Holidays

4 Of The Best Spring City Breaks

If you’ve been working hard lately or you can’t wait for summer, a spring city break could be just the tonic. City breaks give you the chance to get away, explore and experience a bit of culture. If you’re thinking of booking a long weekend away, here are four fabulous suggestions.

Dublin

A jewel in the emerald crown, Dublin is a beautiful, bustling city. You can enjoy incredible shopping, lively nights on the tiles or peaceful waterfront strolls. Sample Ireland’s most iconic export at the Guinness Factory. Snap up some tickets and experience the electric atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium. Visit Dublin Castle for an intriguing, insightful history lesson and look out for free pop-up events in Temple Bar.

Dublin at Night (Ha'penny Bridge)

Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5574663324

Barcelona

Barcelona is an excellent choice for a spring escape. There’s warmth in the air and you’ll avoid the mammoth crowds of the summer. Stroll through Las Ramblas, listen to live music and watch the street performers. Mosey around the winding streets and take a tour of the quirky boutiques. Head to the Nou Camp if you’re a football fan, or shop up a storm in the city centre. The port is lively in the warmer months and there are plenty of waterfront bars and clubs. Take a guided walking tour and marvel at Gaudi’s inimitable architectural style. Round off your trip with a visit to Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia. Take a hop on, hop off bus tour if you’re pushed for time and you want to get around the must-see sights with minimal hassle.

Park Guell in Barcelona

Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/papalars/1558733840

Rome

A city steeped in history and heritage, Rome has to be seen to be believed. Walk around almost any corner, and you’ll find something different. There are monuments, churches, statues and fountains aplenty. You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants. Visit the Pantheon, Forum and Spanish Steps. Take in the wonder of the Colosseum and let the Trevi Fountain enchant you. Take a walk or hop on the metro to Vatican City and explore the beauty of St Peter’s Basilica. The city centre is relatively small and you can walk to most of the main attractions. Search for apartments on sites like http://housetrip.com/ if you’re looking for an alternative to a hotel.

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Image taken from https://pixabay.com/en/rome-st-peter-s-basilica-italy-398291/

Lisbon

Lisbon is a visual gem at any time of the year, but spring is by far the best time to visit. In the summer, temperatures soar and sightseeing may become unbearable. Head to the lively beachfront neighbourhood of Estoril, or hike to the heights of Alfama for panoramic views. Wander through the old town and visit quirky Baixa. Here you’ll find old-fashioned haberdashers and even the odd apothecary. As the sun sets, head to a restaurant by the water to sample some of the finest fresh seafood you’ll ever taste. Visit http://www.timeout.com/city-guides/things-to-do-in-lisbon-restaurants-and-cafes/ for recommendations.

Image credit https://www.pexels.com/search/Lisbon/

There’s nothing better than a spontaneous break to revive you and recharge those batteries. If you’re planning a spring trip, why not take these ideas on board? Do some research, get some rough plans together and you’ll be ready to jet off in no time.

Happiness · Health · Relationships

Keeping The Spark Alive

One of the things that often slides first in a relationship, once you’ve had kids, is “what goes on in the bedroom” which can cause a spiral of other issues in its wake. Lack of intimacy can put a real strain on a relationship and before you know it, you’re barely giving each other a peck on the cheek as you leave the house in the mornings. Like all things, relationships (and especially the physical side of things) takes effort on both sides and getting back to that special place where you give each other butterflies in your tummy can seem like climbing Everest when you’ve got baby sick in your hair and the dog is rubbing his arse on the carpet.

With that in mind, I’ve teamed up with Vagisil and their new ProHydrate range, which relieves intimate dryness so that you can feel comfortable, confident and enjoy intimacy when you want to.

Sexting

Okay, so this may sound like something that is reserved for young’uns, but sexting is an amazing way to open communication. Vagisil’s survey shows that 56% of women want to feel more connected to their partner and this is the perfect way to start. Typing things out gives you the opportunity to think about what you’re saying (and edit it before you send, if you want to!) and it allows you to say things to your partner that you might never have the guts to say out loud. Install a dedicated messaging app such as Signal or Telegram and ONLY add your partner as a contact. When you see the little message icon pop into your notifications bar, I guarantee you’ll get a little flutter of excitement!

