Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateWe had a real treat recently with our trip to Stourhead which is a National Trust estate with huge gardens and house. We won a family ticket which was a thrill in itself and we wanted to go somewhere that we hadn’t previously heard of.

My OH and I had a look through the national trusts site. With our need to have somewhere; family friendly, a long walk and a good house to have a nose around, coupled with somewhere within 1 to 2 hrs drive, we settled on Stourhead in Wiltshire. It seemed to have all the elements that would suit us. It does state that no balls are to be taken for the kids and I can understand that they don’t want a football to go hurtling into all their beautiful plants and flowers.

We packed a good old family picnic in the morning and set out on our trip. It didn’t take too long to get there from our home in Dorset, just over an hour. Our prize ticket did work OK. I’m always a little worried when using a voucher or something that ‘the computer says no’ or there is a problem with that day or time being excluded. Everything was fine though.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The house is stunning and you can see from this view looking up from the gardens that it is framed really well by the care that is taken over the gardens. you can also see by the dark clouds that rain was a feature of our day too!

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The literature and the information around the house charts the lives of the last family to have Stourhead, parents Henry and Alda Hoare and their only son Harry. The family were devoted to each other and to Stourhead. Behind the public rooms used for entertaining and shared with visitors were the intimate family spaces where the family could relax and be themselves.

As you move around the family home, you follow in the family’s footsteps from their arrival and through the war years. Henry and Alda were devastated when Harry was killed in World War 1. They gave Stourhead to the National Trust in 1946.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

In the playrooms there were dressing up areas for the children to try on clothes from the era that the family were in residence. Our boys had some fun in there. It’s a good break if you are doing the tour in the house with children as they can let off a little steam without worrying that they will upset anyone.

There is also a picture quiz where they have to go round and find pictures of dogs in different paintings around the house. The boys love a bit of competition between themselves so it was another task to keep them occupied.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

So much care and dedication was put into the gardens by the family, it was such a labour of love for them.

The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: to contrast the dark masses with light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinkling of lighter greens here and there.

– Henry Hoare ‘The Magnificent’

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Dogs are welcome across Stourhead’s countryside areas all year round. They are welcome in the landscape garden from March-October after 4pm, after 3pm in November and all day, every day from December-February.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateThe kitchen gardens were in full bloom. The plants were massive and growing so well. I would of loved to chatted with one of the gardeners to get some tips but I didn’t manage to. In one of my posts where my OH made my pallet garden you can see what we have managed at home. I’m really chuffed with what we have managed on a small scale and for free! My dream would be to have a huge garden devoted to fruit and veg.

The visit was wonderful and I think the rain added to the day in ways that surprised me. There were times we had to stop and take shelter under some of the huge trees or hide under the arches. In those times we felt some more of the magic of Stourhead.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Have you been there or visited other walks that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

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Seriously Tasty Cheese Scone Recipe

When I was a young girl and staying with my nan on the weekends she would often bake with me. I remember the feel of the oversized apron tied around my waist, folded in the middle so that it wouldn’t trip me up.

One of the staple things we would bake together was scones; plain, fruit or cheese, all these would be made with her big hands over my little ones.

So, when I was looking for a tasty bake to make with my boys then cheese scones were a favourite choice.

The recipe and method are straightforward and ideas for moulding together quickly for a warm and wholesome savory treat.

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

5 from 1 vote
seriously tasty cheese scones recipe
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Seriously Tasty Cheese Scones Recipe

As the title says, these are seriously tasty and what's more is that they can be made in the blink of an eye!

Ingredients
  • 200 g Plain Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • Half tsp Salt
  • 50 g Butter
  • 100 g Cheddar Cheese
  • 20 g Parmesan Cheese optional
  • 60 ml Cold Water
  • 60 ml Milk
  • 1 Egg used for glazing
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 200 ºC (185 ºC if using a fan oven)

  2. Measure and put the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt into a mixing bowl

  3. Combine well
  4. Add the Butter and rub together with the tips of your fingers until it looks and feels like wet sand
  5. Grate the Cheese and mix through with a large spoon
  6. Add the Water and Milk
  7. Work together with your hands but don’t hand longer than necessary
  8. Put out onto a lightly floured surface
  9. Press down to a thickness of 2cm and cut out in rounds approximately 5cm wide
  10. Put onto a baking tray and cook for 15mins until golden
  11. Allow to cool a little on a wire rack.

 

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

If you fancy another easy comfort food dish that you can make while you’ve got the oven on then try my Easy Toad in the Hole recipe

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Thank you nan, this ones for you.

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

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Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

It’s not long until the boys go back to school and we have started to have a look at where we are going to hang all the shirts, jumpers and his new suit. Starting the senior year is a big event and we are all very excited. As the boys are getting older they are having more and more clothes between them and its all taking up so much space.

So, when Songmics offered us the chance to take a look at their Amazon store we were delighted to have the chance to browse. There is so much that they sell and we were so pleased to see this massive double wardrobe which we knew was just what we needed.

