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Best Family Days Out in Cambridgeshire

Best family days out in CambridgeshireEveryone loves a family day out, and it’s a great chance to bond and explore the world together. Cambridgeshire has a lot to offer in that regard, pleasing clans the world over decade after decade. There’re great transport links here too, so you can quickly get the train from Huntingdon to Peterborough, with very little fuss – you’re never cut off in Cambridgeshire.

However, if you need further inspiration as to what you can get up to here, here’re 3 good ideas for family days out in Cambridgeshire.

Punting in Cambridge

Punting is iconic of Cambridge, and Cambridge is iconic of Cambridgeshire. Even young kids can get involved if they’re positioned toward the middle of their parents’ flat-bottomed boat. You can explore all the small rivers of Cambridge this way, and ease into a serene and relaxing day spent drifting along the water with your loved ones.

Don’t want to do any of the legwork yourself? That’s okay! In Cambridge, you can take guided tours while punting, the same way you can clamber aboard an open top bus in most of the major tourist cities and have a guide inform you on your surroundings. It’s certainly a tranquil way to pass the time with your folks, so give it a go!

The Riverside Park

The Riverside Park can be found in Huntingdon, and here your family can enjoy a lot of different activities. These include walks along the river, hay meadows, canoeing, river cruising and there’s even an enclosed children’s play area for the day’s activities. The park has a nice and quiet atmosphere, so if you’re looking for somewhere to lay low and unwind, The Riverside Park is that perfect place you crave.

In the summer, you can also expect to find concerts and local bands showcasing their talents too. Therefore, there’s a nice laid-back vibe here that feels more like a gathering of village locals than a big bustling city park that’s teeming with strangers. In the end, you wouldn’t be the first person to swap a city for some country living, so pay a visit if it sounds like you’d all love it there.

Nene Park

Located in the heart of Peterborough, Nene Park is full of things to do for the whole family. It plays host to Ferry Meadows, which is one of the largest country parks in Cambridgeshire. Train rides, open water swimming, sailing, climbing and of course long walks, it’s all available here. There’s a lovely cafe to be found here too, so if you or your kids need a little rest at any point, you’re covered!

You can also tailor your day even further to your needs by utilising the Ferry Meadows events programme if you have a particularly big family on an ambitious adventure. Pick out what you want to do and get to it! In any event, there’s seemingly endless woodland, meadows and water to play in here, providing everything you need for a great family day out.

Are There Lords & Nobles in Your Family Tree?

Family TreeMy Uncle Mick is an avid genealogist – he’s spent a lot of time researching our family tree and has discovered loads about both my Nan and Grandad’s sides of the family. Although I don’t have the time or patience for researching my heritage in the way that Mick does, I love the thought of unearthing the secrets of past generations and piecing together what our family history looked like. Just in case you were wondering, my Nan’s family were largely Irish and my Grandad’s family all come from within about a 1 square mile area of the East End of London for several hundred years back!

It got me thinking about the reasons for researching your family tree, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you here:

A Royal Surprise

If you’re a fan of “Who Do You Think You Are?”, you’ll know that it’s not completely unheard of for people to discover royal lineage in their family history. However, if you don’t find any royal relatives, you could always buy yourself a title! Buying a Noble Title is easier than you might think, and if you can afford it, you could end up a Lord or a Baron!

Preserving Your Story

Family stories and anecdotes can be unbelievably interesting, but if there’s no-one to pass them along, they’ll eventually get lost. Husband’s grandmother was German and lived as a child through the Second World War. As an adult, she wrote a memoir which makes an amazing accompaniment to the family tree and is something that can be shared through the generations.

The Fun of the Process

Family history research can be like working on a giant puzzle for which you may never find a final solution – there are always more details to be added or people to be found. A eureka moment of discovering an elusive third cousin twice removed or even details on a secretive grandfather is sweet indeed!

Bringing Your Family Together

One of the key parts of researching your family tree is speaking to your relatives, asking them questions about what they know of relatives who have passed, and working together to piece together the puzzle. This can be a fabulous experience for everyone involved, giving you a reason to spend more time with the ones you love and to reconnect with family members who you may not get to see very often.

Have you done any family tree research? Have you found any royals in your bloodline? Have you uncovered any huge family secrets? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Five Top Tips For Family Festival Fun

Family Festival FunImage via Unsplash

It’s a huge part of the summer experiences – festivals pop up around the entire country, covering every topic from music to food to literature to wellness and more, so no matter what you’re into , there’s a festival waiting to be discovered – for you and the rest of the family too! Once solely the preserve of groups of friends, festivals have evolved to become a part of family life too. With kid-friendly entertainment, activities such as face-painting, storytelling and drama workshops, they are now a must-do summer event. But if you’ve never done a festival before or if you’re a seasoned pro of them but are contemplating your first one with kids in tow, what do you need to know in order to make the experience swim rather than sink?

