Sunday 29 April 2018

Review of the Holiday Inn Kensington, London booked via Groupon

entrance holiday inn kensington

The week after Mothers Day my Mum and I met in London for an overnight stay to enjoy some time together without the kids constantly disturbing us. I'd bought the hotel room as my Mums Christmas present and got a very good deal via Groupon. If I'm honest I hadn't really known where I was booking for, as it was advertised a bit cryptically on Groupon. It just said 4* Kensington Hotel with Full English breakfast for two and spa access for £97 in March. It was only upon investigating the postcode that I discovered it was the Holiday Inn.

I'd also bought the same deal for my husband and Miss M to stay there in February and that was just £86 and I had a Groupon 10% off code. With both deals, I was able to go via Quidco too and claim 5% cashback on both bookings. So both bookings turned out to be excellent value for a stunning hotel, that I will happily book in to again.

Arrival at the Hotel
The hotel is literally a 5 minute walk from Kensington High Street tube station and this makes it so easy and accessible. There are shops, coffee shops, restaurants, bars and everything you need very close to hand.

You're greeted by a doorman when you arrive and he'll take your bags if they are big or heavy. Check-in was very easy and not at all busy when we arrived at about 2.30pm. Officially the rooms are ready from 3pm but we were lucky we could access our room straight away. We were up on the 6th floor and there was two lifts to access the upper floors but one appeared to be out of order whilst we were there. It was easy enough to walk down though. I like that you have to use your key card to access the upper floors, that makes you feel safe.

Public Areas
As you walk in the hotel to the left there is a nice Starbucks coffee shop, which is 24 hours and that's so useful. There is also a very large bar area with plenty of comfy seats and it looks stylish and somewhere you'd happily meet friends or colleagues. There is also lots of big seating areas in the lobby so you can relax or wait for a friend. Of course we didn't use them but we saw loads of conference rooms at the hotel too. 

Thursday 26 April 2018

Visit Guernsey to discover the real Island behind the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

guernsey header image

For most of us living in the U.K it is hard to even imagine war nowadays. We are so far removed from the concept of war that truthfully it can be hard to relate. But roll the clocks back around 75 years and some of our fellow countrymen were in a completely different situation. Guernsey was under occupation and the Islanders were having to live alongside their oppressors, the Nazis.

When we travelled to the Channel Islands around four years ago I was fascinated to discover that many locals had to live through occupation. I would never have called myself a history buff but it is all riveting and there is so much to see and to learn. Especially when you have children with you as they'll be learning about WW2 at school and visiting Guernsey becomes a living and exciting history lesson.

But why am I bringing this up now? Well, I'm sure you'll have seen the trailers for the new film that was released on 20th April - The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and if not, take a peek below. I'm can't wait to see it this weekend at the cinema, it looks to be a story of courage, tragedy and love all rolled in to one.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Personalised Phone and Tablet Cases from

photo phone case

Let's be honest, personalised phone cases are nothing new. They've been around for years now and there are hundreds of suppliers of them. I've never had an interest in them before as the ones I've seen have mostly been low quality hard cases or wallets and that's not what I like. I know what I want and I'm quite a hard woman to please.

Since I got my first iPhone back in 2012 its always been a soft silicon type case I like, usually plain as I like to keep it simple. I choose silicon or rubber as I love the reassurance of the big plastic bumper around my fragile glass screen and in the four iPhones I've had I've not had a broken screen yet! So for me its the right choice.

My New Phone Case
However, now I have a personalised phone case I have to admit that I didn't know what I was missing. I haven't compromised, I still have my flexible silicon cover but I also have the most divine picture of myself, my twin girls and my mum smiling at me each time I grab my phone. It is the best photo and it reminds me of a great day together.

My phone cover came from and cost £14.99, this seems a very reasonable price to me as the generic ones that I can find in the shops are either that price or more. It's also one of the better silicon covers I've owned as the material is nice and thick and fits my phone very snugly, so it can't escape. The lip (or bumper) over the glass screen is also thick and quite raised to give the best protection.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Fancy Changing your Teens Life with NCS?

teens kayaking

If I told you that your year 11 could develop leadership skills, build their confidence and make new friends this summer would you be interested?

Would you be even more interested if I said all this would cost you just £50 (maximum) and that your teen would be fully engaged in the most amazing outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event, all over a period of two to four weeks?

The National Citizen Service (NCS)
It sounds amazing, right? I'm sure you want to hear more about the National Citizen Service (NCS), the providers of all this fun. My JJ isn't even 15 yet but I am so pleased to have discovered NCS as I'll definitely be chatting to him about taking part once he has finished his GCSE's. He despairs of me sometimes as I'm forever on at him about being a good citizen; it is one of the most important values I aim to instil in JJ (and my girls to as they grow) as I feel it is far too easy in this day and age to be self-centered and to forget the value of community and working together for the greater good.

“Programmes like NCS are a good way to develop confidence and leadership skills to encourage a new generation of business and community leaders.” Sir Richard Branson

Saturday 14 April 2018

Easter Happy Holiday Days

We've had a lovely couple of weeks with the kids off school but I have to be honest, I am now ready for them to go back to school. I haven't really done any work and my house is feeling neglected BUT if you asked my girls I bet they'd say they've had a wonderful time and whilst JJ hasn't done half as much with me as they have I bet he'd say he was happy too, as I let him indulge his online gaming passion with his mates these last couple of days!

Easter was spent at home relaxing and we had a great early morning service up by the cross on Easter Sunday morning. Then Monday we headed to Bridgwater and stayed over there before a stop at the beautiful Dunster Castle.

Monday 9 April 2018

Booking a Cottage via Airbnb: The White House, Fakenham, Norfolk

the white house

Booking with Airbnb
Last summer for my birthday we took our first Airbnb break. I was a little nervous as I booked because I'd heard both good and bad stories of people's experiences. We just wanted a few days away as a family of five but because it was the Summer school holidays everything costs a bomb. Luckily we’d already had our main family holiday so I figured if it all went wrong we’d still be OK, only four hours from home.

Nothing went wrong though, I need not have feared, we had the most amazing stay at the White House, Little Snoring, Fakenham, Norfolk. The owner Ceila was efficient from my first email communication and when we met her it was clear she could not do enough to make her guests stay memorable. We stayed for three nights and it so was good to be able to choose our length of stay rather than being dictated to by a holiday park. I paid £275.35 in total for the three nights, so that's less than £100 a night for the five of us and I think that's good value for the school holidays. 

With Airbnb bookings it is worth noting that you have a price per night quoted when you search and then there will be a cost on top for cleaning he property and also the service charge, which goes to Airbnb for running the website and providing the support.

I found all the communication very good via Airbnb, you can send questions to prospective property hosts and then communicate with the host of the property you book. I got both emails and text messages from Ceila and she was happy to help with all my queries.

Each host has their own terms and conditions in regard to cancellations, so it is worth checking those out before you book and see if there are any reviews. I like to book a tried and tested property with a number of good reviews. I have seen a few properties and the only reviews are that the host cancelled the booking at short notice, of course I wouldn't dream of booking one of those.