really want to do over the summer holiday -

Planning The Perfect Family Holiday To Singapore

Image Source
{This is a collaborative post}

You probably haven’t considered Singapore as a family holiday destination because Southeast Asia is usually associated with backpacking and hostels. But Singapore is actually a great destination that is ideal for families. It gives you the opportunity to experience a culture that is so completely different from what you would find in most typical family destinations which is important because travel is a great educational experience for your kids. The city state of Singapore, just off the coast of Malaysia, is incredibly safe and it’s a fairly simple place to get around, even though it’s a bit of a culture shock. It has a very multicultural population and you’ll find a great mix of traditions and cultures from around Asia so it’s the ideal introduction to the region if you have never been there before. It’s also very tourist friendly and the locals are very welcoming and helpful to visitors. 

If you’re looking for something a bit different for your next family holiday, Singapore is a great choice. Here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect trip. 

When To Visit 
One of the best things about Singapore is that there isn’t really a bad time to visit. Obviously, you want to go when the weather is nice which isn’t a problem in Singapore because it’s nice all year round. It has consistently warm weather all year with an average temperature of around 27 degrees, but it can feel a lot hotter than that when it’s particularly humid. Rain is always a possibility so you can’t really avoid it but if you spend a week out there, it’s likely that it will be warm most of the time. 

When it comes to the prices of hotels and flights etc. the prices are pretty much the same for most of the year. Singapore is a hub for international business so people are visiting all year round and the prices shouldn’t change too much. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule. November through to January will be a little more expensive because of the Chinese New Year and June and July are often popular because there are some other festivals going on. But even then, the prices won’t change drastically so you can plan your trip whenever is most convenient for you. 

Friday, 28 June 2019

The Importance of Gratitude #R2BC


I'm really pleased to be sat here writing a Reasons to be Cheerful post. Without being conscious that I was, this week I have been counting every blessing and have been reminded of the importance of gratitude. When I first started #R2BC back in 2011 it was because I needed to look at the good in my life and to reset to be content and grateful for what I had. It really worked for me and I truly believe that the two main keys to contentment are being happy with what you have and not seeking more and more, as well as being grateful.

So here we go with this weeks dose of positivity. The things I am feeling super grateful for right now are -
  1. Blue skies and sunny days
  2. The air conditioning in my car
  3. That my house stays cool, even in crazy hot weather as we have 1ft thick walls!
  4. A fun festival in the grounds of where I live last Sunday
  5. JJ being made a Prefect for year 11 and getting an end of year award for maths
  6. Getting myself two gorgeous dresses from Maine at Debenhams today, they should have been £75 and I got them for £40. Bargain!
  7. I had a great chat with dh this morning, whilst we had a coffee after both having our hair cut
  8. We're trying out a new church on Sunday morning
  9. I'm still enjoying my work and if I go in early, even after a 45 minute drive I can still be home by 5pm
  10. Taking the girls swimming in the lake with lots of other people from our community after work
  11. The roses here are beautiful at he moment
  12. The most yummy piece of carrot cake
  13. Loads of new international volunteers where I live, and the wonderful interaction my girls are having with them
  14. Miss M has performed at school in the choir five times this week for the new year 7 intake evenings

How To Spend 5 Days In NYC

Photo Credit: Clay Banks at Unsplash
{This is a collaborative post}

As you may know, travelling can be great for the soul. But not only that, it can be great for your family dynamic too. Because when you travel together, you get to spend some valuable time together too. And not only that, but you get to make great memories too. This is why it’s great to go to new and adventurous places together, like New York City.

It’s easy to think that NYC isn’t the place for a family trip, but it certainly can be. There’s a lot going on in the city for families and kids can get just as excited over the magic of the big apple as you do! We definitely want to head there as a family in the not too distant future, Im just savign up at the moment.

Here’s how to spend five glorious days there -


Day One: Check In & Explore
Your first day can be a bit slow after a long flight; you just want to get settled in. No matter what time you arrive, make sure that you check into your hotel and try to adjust to the new time zone right away. Time is precious, so sticking with NY time is crucial. You’ll find that heading out to explore helps here.


Day Two: Sightseeing
When you wake up on day two, you may feel a little jet lagged, but you’ll also want to ensure that you’re able to make the most of the day. So push through and plan a day’s sight-seeing! There are lots of different family-friendly attractions in NYC that you can explore, along with the most notable. So think about the things that will make your time here as memorable as possible. Talk to friends who have visited before and check out family blogs for great ideas.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

A Girl's First Love Stays with Her Forever #PethoodStories

Teen girl and her labrador
Me, aged 15 with Toby Jack
{This is a collaborative post}

Every woman remembers their first love. I could say it was my Dad, but I think that's a given. No, my first love arrived into my life when I was 14-years-old and he was gorgeous. The most handsome boy I'd ever seen, this glossy and silky gingery-blond hair, a massive smile and he was content to just be with me. Hardly any demands, just unconditional love. A love that lasted for thirteen years.

We went through some interesting times together, Toby and I. Times when I deserted him for other boys, times when I was too busy to spend as much time with him as he deserved, and times when I slept late in the morning and forgot to get up and walk him (thankfully mum didn't)! But he always forgave me. He was always happy to offer me cuddles and a gorgeous shoulder to cry into when I needed it.

I can't tell you the amount of times that I cried to Toby, he just listened, he never made me feel bad and he never answered back. Of course, that's because he was a dog, a Labrador, but not just any ordinary dog as far as I am concerned. He, for me, is the best dog that ever lived and I don't think any other dog will ever take that place of my first love, of my bestest friend.

I look back at old photos now and I chuckle to myself, he was so placid and my brother and I used to never let up, always looking to have fun with him. Just look at the photos below to see for yourself.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

An abundance of Gratitude - Family, Walks and Time to Be

This was the beautiful sight that greeted us as we arrived back from a meal with
our pastoral group on Thursday night

Hello friends, so sorry I didn't get an #R2BC post live last Saturday.  Time totally ran away with me and as I had my parents staying I figured it was more important to spend time with them, than fret over a blog post. I know you understand.

As always I have so much to be grateful for -

Family to Stay
As I mentioned my parents came to stay at the cottage we have onsite here and this meant hubby and I got a night out to see the new X men film at the cinema, as well as going to a bible study and new church on our own. It's so great when they are beloved babysitters available.

JJ was happy to spend a night looking after their dog whilst they went to the cinema and the girls stayed up there and it feels like a mini holiday. We didn't do anything major whilst they were here as some days the weather was rubbish, but it is just good to spend time with them, chatting going out for meals and charity shop browsing for Mum and I.

We had a yummy lunch at Tottingworth Farm cafe in Heathfield
My new Job
I'm still loving my new job, I've done three weeks now, but realistically that is just 6 days. In my head I want to know everything now and be able to get on with it, but I know my expectations are too high! I'm enjoying getting out, doing something different, challenging my mind and having some time to myself in the car each way.