Organise Your Travel

It’s always a good idea when going to a festival with your small humans in tow to ensure that travel arrangements are sorted well in advance. Whether you’re hiring a camper van for the week, driving in a family car or travelling on the train, it’s always better to time your arrival a little on the early side. That way, you can claim the best camping spot. The worst part of any festival experience is generally the lengthy queues to leave the site and traffic on the roads surrounding, so consider leaving a little before the stated finish time to beat the rush and make sure that you don’t get stuck in a gridlock with tired and fractious kids to entertain.

Create A Packing List

The number of essentials you need to keep children happy and comfortable can be huge, so packing lightly or spontaneously is definitely a thing of the past. It’s a better idea to follow a family festival packing list to make sure that all the bases are covered. Remember to include items such as baby wipes (even if your children aren’t babies, there’s nothing better for taking care of sticky hands and wiping them down), lots of high factor sunscreen, waterproofs and wellies, hats, sunglasses, packets of tissues and insect repellent. Remember that concerts can get very loud, so bring ear defenders for young children or you may find yourself having to look up Miracle-Ear’s tinnitus treatment. Remember that kids can be less tolerant of discomfort and go for a level up on what you may normally have opted for – some extra blankets, inflatable pillows and foldable camping chairs can go a long way towards keeping everyone happy.

Overpack On Snacks

When blood sugar levels drop, that’s when kids can get extremely fractious, so it’s a good idea to overpack on healthy snacks. The food available at festivals can be quite unhealthy, with a lot of fried or sugary treats on offer – and while the occasional ice-cream is more than recommended, to stop costs mounting up and keep energy levels steady, take healthy snacks along as well. Dried and fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and packets of vegetable crisps are all a good idea, and you could also try involving the kids in making some homemade low sugar granola bars to take along. Pack plenty of juice and give the whole family reusable metal water bottles which can be refilled on site to stay hydrated.

Layer Up

With the weather being so unpredictable, even safe bet packing can go disastrously wrong, and even outfits which are suitable for the sunshine during the days can get too chilly when the temperature drops in the evening. Rather than taking up lots of room with bulky jumpers and thick coats, go for a mix of light layers, for yourself and the kids. Pack things like lightweight fleece jackets, compact ultralight down top layers and thermal tights and tops which are warm but non-bulky and can be layered under or over more summery pieces if it gets colder. Don’t forget the waterproof items as well – children can quickly get cold and miserable if they’re not dressed right for the conditions. Take lots of spares as well – all that running around outdoors means that kids often get through more changes than they ordinarily would.

Get Yourself A Trailer

Taking kids to a festival means transporting a lot of stuff – be it camping equipment, supplies or even the kids themselves when little legs get easily tired. A lightweight, foldable trailer can be a lifesaver in many circumstances, as it’s easy to take and provides instant transport or even an impromptu napping spot. It means that when you leave your tent, you can carry all your supplies for the day with you and not have to keep heading back –  cool bags, rucksacks, kids things and an umbrella for shade or showers can all go with you.

How to Choose the Right Shoes for Every Occasion

When money is tight, a woman may find she cannot purchase multiple pairs of shoes at one time. She must choose only one or two styles and make do with them until the budget frees up. Fortunately, there are certain types of shoes that are very versatile and can be worn for different types of events. What types of shoes should a woman choose for every occasion? 

Flats

A good pair of flats is ideal for those days when a woman doesn’t have time to change between the office and her evening plans. By selecting a pair of flats, she can ensure her feet don’t hurt from the shoes and she can do more throughout the day. Some women choose to invest in pumps for this purpose, but others find they prefer a pair of oxfords. As there are so many styles to choose from, every woman should be able to find at least one pair of flats she loves at fillyflair.com

Casual Shoes

Every woman, even those who don’t regularly take part in sports, needs a good pair of casual shoes. While many of these shoes are designed for a specific sport, others are offered that can be used for multiple purposes. Pull these shoes out for a day at the mall when a great deal of walking will be done or for those times when the kids have an outdoor activity and mom wants to ensure she can keep up. This doesn’t mean a woman must go with a pair of athletic shoes, however. Select a pair of canvas tennis shoes or those that can be slipped on and off with ease. These are typically more than enough for outings such as these. 

