124 articles Tag Family

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.

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.

9 Reasons to Visit the Algarve

You probably already know that the Algarve region of Portugal is a hugely popular holiday destination with travellers from all over the world flocking to this area yearly. What you may not be quite so clear on is why, exactly, is it such a favourite with so many different types of travellers? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the area enjoys year-round sunshine and average temperatures between 20ºC and 30ºC. The natural white sand beaches lapped by warm, crystal blue waters are also a possible factor, or it could be something to do with the many vibrant towns and cities waiting to welcome you.

If you’re still not convinced that the Algarve is the destination for you, here are nine more which might just persuade you to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

  1. Parque Natural de Ria Formosa

The Parque Natural de Ria Formosa is in the south and sits between the towns of Vale do Lobo and Manta Rota. Since 1987, it has been a protected area of 18,000 hectares of untouched marshlands, lagoons and lakes which are bursting with unique wildlife and rare birds as well as plants, trees and flowers. It’s a wonderful attraction for tourists which you can explore via a guided walk, a boat trip, a bike ride or even in a kayak.

  1. Vilamoura

The town and resort of Vilamoura is often referred to as ‘the Monaco of Portugal’ thanks to its sophisticated and vibrant atmosphere which is perfect for luxury getaways. The town is buzzing with energy, providing visitors with world-class restaurants, stylish bars, four excellent golf courses, beautiful beaches, exciting watersports, casino and, of course, the incredible marina which is home to jaw-dropping yachts. It’s also not unheard of to be able to indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting in this part of the Algarve. If you’re looking for a place to experience the best of the best, James Villas offer a wide range of luxury villas in Vilamoura.

  1. Faro

Faro is one of the most popular destinations for sun-worshippers as it’s renowned for the high levels of sunshine it experiences all year round. It’s also a great place to see some Moorish and colonial architecture and fascinating museums and historical buildings such as the Nossa Senhora da Assuncão Convent.

  1. Tavira

The picturesque town of Tavira is about 30km east from Faro and one of only a handful of towns which retains much of its original architecture. The whitewashed buildings and authentic roofs and chimneys are a beautiful sight to behold, and it is home to 28 churches and chapels, more than any other town in the Algarve. It also includes a Roman bridge which provides breath-taking views across the Gilão river. Make sure you take the time to sample the marzipan pastries, fig pastries, almond paste and caramel pastries from Tavira.

  1. Castro Marim

The town of Castro Marim has three beaches, all of which feature soft golden sands and warm turquoise waters. You’ll also find the river Guardania which is lined with banks of vegetable gardens and orchards as well as rolling hills of countryside and wildflowers.

  1. Carvoeiro

In the centre of the Algarve in the Lagoa region, you can find the coastal fishing village of Carvoeiro. It’s a very popular and lively hub for tourists for several reasons, but the main attractions are the wide variety of quality bars and restaurants, free live entertainment and the sheltered beach which is ideal for snorkelling.

  1. Monchique

The mountain village of Monchique is near Faro and is renowned for its natural thermal spa which has been drawing in visitors since the age of the Romans. The hot sulphur springs and baths amongst the woods of the Serra de Monchique mountain range.

  1. Praia de Odeceixe

If you’re looking for a quiet beach which offers fantastic surfing at any time of year, Praia de Odeceixe is the place to be. It’s a crescent-shaped and sheltered beach in the south which is rarely busy even in high season.

  1. Albufeira

Albufeira is one of the leading resorts in the Algarve which offers tourists everything they could ask for from a holiday destination. Although a peaceful fishing village by day there are plenty of bars and restaurants which create a vibrant nightlife. It is particularly well known for the beaches which include Oura, Gale, Vigia, Baleeira, Maria Luísa, Falésia and Olhos de Água. Albufeira is also home to some of the area’s best golf courses including Balaia Golf Village, Pine Cliffs and Salgados.

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.

How To Decide If You Can Afford a New Car

Source

Many experts believe that there is no worse investment than buying a new car. It can be seen as a huge waste of money and a piece of metal that will depreciate in value the second you drive it off the forecourt. But you may have decided that buying new instead of second hand is best for you and your family. So here are some things to consider when deciding if you can afford to buy a new car. 

Maybe you dread the thought of constant repairs or want a car that is in line with today’s emissions and safety technology. Or maybe you just love that new car smell. There really are many different possibilities. But the big question to ask yourself is- can you really afford it? 

Put Down a Downpayment 

If you don’t have the funds to buy your chosen car outright, you’ll need to put down a little bit of cash to secure the deal. Companies such as Really Easy Car Credit could help you get the amount that you need. The ideal amount to put down is approximately 20%. Sit down and do the figures and see if you can afford it. 

