Earlier this week I wrote about feeling a bit glum with a cold, and mentioned that to cheer myself up, I liked putting toys in funny positions around the house.

Well, Philippe and Bertie must have read that post, because since then, every time I come home, they’re up to mischief. I’ve sent pictures to Fiancé, and he says it all looks rather sexual, but I think they are just playing. This morning I came downstairs to the kitchen and they were trying to make tea. That’s not sexual – that’s just helpful. Except I was a little worried about them with the kettle.

It’s very hard to feel sad though when you come across a fox giving a bunny a pony ride.

rabbit making tea

rabbit in cute position

rabbit playing the piano

rabbit having a pony ride

Disclosure – this post is mainly me complaining.

I woke up at about 4am on Christmas morning with what I thought was a migraine. I sometimes get migraines while I’m asleep, and it’s not much fun. You wake up and it takes a little while for you to realise you have a headache, and then WOOSH, there it is.

I thought maybe I was just excited. (I do love Christmas.) I thought perhaps it was just my body’s way of letting go of the pre-Christmas stress, (we had some passport issues…), and getting ready to enjoy itself. It didn’t go away though, and I ended up being a bit of a Christmas damp squib, try as I might to fend things off with my mum’s supply of Lemsips. (She has a bit of a Lemsip habit.)

We flew home from my sister’s in Ireland on the 28th and I thought I’d start to perk up once I was back at home, but my sinuses were not keen on the flight and things didn’t improve.

Fast forward another week and here I am at home, coughing away, generally feeling sorry for myself.

flu and despression

See?

Pathetic isn’t it? View Post

Do you get that post-Christmas urge, as soon as all the mince pies are finished, to start tidying up and throwing things away? 

I do.

It’s not strong yet, as I’m not feeling well, and the idea of doing anything much isn’t terribly appealing, but I know that as soon as I’m back on form, I’ll want to start organising. One area that’s always ripe for a bit of an overhaul in our house is Belle’s wardrobe. She has grown so quickly in the last year or so, and I don’t think we’ve quite kept up. We had a little sort out of her clothes before Christmas and so much of it was inches too short for her.

To help you get your kids’ clothes organised, I’ve come up with a few helpful hints. I’d love to hear your advice too. Or you could just bring me round a medicinal sherry. Either is fine.

Fix the foundations

There is quite literally a whole layer of clothing to get right before you start adding jumpers and trousers – underwear. I’m particularly bad at this, probably because I can’t see it on a daily basis, and it’s a long standing joke that Belle always has pants that are ridiculously small for her. She does have a teeny bottom, but not 3-4 years teeny. So, get out everything, assess it properly, and then restock, based on how many pairs of socks, pants and tights you think they realistically need.

Underwear quickly becomes a mess, so invest in some drawers dividers or mini boxes to keep the inside of the drawer tidy.

Think capsule wardrobe

Because capsule wardrobes aren’t just for women who work in offices and wear tan coloured patent shoes. (Although in my head they are.) Depending on the age of your child, and the things they like to do, you can easily create a capsule wardrobe. For example, do you have a girl who likes to dance, or run around a lot outside? If so, you’ll want to stock up on your girls’ tracksuits. If you have a teenage boy who loves nothing more than seeing how low he can wear his jeans without them actually falling down, then, well, I don’t know what you do about that. View Post

Learning to respect wildlife is a lesson we learn from a very young age. We are taught that animals are to be loved and cared for, and that their natural environments should be preserved where possible.

Our children must learn to respect wildlife and know the difference between an animal that we can keep as a pet and those that are more suited to live in nature, rather than in our houses!

But how should you teach your children about wildlife? Well, here a few ideas…

Put up a bird feeder together

One of the best ways to teach your kids about nature and wildlife is to get them involved. So, attract birds to your garden by putting up a few bird feeders and allowing your kids to fill the feeder themselves. Birds enjoy eating a variety of food including sunflower seeds, mealworms, peanut granules, flaked maize and barley grains, and there are a variety of bird feeders on the market too. This gazebo style bird feeder is easy for children to fill up with bird seed, and because it has a wrap-around seed tray, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for little ones to watch the birds that flock to it!

Feeding birds is an easy way to get your kids excited about wildlife. Providing birds with food will not only bring birds closer to your home, but it will also help to educate young children about the different eating habits and behaviour of certain bird species.

Bird watching as a fun hobby

Get your kids excited about wildlife by making it a fun hobby for them to enjoy. You can do this by getting them to draw pictures of the various bird species they have seen in their own back yards. Pack a little ‘adventure bag’ for your child and take them to the nearest forest park or nature reserve. The bag could include items such as a pair of children’s binoculars, a notebook to record their findings, and a well-deserved snack for all their hard work!

Learning about local wild animals

At first, it can be difficult for kids to understand the difference between wild animals and pets, but it is an important lesson to be learned. You don’t have to go far to teach children about wildlife – just take a look in your own garden! You probably already have a few visitors outside. Talk to your kids about the different animals in your garden, discussing the various types of food and shelter each species requires.

Finally, you get creative juices flowing by having children make colourful welcome signs for the animals who have made your garden their home. For example, take a piece of wood or an outdoor chalkboard sign and have your kids write welcome signs such as “Frog’s Welcome Here” or “Robin Nest Inside,” to get them eager and excited about learning more about wildlife.

Teaching kids to respect wildlife can be achieved by getting them involved with feeding birds, creating log piles to act as shelter for smaller creatures and making them welcome in the back garden. Give these ideas a go and see how you and your family get on.