Weather-Appropriate Footwear

Ladies often overlook weather-appropriate footwear when they go to purchase new shoes. Doing so is a mistake, as footwear manufacturers now understand a woman wants to be fashionable regardless of what the weather is like. Rain boots, snow boots, and more are now more stylish than ever before, and every female should have at least one pair of rain or snow boots in her closet. 

Sliders

For those times when convenience is the top priority, sliders are great to have. Simply slide the foot into the shoe and head out the door. Just because these shoes are comfortable and easy to wear doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish as well. Be sure to try on a number of pairs to find the shoe that is most comfortable and can be worn with a wide variety of outfits. Women who take the time to do so find they get more use out of the sliders and enjoy them more. 

Sandals With Heels

Every woman should own at least one pair of sandals with heels, preferably more. This type of shoe is perfect for formal occasions and can be worn to work with ease. A black pair is ideal for either situation, and a white pair can be obtained for weddings and other events during the summer months. The same is true of a nude pair of sandals with heels. The key is to choose a pair with a small heel, approximately one or two inches, as this makes the shoe more versatile. 

Invest in high-quality shoes and feel the difference. Women tend to spend a great deal of time on their feet and need to ensure the right shoes are selected for the occasion. Make use of the above suggestions and you’ll find you always have the right footwear regardless of what is on your schedule. 

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding in 2019

Traditionally speaking, there have always been ‘rules’ about what you can and can’t wear to a wedding. However, as things move on, people are becoming more and more relaxed about wedding guest attire and it sometimes feels as though the rules have changed completely. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at five rules which have changed over the years to help you plan your summer wedding outfit for 2019.

White is Okay…SOMETIMES!

In the last few years, I’ve noticed a massive change in attitude towards wedding guests wearing white. In the past, it would have been a MASSIVE no-no to turn up to a wedding dressed in white, but it’s becoming far more common. My one piece of advice if you’ve found a white dress you like is to run it past the bride first, to see if she minds and brace yourself for a no with a back-up plan outfit. Radley have handbags in a whole range of colours which would be an amazing accompaniment for any wedding outfit.

Men Don’t Always Need a Full Suit

If you’re going to only the evening portion of a summer wedding, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a shirt and trousers but no jacket, and many male summer wedding guests will even forego the tie, in favour of an open neck. If you’re unsure, check the dress code with the bride and groom.

Think About Your Feet

If you’re a guest for the whole day, you’re going to be spending a LOT of time on your feet, so thinking about your shoes is essential. If you’re the sort of person who can wear skyscraper heels all day long, you’re good to go, however if you’re not massively comfortable in heels, look at different options such as wedges or kitten heels. Even flats are pretty acceptable these days!

Black is Back

As with white being a bit of a no-no, black was also considered taboo to wear to weddings, perhaps because of the funereal connection. However, these days, people wear black to weddings quite often. It’s still best not to wear ONLY black, but breaking it up with coloured pattern makes it perfectly suitable.

Not Too Much Flesh

One rule which hasn’t changed too much is that wedding outfits should be a little bit demure. Dresses which are very low cut or very short will probably make you stand out like a sore thumb – think about showing either legs OR cleavage, but definitely not both!

Have you got any great tips for choosing a wedding outfit? Please leave me a comment below.

The Advantages of Leasing a Family Car

The Advantages of Leasing a Family CarIf you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may be thinking about buying one, either old or new. There are, however, a lot of reasons to consider leasing a car, instead of owning one outright. Here, we look at five reasons for leasing a car and why it could be the best decision for your family:

Spec Upgrade

Most people who lease a car find that they’re able to afford a much better model than they would if they were buying the car outright.  your monthly payments are typically lower compared with other forms of finance, so you can lease a better make, trim or option. Take a look at Blue Chilli Car Leasing Deals. 

Peace of Mind

With a lease car, you’re going to be driving a brand new car, rather than one which is older. This means that you’re less likely to have breakdowns or issues which cause the car to be unreliable, so you’ll have peace of mind that you’re driving your family around in something to rely on.

No MOT

Because lease cars are usually brand new, they also won’t need an MOT. In fact, new cars don’t need an MOT until they’re three years old, so if you choose continue to upgrade your vehicle after a year or two, you’ll never need to deal with nail-biting MOTs again!