Get Playful

Using toys together can be a really amazing way to enhance your sex life if you feel like things have gone a little bit stale. Either browse a site like LoveHoney together or order something as a surprise and set aside some time to play together.

Make an Effort

If you’re falling asleep on the sofa wearing a dirty hoody with unwashed hair, there’s a very good chance that you’re not giving off a very “ready for loving” vibe. It’s so important to have mind and body in the same place and while we aren’t suggesting that you go for a full-on makeover to give your partner THE SIGN, making a little effort to shower, wear something without holes in it and maybe a bit of mascara is far more likely to inspire lust. Obviously, that goes both ways and if your partner is still sitting in a sweaty haze after going to the gym when you want to get busy, tell him to get his arse into the shower too – maybe even together!

Time

I know SO many couples who claim lack of time as a reason for a dead bedroom, but I think we all need to be a little bit more creative about how we use our time. If you find that you’re exhausted by 9pm, why not have an early night but set your alarm a little early to surprise your other half with some morning fun? Or drop the kids off with a friend or relative for a couple of hours while you “go shopping” and head home for some uninterrupted intimacy.

Space

Just recently, I was reading a thread about co-sleeping and how it can put a real dampener on things. If retreating to a grown-ups only bedroom isn’t always an option, try to create a space somewhere else where you can steal some time together, such as a sofa bed in a home office space. Knowing you’ve got somewhere just for you can really take the angst out of everything.

Do you have any other tips that Mum’s the Word readers might benefit from? Leave me a comment below. The Vagisil ProHydrate range is available at Boots and Superdrug.

Family

Is It Possible For Your Kids To Make It Through Your Divorce Unscathed?

One of the very worst things that can happen in a child’s life is their parents getting a divorce. For a lot of kids, mum and day breaking up can seem like the end of the world. Because of this, a lot of parents choose to stay in an unhappy relationship, to ensure their kids are happy. However, this is never a good idea, as sooner or later, the cracks will start to show.

The best thing that you can do if you’re unhappy in your marriage is separate from your partner. Despite what you might have heard, it’s possible for your children to make it through your divorce relatively unscathed. The most important thing is how you handle your separation and explain it to your kids.

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To help make your divorce easier and less stressful for your kids, here’s what you need to do:

Don’t try to hide things from them

The most important thing when it comes to family breakups is not to hide things from your children. Whether they’re five years old or 15, being honest with them is important. Do you really want your child to hear the ins and outs of your divorce from someone else? No – then make sure to talk to them about things.

Be open and honest from the start

If you want to help your children get through your divorce without being too affected by it, you need to be honest with them, from the start. Of course, it’s all about age and what’s appropriate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be truthful.

Your six-year-old may not need to know that their father cheated on you, but they do need to understand that he wasn’t happy with you. When it comes to divorce, honesty is always the best policy. Allow them to ask any questions that they want and do your best to answer truthfully.

Hire a lawyer and undergo mediation

The worst thing for children is seeing their parents argue and being stuck in the middle of it. If you want to ensure that your divorce doesn’t have a lasting impact on your kids, it’s important to make sure that you get things dealt with quickly.

For dealing with divorce when kids are involved, it’s always best to consult a family law solicitors for advice. This will allow you to get your divorce dealt with and finalised as quickly as possible. It may also be worth undergoing mediation with your ex-partner. To ensure that you’re both on the same page about the children and custody agreements. There’s nothing more damaging to a child than custody battles.

Put your child in therapy

Even if your kids seem fine, it’s worth putting them into therapy. Often, children don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about everything that’s worrying them. That’s why therapy can be a great option. It will allow your children to open up about how they’re feeling and will make things easier to deal with for them.

If you go about your divorce in the right way, it is possible for your kids to make it through it unharmed. It might be hard at times, but with the right care and help, they can come out the other side.

Holidays

Everything You Need To Know About Having A Fabulous Family Holiday In Lanzarote

When it comes to a family holiday it’s vital you make the right choices. If it’s not the perfect place that’s suitable for your family unit, then it can potentially ruin your whole holiday. A family holiday gives you the perfect chance to forget about your work commitments. A chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones and children. So it’s essential you pick the perfect place. Lanzarote just might be the perfect place. Here’s why.