Take a four-year loan

The most common length of loan for a car or other auto vehicle is approximately six years. However this could prove a bit too long. Consider taking a loan of around four years. It a good way to minimise the interest and ensure you’re not paying more than you have to. It also a good way to determine what you can afford. If you can’t meet the requirements for a loan payments of four years, it’s more than likely that you can’t afford the car in the long term. 

Only use 10 percent of your income

One final point is to ensure that you’re only using 10 percent at most of your monthly income towards your car payments. Any more than that and you can see yourself drifting into the red financially. Account for everything, including fuel. Car insurance, MOT fees and even parking tickets in this amount.

Stay within these boundaries and you’re looking at being able to realistically afford the car that you want. 

 

How to Use a Video Wall in Your Home

Take a number of smaller screens – televisions, computer monitors, etc. – arrange them in a continuous display to form one large screen, and you have a video wall. Sound simple? It is! But the flexibility gained by using several smaller screens instead of one large one allows you to put a video wall in nearly any room in your house! Below are some of the more common arrangements.

Lounge/Living room

Most people use their lounge more for television and film watching than just about anything else. But the old “tv-and-sofa” configuration is tired and a bit blasé. Shake things up by installing a video wall! Mounting the screens flat against the wall saves space, and with a large enough setup, you can easily transform your lounge into a mini-home cinema.

Kitchen

If you’re getting much of your culinary inspiration from cooking shows and instructional videos (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), then adding a video wall to the kitchen makes perfect sense. Add a few screens above your preferred countertop, and you’ve got the ideal way to watch that one video on how to properly slice an onion – for the 100th time.

Game Room

Avid about your video games? The latest high-tech screens forming a giant wall in your game room will certainly improve your experience, if not your abilities. Video games and video walls are the perfect fit, allowing you to get the most out of any game.

Home Office

Another common application of a video wall is in the home office. The multiple screens in a video wall allow you to pull up the most recent project on one screen, presentation on another, and that last-minute memo from your boss as well.

These are only a few of the many options for video walls in your home. You could add a smaller video wall to your bedroom for a lazy night in, or even install one in a sheltered patio or glasshouse. You’re sure to find a perfect place for a video wall in your home as well!

how to use a video wall in your home.

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.

Make Your Life Easier as a Mumpreneur

With childcare costs at an all-time high and earnings not really falling into line, it’s little wonder that so many women are turning to the idea of running their own businesses from home. The advantages of working in your own home are numerous, allowing you to set your own hours, work around school times and school holidays, and ultimately save a lot of money on childcare. It’s not for everyone, and some people struggle with the challenges of running a business in their home, but if you’ve got the drive and the patience, it can be a great alternative to a traditional 9-5 career.

If you’re thinking about becoming a work-at-home-mum, or even if you already are and are looking to make your life a bit easier, we’ve got some tips on how you can delegate certain tasks.

Get an Assistant

If you’re not keen on the idea of having someone coming to work alongside you in your home office every day, virtual receptionist services could be a great solution. For as little as 30p per day, you could have an automated service to handle all of the calls you don’t have time to deal with. It also means that you’re not tied to a desk and have the freedom to work from absolutely anywhere without the risk of missing important calls or losing business – far cheaper than a human assistant!

Outsource the Cleaning

Having a cleaner may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but when you think about how much time you spend cleaning in a week, and then consider the fact that you could spend that time working on your business instead, can you afford NOT to have a cleaner?! Taking the domestic chores off of your plate can free you up for more important things and increase your earning potential.

Co-Parenting

As we mentioned above, childcare is a massive expense for many families, which is why homeworking is good for parents of younger kids. However, when you’ve got a deadline or an important meeting to deal with, having kids around isn’t always doable. Teaming up with another Mumpreneur could be the answer – arrange to cover each other’s childcare during important times and the reciprocal arrangement means your childcare won’t cost anything and you both have the opportunity to develop your businesses when you need to. This can also work when you have to start doing school runs – take it in turns each day to take the kids to school while the other works.

Do Everything Online

The world is set up so that most things can now be one online, so set aside a couple of hours each week to get as much done online as you can. From your weekly shop to paying bills and even booking appointments, doing things in a set time slot each week can save you lots of time and give you a clearer head for dealing with work-related tasks. You can even use services which will not only remind you that someone’s birthday is coming up but will also send a card out to them without you even needing to go near a post box!

Get Your Beauty On!

If you’re the kind of person who likes to look ‘put together’ but struggle for time, there are a few things you can do to help you feel good without spending hours in the bathroom each morning. A Brazillian blow dry will cut down on hair styling time and keep your mane sleek without too much heat. Having your eyelashes permed and tinted could help give you the confidence to go out without mascara and having your eyebrows micro-bladed could save you loads of time each day, too. Think about your beauty priorities and see if there’s a permanent or semi-permanent solution.