Easy Monthly Budgeting

Apart from fuel and insurance, when you lease a car you know exactly what motoring is going to cost you because your expenses are rolled into one – monthly payments, Road Fund licence and breakdown cover. And if you include a maintenance package, your ability to budget becomes even stronger

Value

When you purchase a new car, the value depreciates the second you drive it off of the dealers forecourt, but when you lease a car this is no longer a worry. You don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the car’s trade-in value or go through the hassle of selling it when it’s time to move on.

Planning a Day Trip for Every Generation

The summer holidays are almost close enough to touch, and we’re already thinking about things that we can do to fill up the six weeks holidays. There will be things that we do which are just for the four of us (and sometimes including Maureen!) But we also want to take the opportunity to use our summertime freedom to spend quality time with the whole extended family. With this in mind, we’ve been thinking about what we need to consider to make our day trips fun for every generation of the family and we thought we’d share some tips with you today.

Accessibility

Whether you’re pushing a buggy, a wheelchair or using a walking stick or crutches to get around, access is something that should be at the front of your mind. Choosing places to visit which are very hilly or have a lot of stairs is going to be a nightmare for anyone with less than perfect mobility check websites ahead of time to see if any provision has been made for disabled tourists or those with small children. Take a look at this post if you’re interested in accessible days out in Yorkshire. 

Refreshments

There is no such thing as a great British day trip if you can’t stop somewhere for a decent cuppa! This is especially true if you’re day tripping with older members of your family but everyone needs to eat, so you might want to check out whats on offer before you plan your trip, obviously a picnic is a good option for the whole family and you can take food to suit everyone, minimising the risk of someone going uncatered for.

Toilets

One of the most important things to think about on any family trip is whether there will be public toilets available. Don’t forget, if you’re planning a trip which includes several generations or family members with additional needs you will need to also consider if there are wheelchair accessible amenities as well as changing tables which can be used by both mum or dad.

Parking

If you’re going by car then parking is going to be something you need to think about, too. Is the parking close to where you’re going? Is there disabled parking? Is there family parking? Is there a park and ride? Do you need to pay for parking and does the machine take coins, notes or cards? Many places offer free parking to blue Badge holders, but there are some which still charge even for disable parking, so it’s all stuff that you’ll want to be prepared for in advance.

Entertainment

Often, the older members of the family make sacrifices when it comes to day tripping – if you’re going somewhere kid-centric, Nans and Grandads end up being coat-holders and buggy watchers while the youngsters have all the fun. Try to think about whether there’s entertainment for ALL ages so that the family coat rack doesn’t end up bored out of their mind!

Summer Holiday Money Saving Hacks

summer holiday money saving hacksWe’re now in July, which means the summer holidays are just a few weeks away and we’ll have six whole weeks of entertaining the kids to keep up with. It can be an expensive time of year, especially if you have to factor in childcare while you work, so I’ve put together a little list of money-saving summer holiday hacks for you to use, so you don’t bankrupt yourself by September!

Meal Plan

If your kids are anything like mine, your main role in the summer holiday is to keep them supplied with a steady stream of snacks, the cost of which really mounts up over the course of a month and a half. What we tend to do is meal-plan for dinners so that everything is sorted for the evening meal, and then let them graze throughout the day. Recipe boxes like Hello Fresh are a good way to keep organised and also get them trying healthy and exciting new dishes like their Chicken Laksa.

Vouchers

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in having a purse full of loyalty cards that I use each time I shop and some of the points really add up. Some cards will give you a monetary amount off of your shopping, which can be a massive help if you save them until the holidays, while others can be exchanged for days-out vouchers, saving you an absolute fortune in the long-run. Go through all of your loyalty cards and see what you’ve accrued.

Local Libraries

Your local library can be an absolute fountain of resources in the summer holidays, many of which are free or cheap. As well as being able to borrow books, DVDs and CDs, lots of libraries have reading challenges and crafting events which cost little, if anything at all. We usually allocate one day every week or fortnight to visit the library to see what’s going on.

Kids Eat Free

If you’re partial to a nice lunch as a family but don’t want to spend a fortune, loads of restaurants offer a Kids Eat Free menu during the holidays. Some of them are just walk-in deals but some of them require you to print a voucher, so do make sure you check before you go, or you might get hit with a much bigger bill than you expected!

Scour Facebook

Facebook might not be your cup of tea, but it can be a wealth of information at this time of year. Join a local parents group and you’re sure to see dozens of weekly posts regarding events that are happening near you, ideas for daily activities, reviews of the best parks and picnic spots and even selling posts for pre-loved toys that your kids might love.