Lanzarote

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Great weather

Lanzarote is known for being a destination that offers all year sunshine. The summer months can be quite hot but if you decided to get some winter sun, you wouldn’t be disappointed. It is known to be fairly windy. But this can be a huge plus point for families. A nice breeze can make warmer weather much more manageable. Although it is advisable that for this same reason it’s vital to make sure you and the family are protected with sun lotion as there are multiple dangers of prolonged sun exposure, one of the main being the high risk of skin cancer – so make sure you are fully protected and if you do become concerned with any changes to your skin assure that you seek the correct medical advice on skin cancer treatment and get an accurate diagnosis.

A short plane ride away

Offering a plane journey of approximately four hours. Less on some days. It means that you can be in the sun enjoying your holiday by lunchtime. A short plane journey makes it a little more bearable for travelling with young children. We all know how difficult that can be when you are confined to a plane seat.

Great value for money

Lanzarote holidays don’t have to be expensive. Even if you do have no choice but to travel during the school holidays. It’s why it is a holiday destination chosen by many year in year out. But the saving doesn’t stop there. Once you arrive you also received excellent value for money. Food and drinks are cheap and the standard and quality are fantastic. It would be difficult not to enjoy your time there. The saving also gives us mums a chance to indulge in the duty-free. Always a bonus.

Lanzarote

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Plenty to see and do

There are plenty of things to do in Lanzarote. Of course, there are the beaches. The black sand and also the man-made beaches are all great for children to enjoy. If you are staying in a hotel, you may also have some great pool facilities to take advantage of. Lanzarote also has a water peak that is suitable for all ages and could be a great day. If you are looking for something a little different, then the volcanic region of Timanfaya is always worth a visit. Allowing you to listen to the history and marvel and the landscape. You could also experience some food cooked on the volcanic heat. Touring the island is easy, and hiring a car and seeing all the wonderful places is easily achievable during your family holiday.

Lot’s of accommodation options to suit everyone

There are places to stay that are suitable for everyone. Whether you decide that a hotel complex is a perfect place or a self-catering villa for some privacy. There are plenty of options to choose from in all the major resorts.

So why don’t you book a holiday to Lanzarote this year?

Home

It’s Nearly Summer — Has Your Home or Office Ventilation System Been Serviced?

filtrex-2Are you making a list of things to prepare for summer? Planning trips, replacing summer clothes the kids have grown out of — and having your ventilation system serviced?

That might not be at the top of most people’s list, but neglecting it could affect your family’s health, and summer certainly wouldn’t be as much fun.

The Importance of Ventilation

As the Huffington Post points out, modern houses can be unhealthy places, with a mixture of pollutants and poor ventilation causing a range of health issues, from skin diseases or respiratory problems to persistent headaches. This is similar to the notorious phenomenon of Sick Building Syndrome, which usually affects larger workplaces or public buildings.

A ventilation system benefits the healthiest person, while it can make a massive difference to anyone already suffering from health problems. If anyone in the family suffers from asthma, for instance, Asthma UK recommends the use of air filters — and, crucially, stresses the importance of replacing them on a regular basis.

Servicing Your Ventilation System

As ventilation specialist Filtrex points out, whether the system is serving a major building or your home, it’s vital to have the ventilation system filters regularly cleaned and changed, as well as giving the whole system a clean-out. It’s common scientific knowledge that filters, ducts and other parts of a ventilation system tend to trap mould, pollen, viruses and bacteria, and provide them with a perfect breeding-ground.

At best, this can make health problems even worse than with no ventilation system. At worst, as the scare reported in this Guardian article highlights, unserviced filters in a major industrial, medical or scientific building can cause serious outbreaks of illnesses like legionnaire’s disease.

DIY or Professional?

It may be tempting to save money by cleaning your own ventilation system, but that could be asking for trouble. While some ongoing maintenance can be done by a competent DIYer, such as taking out the filters and cleaning them on a regular basis over the summer, it’s as vital for your ventilation system as for your boiler to have an annual professional service.

This should normally be just before you start using it for the summer. The engineer will check that the filters are right for your needs and clean or replace them as necessary, as well as giving the ductwork and the whole system a thorough clean and overhaul.

It’s important to make sure this is being done not only at home, but also at your workplace and your children’s schools. The health you and your family enjoy is too precious to throw away.