A few weeks ago I went to spend a couple of nights in Boulogne-sur-Mer. It’s not a part of France I’ve ever visited – to be honest I had always seen it as one of those places that you sort of passed through on the way to somewhere more interesting.

Well, that’s exactly the sort of perception that Boulogne is trying to challenge. Hence my visit.

First things first, Boulogne has a lot going for it in terms of accessibility. We went by Eurostar and the trip from St Pancras to Calais only takes an hour. It’s then only about a half hour drive to Boulogne so extremely doable for a weekend away or even a day trip if you live a reasonable distance from London.

It also has some decent places to stay. We spent one night at the Opal Hotel on the seafront, which has lovely sea views, and another night at the Metropole in the centre. The Metropole has recently been completely refurbished and the room we stayed in was gorgeous. (Don’t be put off by the front of the building – it’s lush inside!)

So what is there to do in Boulogne to keep you busy on a mini-break? Here are some of my recommendations for things to do in Boulogne:

Check out NAUSICAA

This is an absolute must. If you go to Boulogne and don’t go to see the biggest aquarium in Europe then quite frankly you should be ashamed of yourself.

We visited NAUSICAA and I wrote all about it here.

nausicaa new aquarium View Post

At the end of April, just before my 40th birthday, I went to Lisbon.

Pena Palace had been on my list of ’40 things to do before 40′ for nearly five years and it was the last item I managed to squeeze in before the big day. (I did do pretty much all of them in the end, or some became less important to me at least. You can see the full list here.)

Pena Palace was as colourful as it was in the pictures I was travelling alone, I stayed in an AirBnB with pretty shutters, I ate a custard tart* and rode the trams. It was all good. I was going to write a whole post about it but to be honest I just had such a lovely time wandering around that I don’t want to.

(*Three custard tarts.)

I’ll drop in a few pictures, that’ll do.

travelling alone pena palace sintra portugal

I had dates with a couple of different people in the run up to the trip and when I told them about going to Lisbon the first question they both asked was ‘who are you going with?’

‘No one,’ I told them, ‘I’m going on my own.’

Both men had a similar look of pity in their eyes.

‘Aw, that’s a shame,’ said one.

‘No it isn’t,’ I said. ‘I want to go on my own, I like travelling alone.’ View Post

In association with Jimmy’s Iced Coffee

Seriously, where have you BEEN?? No one drinks their coffee hot anymore. That’s so 2012. Also, it’s the summer. Keep up.

Iced coffee though? I’m a big fan. I even make my own sometimes, although it’s a bit of a faff setting up the coffee machine and my homemade ice cubes always taste a little bit of fish fingers. Much better to have an expert make it for you and package it up in a handy, well designed carton.

Oh hey there Jimmy’s!

Jimmy’s iced coffee

This is their hot off the press new family. Pretty sassy yes?

I’ve been a fan of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee for a couple of years now, so I was more than happy to share my thoughts on why iced coffee is way better than hot. View Post

These days, a lot of kids spend their time in front of the TV, or on iPads or other electronic devices – so it can be hard to persuade them to explore the outdoors and to go outside and play as opposed to being cooped up.  Kayaking can be a great way of getting them unplugged from that environment and gives you a chance to relax as a family.  We’ve put together a list of reasons as to why you would want to get your kids into kayaking.

It Can Teach Them Problem Solving Skills

When you are kayaking – there is always a bit of improvisation involved.  Sometimes you need to re-evaluate where you are and come up with a different plan to get to where you need to be.  It could be that you come across a rock that you didn’t notice at first, or there is something else in your way that you hadn’t anticipated.  This means that your kid will need to think of a way to work around that.  It’s a great way for them to learn problem solving – but within a fun environment.

It Gives them a Better Understanding of the Environment

It’s important these days that kids learn about the environment and know how to protect it. By seeing it as something fun whilst kayaking instead of something that is less as a full on educational experience, they are more likely to become one with nature, and also have a vested interest in ensuring they are preserving it. Kayaking is a great way for them to be at one with nature.

It Can Teach Kids to Persevere

Kayaking can be a little tricky at first for kids to get the hang of at first. They will most likely be flipped over in the water on some occasions, but the point is that they will need to learn to get back up and try again.  If kayaking is something that they enjoy, it will give them a reason to be persistent and is a great thing for them to learn.  It’s a skill that they can use not only in hobbies, but academically and in other areas in life. Inflatable kayaks are a great option for children and this article by Best Kayak reviews, will give you info on some of the best kayaks to get them started.

