Saturday 28 August 2021

Holidaying in the UK: Planning for All Eventualities

{This is a collaborative post}

More and more of us are choosing to stay in the UK for our holiday this year and I suspect it may become a trend over the next few years as well, as people recover financially and emotionally from the scars of Covid 19. 

Personally, I love going on holiday here as we have such a beautiful country and there is so much to explore, with great diversity in our towns, countryside and coastline. There is no need for holidaying in the UK to be looked down on as the poor relation to foreign travel. It is far more kind to our world, it can save you a decent amount of money and you know the language!

In the last couple of years, we have explored so much more of our home county, East Sussex and found some real gems for days out. Also, we have also stayed in West Sussex, Kent, Yorkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and London and I can honestly say the only thing we have missed is the guaranteed sunshine and massive swimming pools that you tend to get abroad. I've found that going on holiday with the right attitude and knowing that the holiday will be more about exploring a new area, eating great food and enjoying time as a family has allowed us to not feel as if we have missed out. 

Of course, things can go wrong on holiday here in the UK, just the same as they can anywhere else so it is important to be ready and prepared as you can be. Here are a few things to think about and organise before your holiday, so that you can have the most stress-free time whilst you're away. 

Monday 23 August 2021

Making your Home really Special with Floately

Post introducing the Arsai floating plant pot and Volta levitating light bulb from Floatley

{This is a collaborative post}

They say that home is where the heart is and that is so true for me. I love being at home and I even start to miss my home when I have been away on holiday for a length of time. I know most people never want to return from their holiday but I'm that odd person who likes to go back and get into my usual routine.

As my home is such a sanctuary for me I love it to look nice and to be able to welcome friends over to enjoy the space with us. We are lucky enough to live on the grounds of a Christian conference centre and we usually have around forty to fifty young people living here at any one time. So, we are never short of guests to come over and enjoy a meal or some games with us.

We've found that with each new set of young people who come over there are certain things that are always a talking point. They love our gallery photo wall on the stairs and enjoy seeing pictures of all my family when we were much younger. They also always enjoy checking out Miss E's artwork on the walls as she has a real talent and we have some interesting pieces collected from the last six or seven years.

I have been looking for some new contemporary decorative pieces to add to our lounge and kitchen spaces in recent times, as these are rooms that get used a lot and I think it will be good to have some more items that attract the attention of our guests.

Let me introduce you to Floatley, a company that supply stylish floating home decor items. They have a lovely range of items from floating blue tooth speakers, to plant pots, to all different lights and lamps. 

Sunday 22 August 2021

6 Situations where Self Storage could be your Perfect Answer

Six reasons why renting a self-storage unit might suit your cirumstances
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I suspect that like me there have been times when you have felt your house is bursting at the seams and you just need some more space.  But upgrading to a new house is financially impossible and getting rid of some of your treasured things just feels too heart wrenching, Never fear there are other solutions, which mean you can restore your house to uncluttered harmony.

You may never have considered using self-storage before but it is so practical and there are so many of them now, that you can almost always get once fairly close to home and you're free to access it whenever you like (within the site operating hours). Here, I'll share six situations where self-storage could be the right answer.

1. Your home is undergoing major renovations

You might be adding an extension, changing the layout or just refurbishing some of the most used rooms. Whichever it is, it probably won't be practical to move all the belongings from those rooms into other rooms in the house if you are planning to still live there whilst the renovation goes on. So why not invest in self-storage for the short term. Now Self Storage is a family run business, established for over ten years with a number of sites across the country.

2.  When you're moving house

A number of years back my husband and I both switched jobs at the same time and this meant we had to move out of the house that had come with our jobs. We invested in a new build flat and were excited to move in but sadly there were delays and it turned out we needed to find somewhere to stay for two or three months. Thankfully, my husbands, Nan gave us a room, but we had to take a storage container to house all our stuff, as there was no room for it all in his Nana's 2 bedroom house. 

Friday 20 August 2021

Visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

At the beginning of July, my Mum and I took a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens or Kew Gardens as many know it.  Despite having lived about 25 miles away for much of my life I had never visited, and nor had my mum so we were really looking forward to exploring and Kew Gardens didn't disappoint us.

Getting there

The drive up to Kew from Woking along the M3/ A316 was easy and took about 35 minutes, I was heading for the Kew Ferry Lane car park, which is £7 for the whole day and I thought this was very reasonable for London. However, before we even reached the car park we saw loads of spaces around Kew Green and we were able to park right in front of Elizabeth Gate and enter there. It cost us £5.65 to park there for 4 hours using the RingGo app and at the time Mum and I thought this would be fine, but we actually could have done with double that time. I'd say leave at least six hours free if you want to have a good exploration and enjoy some lunch/ a coffee. 