We’ve teamed up with Villa Plus today to get you excited about booking your summer holiday!

They say that anticipation is half the fun, but I disagree. I actually think it’s more like 80% of the fun.

I absolutely love the build-up to stuff, often more than the event itself. Take Christmas for instance. From early September I’m getting excited, humming Christmas tunes to myself, eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine. I love the planning – buying presents, putting up the tree – it’s all ACE. You’ve got to enjoy that bit haven’t you, otherwise it’s just a big stress of shopping and overspending, and no one wants to think about that. 

I’m the same with holidays. 

I love spending time thinking about where I want to go and what I might do there. I like imagining what adventures we are going to have, shopping for those adorable mini bottles of shampoo, and generally getting everyone in a holiday frame of mind. I even like the actual travelling part, as that’s all part of the adventure for me.

My favourite type of holidays are the sort where you have plenty of freedom and flexibility. I guess that’s why we always end up self-catering on long breaks – I can’t bear the idea of a whole week spent living to someone else’s schedule. I want to have my breakfast when I’m good and ready thank you very much. The great thing about using a company like Villa Plus is that you get that freedom, but don’t have to compromise on security or reliability – you’re not renting a villa from an ad in the back of a magazine, you’re going to someone you can trust.

(Thinking about holidays got me reminiscing about holidays when the children were little and so I *may* have just spent half an hour or so looking at old photos…)

Villa Plus family holidays

Isn’t Bee a cutie?

Villa Plus family holidays

I think we are looking at a wasp in this picture.

One of our very favourite holidays was with a friend and her son, Ashley, staying in their villa in Spain. It had a pool, and Belle and Ashley spent pretty much the whole holiday in it, while we lay on loungers, sipping cocktails and reading trashy novels. It was absolute bliss – our own little private haven and everyone was happy. 

Belle goes on and on about that villa and the pool as her absolute dream holiday. She loves swimming and is desperate for us to go somewhere sunny where she can recreate our Spanish villa experience. Now that Christmas is almost at an end, I wanted to get her excited about the idea of a summer holiday, so we spent some time looking at the Villa Plus website. 

Villa Plus are a great option if you like that freedom and privacy that comes from a villa holiday. They have over 30 years experience, and hand pick villas from the very best locations across Europe. They really appreciate what’s important to families when it comes to holidays and most villas come with things like wifi, a private pool and a barbecue. 

That’s all our holiday essentials right there. Villa Plus are all about making sure you’ll love your holiday more and nothing is guaranteed to make Belle love her holiday more than a pool and a strong wifi connection.

Please do have a watch of our video and see what you think:

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I am a DisneyLife Brand Ambassador and this post was created in partnership with DisneyLife who have provided me with a free 12 month DisneyLife subscription.

As much as I like a good episode of University Challenge, I’m a sucker for The Disney Channel. I pretend that I watch it just for Belle, but it’s hypnotic – everything so smiley and colourful and sassy. I can’t help myself. Sometimes I just walk past on my way to the kitchen while Belle is watching an episode of Liv and Maddie and ten minutes later I find I’m still stood there, still carrying a pile of dirty washing.

I like the classics that Bee watched as a teenager, like That’s So Raven and Wizards of Waverley Place, but I like some of the modern shows too. I’m partial to an episode of So Random, (you’ve got to admire that girl’s pluck), and I secretly quite like K.C. undercover. K.C. Cooper has got the moves.

So far with our DisneyLife subscription we’ve been able to enjoy a whole load of films, music, books and TV shows, but now DisneyLife has a brand new feature – LIVE TV! Yep that’s right, even more Disney characters and family fun.

DisneyLife is perfect for school holidays and Christmas holidays in particular. In the summer you can kick the kids out to play in the street in the evenings but in the middle of winter? Not so much. Christmas can be a bit overwhelming for children (and grown-ups) and so by the time Boxing Day comes around it’s brilliant to be able to pack them off into a quiet corner for a bit of downtime. 

(Who am I kidding? I’m totally going to hide away with the Christmas tree and watch Sweet Home Alabama at some point over Christmas.)

DisneyLife live TV streaming

You can set up up to ten devices with one DisneyLife subscription and you can watch The Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD live, so children of different ages can enjoy different activities at the same time. Live TV streaming is available on compatible devices – check yours here.  View Post

On Wednesday Belle and I went for a day out in Exeter. 

Even though we live relatively close, we hardly ever go to Exeter. I’ve no idea why. It seems crazy really that our city of choice is Bristol, even though it’s further away. I think it’s just because we don’t know Exeter as well, so we don’t know about things like good parking spots. The last time we went we ended up spending as much on parking as on the petrol to get us there and back in the first place. We don’t tend to go on the train because the main station in Exeter is a bit far out of the city and the station in Taunton is about a 25 minute walk from us, which makes it a bit of a trek.

When we decided then that we fancied a day out in Exeter, we thought that a coach might be the way to go. The bus station is pretty central and it would mean we wouldn’t have to worry at all about where to park. It would also mean that Belle and I got to chat properly on the coach, rather than her just sitting there in silence while I stare straight ahead. (Who am I kidding? She played Minecraft all the way.)

We used the GoEuro website to do some research. It compares times and prices across different methods of transport to find you the best option. There’s even a box to tick to tie in your search with Airbnb if you are going on a longer trip and need accommodation too.

GoEuro book coach to Exeter

Funnily enough, flying to Exeter wasn’t an option for us. View Post