It’s Great Exercise for them

Finding something active for kids to do can be a difficult one, but kayaking is great exercise.  Of course, it works their upper body, as well as their lower body as they will need to use their legs to navigate the kayak.  It definitely is a great alternative to sitting in the house not doing anything.  The best part is that they will be having so much fun, that they won’t even know it is exercise.

If you hadn’t considered kayaking as a good hobby for the kids before, then hopefully this article has drawn your attention to some of the better benefits.

Belle is currently in the middle of her GCSE exams. They started around mid-May and her last one is on June 19th. There seem to be a LOT of them.

Her revision programme has gone something like this:

  • English literature: watching a rap about Macbeth on YouTube in the car on the way to school
  • English language: me saying ‘don’t forget to use your wow words’
  • Music: eating some pulled pork and watching Vampire Diaries

Now I know school has changed a lot since I went, but to me this doesn’t feel like your classic exam revision strategy.

But what am I meant to do about it?

How to make teenagers revise

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

I guess the question probably isn’t ‘should I make my teenager revise for exams?’ and more ‘HOW do I make my teenager revise for exams?’ View Post

When you’re searching online for healthy living tips, you’ll often come across blogs that feel a little over the top. They’ll have recipes that contain expensive or hard-to-find ingredients, or they’ll include time-consuming workouts that busy parents can’t squeeze into their schedule. If you’re looking for blogs that offer simple and easy healthy living tips, check out a few of these top options.

Healthy Mama Info

healthy eating blogs

Image via Flickr by healthiermi

Anastasia Halldin runs Healthy Mama Info. This mom of four has a Ph.D. in holistic nutrition and enjoys sharing what she’s learned about health and food to help other mothers raise a healthier family. Along with tips about exercise and wellness, Anastasia shares instructions for crafts and activities she’s done with her children. Also, be sure to check out the healthy recipes section for snacks, appetizers, main dishes, drinks, and more.

Up Run for Life

Up Run for Life offers a variety of tips to help parents and kids find activities and healthy recipes they’ll love. If you’re interested in fitness advice, some of the top posts include: “Best Summer Sports for Kids,” “Yoga for Beginners: All Things to Know Before You Start the Yoga Class,” and “5 Ways to Workout When You Are Strapped for TIme.” The recipes section includes healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothies, school lunches, and holiday meals.

Happy Being Healthy

Melanie started Happy Being Healthy in 2011 to document her journey on getting healthy. Today, she’s a mom of six and a fitness enthusiast who shares everything she’s learned about healthy living. On her exercise page, she shares tips on everything from her favorite total body workout to quick workouts that are ideal for days when you’re pressed for time. As you browse her recipe section, you’ll find simple and easy meals that include baked chicken nuggets and protein-packed pancakes.

Amway Connections

If you’re looking for healthy living tips that include everything from skincare to fitness, check out the Amway Connections blog. You’ll find health tips about vitamins and supplements you should know about, information about caring for your hair and skin, and essential makeup tips. Also, be sure to explore the healthy living section for advice about healthy eating on the go, ways to squeeze exercise into your busy day, and simple steps you can take to support your immune system.

Summer Tomato

Darya Rose created Summer Tomato in 2009 to show that getting healthy doesn’t mean sacrificing what you love. Instead, she sets out to show you how you can make losing weight fun and easy. The key to her success is creating healthy habits that you actually enjoy so you stick with it. She calls this your “healthstyle,” and she shows you how to find foods you love and activities you enjoy. Top articles on the site include “10 Simple Ways to Eat Less Without Noticing” and “How to Start Working Out When You Don’t Like to Exercise.”

The Nutrition Twins

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos are the bloggers behind The Nutrition Twins. They’re registered dietitians and certified personal trainers who share their tips on making healthy living easy and fun. While they focus on eating a healthy diet, they’re not afraid to admit they won’t pass up the opportunity to savor a sweet treat. Their blog shares information about wholesome and delicious plant-based recipes that you can easily make at home, and you’ll also find simple at-home exercises.

Sarah Fit

Started by Boston-based certified personal trainer Sarah Dussault, Sarah Fit helps young women learn how to get fit and eat healthy. If you’re always pressed for time, you’ll appreciate her shorter workout videos like “5 Minute SFit HIIT Workout.” If you’re a mom-to-be, you should definitely check out her advice on prenatal fitness. You’ll also find delicious and easy recipes, like Paleo pancakes, sugar-free muffins, and mango salsa fish tacos.

Getting fit and eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. When you check out these top blogs for simple healthy living tips, you’ll discover how you can fit clean eating and quick exercises into your busy life.