There are good public transport links to get to Kew Gardens - 

  • a mainline train station at Kew Bridge, just 800 meters walk to Elizabeth Gate, 
  • Kew Gardens tube station for the District Line and London Overground
  • Bus routes 65, 110, 237 and 267 all come close by
  • There are bike racks at each of the four entrance gates and note that bikes, scooters, skates, skateboards etc are not allowed to be used within the gardens

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Planning Your Own Funeral in the UK

Tips to help you think through and plan for your own funeral, so you don't have to leave that task to a loved one
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I know that many people don't want to think about death and funerals. For them, these are just sad and morbid times that only need to be considered as a necessity. However, for me, as a Christian, I'm not scared to think about dying and I know that the best is still to come.

Of course, all funeral planning will involve some sad moments as it means you have lost someone or that you're thinking ahead to a time when you may leave loved ones behind. It's always those left behind that death is the most devastating for. With that in mind, I want to be able to plan my own funeral and take away any stress from my husband or children when it becomes time for my funeral to be planned.

I don't want my funeral to be another burden to add to the list, and I don't want them to have to think they have to create something big and fancy to say goodbye to me, so I hope that in laying out some plans of my wishes, they will feel free from the obligations that can come with this life event. 

I'll share my tips for the things you need to think about and consider when leaving instructions for your own funeral. 

Think about what is important to you

There are so many things to consider, like do you want a burial or a cremation? Is there a particular resting place where you'd like to be laid to rest? Do you want a large funeral and wake? Or just close family and something more personal? Should it be a religious ceremony or not? Is there particular music to include? Do you want to make a video reel to be shown? Should people wear a particular colour, or donate to a charity in memory of you? The list goes on and on. 

Take some time to have a really good think about what is important to you and also what is affordable to you. You might also want to speak to those you love to get their input so that whatever is planned can be a truly collaborative effort and be as heartwarming as a funeral can be.

For some people, it isn't important to have lots of people or a big party afterwards and they would prefer a simple option, like direct cremation and this is OK, every person is different and should be able to choose what suits them and their loved ones.

How formal will you make your plans?

You can, of course, just put all your wishes into a word document and save them for the future, or you may wish to go one step further and actually meet with a funeral director and firm your plans up for when they are needed. Many funeral arrangers such as Heart of England Funeral Care allow you to specify in a plan what arrangements you'd like and then you can pre-pay and however much prices rise before your funeral, you won't be charged any extra. This is such a good idea, as funeral costs have almost doubled in the last decade and are set to continue rising. There are all sorts of payment plans so you can spread the cost over a number of months or years, so talk to your funeral planner to find out what is right for your circumstances. 

Thursday 5 August 2021

Flip Out Trampoline Park Chichester - What did we think?

A couple of weeks ago we stayed in Worthing for a weeks holiday and we had a great time. When I asked my twins what they'd like to do, trampolining was top of their list and when they saw there was a Flip Out not too far away they were over the moon, as they'd heard before how good these trampoline parks are. 

What does it cost?

Flip Out Chichester is super easy to find, as it is situated just a short way off the A27, which skirts around the outer edge of Chichester. There was a large car park available and notices to remind you not to park on the industrial park roads, so I assume it can get crowded at times. 

It wasn't at all busy when we went on a weekday during term-time. I booked for the Daytime Bounce session which is 2.5 hours of bouncing. We booked the slot from 10am to 12.30pm and truthfully my girls didn't need that long as they were super tired after about 90 minutes. The cost was £12 for the session, which seemed reasonable but it was also mandatory to buy the Flip Out socks for £2.50 a pair, which seemed such a shame as I had trampoline specific socks with me from our local venue. But they told me some story about them not being tested on their trampoline and thus my girls could not use them. I had the socks to show them and they had the same kind of rubbery bottom, but they wouldn't even look at them and that feels like a bit of a con. 

I also had to pay £2.50 per spectator to be on-site and wait for them. Again this feels like an unnecessary cost. I understand during busy times they may need to limit spectators and this is a way of doing that but when there were only about 10 people in the building, it is obviously just another way to make money. Thankfully they did offer a complimentary drink for each paying spectator, so my mum and I had a coffee and it was very nice.  

During busier times, it is £10 for one hour at the early bird time of 9am or £12 for one hour for the rest of the day.

Monday 2 August 2021

A July full of Reasons to be Cheerful

I'm feeling very relaxed and happy as we went away on holiday last week and now I have the whole summer stretching ahead of me. If only the sun would come out again!

Worthing Holiday

So the holiday is the first super big reason to be cheerful. We stayed in Goring, next to Worthing and it was glorious, the weather was great, our holiday house was right by the beach and it was so good to spend time with my parents and brother. We did all the simple UK beach holiday stuff, time on the beach, swimming in the sea, playing mini-golf, penny arcades, walking (and skating) the prom and the pier, out for meals, as well as shopping, trampolining and car booting!