Travel tips with children #arewenearlythereyet

Written by Emma. Posted in Uncategorized

This summer we have done our longest ever travelling with Erin, we had decided we wanted to pack in as much as possible before school starts in September.  It was to be our summer of fun.  This has involved short breaks in the UK, visiting grandparents and day trips to Lollibop with friends.  Basically we have been a bit busy! We have regularly made two hour plus car journeys.  Therefore I thought I’d share how we coped.

Tips for the preschooler:

1. I had some new colouring supplies tucked into her back pack to discover once settled in the car.

2. I plan travelling so that if she is going to nap it wont impact on the normal bedtime routine.  Likewise if I don’t want her to nap we travel in the morning, car journeys about 1.30 will always result in Erin falling asleep.

3. The ipad was loaded with games that were suitable for a pre schooler.

4. The bag also contains some of her favourite Disney figures and she makes up stories and occupies herself.   I love a preschooler’s imagination.

5. Have snacks, drinks and baby wipes to hand.  We usually have dried fruit, mini cheddars and so on to hand.

Tips for the Tween and Teen

1. Electrical gadgets.  Make sure everything is fully loaded especially if travelling more than a few hours  these entertain them for most journeys.  My brother took a box set and his Mac and barely spoke to anyone until we landed some seven hours later!!

2. Have food, nothing is a moany as hungry teens!

3. Get them magazines or a book to read and enjoy on the journey.

4. Dyl is currently working towards taking the 11+ therefore we use car journeys as a time to test him on his times tables, or give him mental maths challenges.


Tips for parents:

1. Plug in your headphones and ignore the kids!

2. Be organised, I never leave without my sat nav which ensures I know exactly where I am headed.

2. Pretend to be asleep, unless your the driver of course!

To be fair the children were all really good on most  journeys. Portable dvd players are also great and the children often watch a film like Frozen or Up.  By the time its watched often much of the journey has past.   Travelling with children can be done it just takes a bit of planning. Parkdean holidays recently asked just over 1400 people for their journey tips and here is the result:

I’d like to know your top tips.

Disclosure: This post is in association with Parkdean Holidays


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Entering the fitness class.

Written by Emma. Posted in Uncategorized

I have been a member of the gym for a while.  I do a bit and I enjoy going with my gym partner, the very fit, strong and agile Chloe.  I cannot compete against her young body but going together I push myself more.  We have a little routine going now and we come away feeling like we have achieved something.

I have often considered joining a fitness class, I know the motivation and encouragement would help me, but I don’t speak to anyone when I go to the gym and I have never been brave enough to push open the door to a class.  However one of the things I am determined about in my new life (the one where I become a work from home mum) is that I am going to get fitter, healthier and regularly get to the gym.  Its all about getting that balance right.  Therefore last Thursday I booked Erin into kids club and booked Chloe and myself into Body Balance.

It wasn’t until this morning I looked up what body balance was and realised it was a pilates / yoga/ Tai chi class.  I thought I could handle it.  We stoody outside and already  felt my teenage angst rise up.  I am not good with new situations and I was thankful Chloe was by my side.  So we entered and somehow it appeared we were stood at the front of the class, not the position I really wanted as would have preferred to be hidden at the back.  The class started and we had to inhale and exhale like some birthing women.  I thought this is fine, we moved through the first few stretches and it was good, I was worried about expelling either air and making embarrassing noises or even peeing a little as the pelvic muscles are not what they were!

When we moved on to the balance bit I failed spectacularly.  Who would have thought standing on one leg could be so challenging?  I wobbled like a jelly on a plate.  The thought of my belly wobbling was tough, but the reason I kept trying to control the wobbles.  I would like a much tighter set of abs, which the fab instructor promised me are buried somewhere deep underneath the outlayer I have on show!  Chloe wasn’t much better than me which made me feel better!  She might be long and strong but her core isn’t great, we knew that already and the physio’s had suggested a pilates type class would be good for her.  Chloe is way more flexible than me, but she too wobbled and lost her balance.  Then as if that wasn’t enough we went into the core abs section, more sit ups and exhaling than I had ever done before.  It hurt.  After the class I staggered home to put my feet up.  I can already feel the effects, especially in my legs and tomorrow I am wondering just how much I am going to hurt!