Get £10 off your first delivery with HelloFresh, here: https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/plans/?c=OS10OFF

5 Ways Families Can Heal Together

The modern family is faced with more challenges than ever. Poverty, natural disasters, addiction, death, and countless other tragedies can result in terse communications, hurt feelings, and lost connections. Thankfully, it is possible to heal your family and re-establish healthy connections, regardless of age, status, or situation. These five solutions can help.

  • Understand the Situation and Its Contributing Factors

Before a family can heal, they must first understand why the fallout occurred, along with any factors that may have contributed to it. Start by first examining the issue at hand. What do you think went wrong, and why? Consider what might help to rectify the situation and develop a reasonable action plan.

As you move forward, preparing to make contact with estranged family members, be sure to develop and maintain realistic expectations. The healing process doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a slow and painstaking process, and setbacks along the way are common.

  • Use the 4-Step Nonviolent Communication Methodology

People are less likely to respond positively if they feel threatened or blamed. Feeling words and use of the four-step nonviolent communication strategy, or NVC, can help reduce the risk of such issues.

The four steps to this communicating with this process are:

1. Observation – “When I hear you say…”

2. Feeling – “I feel…”

3. Voicing Needs – “Because I need/value…”

4. Request – “Would you be willing to…”

It is critical for the speaker to avoid placing blame. The request should also be something that the other person can reasonably do.

  • Accept Accountability and Be Willing to Forgive

When feelings are hurt, people often fail to see their own accountability in a situation. If you truly want to heal your family, it is critical that you do not fall into this trap.

When you apologize for a mistake, don’t follow it with an explanation or excuse. Instead, focus on how your words or actions may have hurt the other person. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Admit that you were wrong, say you’re sorry (and really mean it).

If you’re the one who was hurt, be willing to forgive the other person, even if they aren’t able to accept accountability yet. Just be sure to also develop healthy boundaries for the future.

Using sound scripture and scientific observation, Dr. Henry Wright leads the reader on a journey of personal responsibility” says the team at Be In Health “identifying root causes to specific diseases and offering pathways of healing and wholeness that were never meant to remain dormant in the body of Christ.”

  • Reconnect Through Low-Conflict Activities

Families can be extremely fragile during the initial healing stages. Hurt feelings often simmer below the surface, and even the smallest misunderstanding can cause them to explode.

To avoid further altercations, interactions may need to be limited. Start by planning low-conflict activities, preferably in public places. Major low-ups are less likely to occur when there are potential witnesses.

  • Ask a Professional for Assistance

Not every problem can be fixed, and certainly, there are problems that require the assistance of a professional. If your family is still struggling, or if you suspect that your family’s issues may be too big and complex to fix on your own, consider asking for help.

Family counselors, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, and even church counselors are all viable options. These individuals serve as mediators, and they can help each person see things through the perspective of other family members.

3 Ways To Ensure You Have Fun With Your Family This Summer

When it comes to summer time, a lot of parents often start to feel as though there is a lot of pressure on them to engage in as many activities as possible and have as much fun as possible. While it is certainly true that you probably want to be fairly active in the warmer months, and your children will want to too, that pressure is misguided. You should not feel that you have to fill every waking moment with something new and exciting, though of course doing so as much as possible is no bad idea. In this article, we are going to look at some of the things that you might want to do to make sure that you can have some fun with your family this summer. As long as you consider these, you should find that is much simpler to make a reality.

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Get The Finances Sorted

The financial side of things is hugely important, and you need to make sure that you are going to sort this out first if you hope to have plenty of fun over the holidays. For those activities which require a fair amount of money, you should budget for them as early as you can, so that you know you are going to be able to do it without causing yourself any trouble. But you should also make sure that you are filling your time with as many no-spend activities as you possibly can, of which there are plenty. This LittleLoans article will show you some of the better things that you can hope to do without spending any money, and these are going to be a great place to start if that is what you are looking for.

Plan Together

It’s important when you are planning your summer out that you take on board the opinions of everyone who is going to be involved, otherwise you might not find that you are going to all have as much fun as you would hope. At the very least, you need to know that everyone is happy taking part in something, and if not then you might need to change your plans somewhat. By planning together in this way, you ensure that you maximize the fun for all, and that is important if you hope for your family to be truly happy during the summer months and beyond.

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Keep Your Spirits Up

We all know how easy it can be for family activities to descend into arguments. Because of how often that can happen, it is essential to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to keep your spirits up – and the spirits of all the other people in your family. If you can do that, then it will make for a much better time between you all, and that will mean that you are going to be able to enjoy your summer much more together. You might even feel that you get a little closer than you have before, which can be especially enjoyable to know.