It hasn’t put me off as 1. I didn’t pee myself and 2. the instructor was great.  Chloe and I are going to work our way through the classes and see what we like best.  I pushed open the class door and I want to push open a few more now.

yoga tai chi


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Weekends away in the summer.

Written by Emma. Posted in family, Uncategorized

We are off on our travels again this weekend, just the children and me this time though.  We are Reading bound staying with Erin’s best friend Libby.  Erin has only ever played with Libby a handful of times but the love is there!  Together we are heading to a festival, whilst your conjuring up images of tents and bands, this festival is slightly different as it is the children’s festival Lollibop.

It seems day festivals and food festivals are on the increase, these fun filled family days out are a hit with everyone.  The Manchester Picnic takes place on the weekend of 29th August – 31st August and is one such event.  We enjoy foodie festivals, seeing our favourite celebrity chefs and sampling local flavours.

Although not local to me the Manchester Picnic has been about for five years and is growing in popularity, the previous picnic had 25,000 visitors in 2013, and the much-loved family food festival in Piccadilly Gardens will host a variety of gourmet pop-up picnic traders, alongside live music, games and entertainment.


The Manchester Picnic has become a firm highlight of the city centre summer calendar. This year’s theme is ‘Play’ to celebrate the recent opening of the new children’s playground near the Victoria Memorial in Piccadilly Gardens.

Serving up a range of food from around the world from 11am-6pm each day will be local Indian organic street food vendors Chaat Cart, award-winning homemade ice-cream purveyor Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, wood-fired artisan pizzas Fire and Slice and Piggy Smalls which will be cooking up a storm with gourmet hotdogs, to name a few.

The popular children’s teddy bear’s picnic will be returning on Sunday 31st, alongside an appearance by Baby Ballet’s Twinkle the Bear.

This all sounds like a great way to spend a weekend, my Erin loves a teddy bears picnic and her picnic basket would be overflowing with chocolate traybake and crisps! Here are my tips for the event.

1. If you are looking to make a weekend of the event a night at a local hotel like The Crowne Plaza is only a short drive away and will allow you to explore more of the city too.

2. Dress for the weather, or at least pack rain macs then you can carry on enjoying the picnic no matter what the weather throws at you.

3. Get there early as you can make the most of the day and hopefully beat the queues.

Disclosure:  The is a guest post.

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Back to school with Sainsburys TU uniform

Written by Emma. Posted in family, Uncategorized

Now that we are back from our sunny holidays I have realised just how much I still have to do before the new school term starts. This year I will be getting all three ready as Erin starts reception (how did that happen, she is my baby). I have got most of the uniform for Erin and Dylan as there’s is quite generic and therefore easy to pick up when I am doing the weekly shop at Sainsburys. TU clothing has a full range although it was selling quickly when I was in my local branch and some sizes were out of stock in some designs I really liked. I brought school trousers and a few skirts and dresses for little Erin.

It reminded me that I will have to use my tricks to keep the school uniform looking pristine.

Tip 1

I love the little pleated skirts and make sure I hang them straight after washing to ensure that the pleats dry correctly.


photo 1 (2)

Tip 2

I also make sure that I wash all the white polo tops and Chloe’s shirts together and add in a stain remover to keep the whites white. I also wash them on a hotter wash than I use for everything else. Keeping the whites white is definitely the biggest challenge.

Tip 3

Now I am becoming a work from home mum I intend to make the children change out of the their uniform when they get home.  Therefore I am hoping for less of the dinner landing on Erin’s tops!

Tip 4

Buy smart!  Always look for crease resistant or no iron.  Anything that saves me time is a winner.  I look for clothes that are stain resistant as nothing will stop Dylan playing football in the field at lunchtime or on the way home.  I also have a really good steam iron that I just have to waft over clothes rather than actually iron.  It was expensive but saves me so much time on ironing that I count it as an investment!

photo 2 (1)


Over to you.. how do you keep the school uniform clean and tidy?

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