A huge bonus for you today is that I have a double wardrobe to giveaway! It’s such a super prize and so generous of Songmics. I’m over the moon to be able to offer this to you. The rafflecopter entry form is further down the post.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

My eldest son wanted to be in charge of putting together the wardrobe as it was for his room and I was pleased to let him! For once it was great to see clear instructions of how to put it together and what was even better was that all the pieces were there and labeled correctly. It was such a good start!

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

I left him to it and within 10 minutes look what he had done. He made a great start and there was a calm in the room that I was pleased to see. It helps that everything is in order and packed well.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

Bit by bit he built it up and the wardrobe was starting to take shape.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

Look at this, no bendy or wobbly bits, it’s perfect for the space too.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

The structure is really sturdy and you can see and feel that it will stay together very well. There are two hanging spaces either side of a central shelving unit.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

Once the inside of it is all put together then it was time to put the non woven fabric cover over it. That is a bit more of a two person job but still really quick.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

The front covers are in three parts and roll up when you need them to and they have zippers so that you can close it up. There is plenty of space in it and as it carries a load of 5kg on the shelves and 15kg for the hanging space it will suit us down to the ground.

Songmics Double Canvas Wardrobe Review and Giveaway

Please pop over to the songmics facebook page and give them a like, you can also click on the in the competition below. good luck everyone and thanks again for joining me, it means alot that you have enjoyed the post so please do let me know what you think!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: I was given a this double wardrobe for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and written views are my own. I would also like to thank Songmics for supplying the prize for the giveaway

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10 Quiz Questions You Need To Know

10 Quiz Questions you must know! Test yourself with these 10 well known quiz questions that you will have on the tip of your tongue, but will you remember?

I love going to our local quiz. It’s a great time that I get to spend with my family and friends. It taps into areas of my brain that sometimes don’t get an airing and are stuck on mum or work mode. I like the movies and tv or pot luck, my OH is good at maths and geography, my brother is a good all-rounder and my nephew is right on the button with modern music.

There are some great general knowledge questions that I always have on the tip of my tongue, really should know but can’t recall them. So, I thought I’d put them down in a quick fire 10 Quiz Questions you need to know post. Questions first and then answers below. Keep them for reference later on:)

Are you ready for the Questions?

1. What is the total number of dots on a dice?

2. What country has the smallest coastline?

3. What is Sir Elton Johns real name?

4. What is the largest state in the USA?

5. What is a baby spider called?

6. What is the chemical symbol for Gold?

7. What is the name of the large snake in Jungle Book?

8. How many minutes in a week? You have 30 seconds to work it out – set the timer!

9. If you were born on May 13th what star sign are you?

10. Is the capital city of Germany Berlin or Munich?

 

See Below for the answers

10 quiz questions you need to know

The Answers are…

1. As there are six faces on a die: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These total  21

2. Monaco. It’s only around 3-4 kilometers

3. Reginald Kenneth Dwight

4. Alaska

5. Spiderling

6. Au

7. Kaa

8. 10080

9. Taurus

10. Berlin

 

How did you do? If you liked these then I think you’ll also enjoy my 10 Amazing Facts you never knew you didn’t know!

I’d love to hear  your score today and also if you have any great quiz questions then please put them to me in the comments section!

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Bicycle First Aid Kit Review and Giveaway

We go on a fair amount of trips in our household which is great fun. The boys and my OH have been increasing the distance in their bike rides and I’ve been pretty blown away by how far they are managing to go on their boys outings. I’m not a massive lover of riding so that’s normally when I get in a bit of blogging time. Saying that, when we went to center parcs I loved it because I had an electric bike and the difference it made was amazing and I loved every second.

I always pack a first aid kit in the car so that I’ve got the essentials on hand should I need it. With my 2 boys there is often the odd graze, cut or sting to take care of.

I’ve never seen or had a bicycle first aid kit though. It was great therefore to try out these first aid kits from SJ Works specifically for attaching to bicycles and putting family first aid as the priority.

Aswell as being able to show you how good they look and to give our first hand opinion, I also have one of the saddle first aid packs to giveaway! You can see how to enter further down the post.

Bicycle first aid kit

Now as some of you may be aware, my OH has got a big trip coming up in the new year that will see him going off to New Zealand for a few weeks and spending quite alot of time on different cycling treks. He’s even taking his bike from here in the UK over with him so he’s pretty committed. I don’t think that my electric style of biking would go down too well over a long period and this is something for him to get out of his system while I will probably be doing something far more sedate like spa days and girly lunches!

He will be taking the saddle pouch first aid kit with him on his trip which gives me peace of mind. Him too but he’s far too butch to let on that much. Since it will deal with most minor first aid needs it is ideal to have on the bike. It’s better to have and not need than to deal with an accident and be left kicking yourself for not putting it on.

There is so much included in this SJ Works saddle pouch kit. Including:

1pcs An empty saddle bag
1pc American Red Cross First Aid Guide
6pcs Antiseptic Towelettes
5pcs Easy Access Bandage 3*1″—5pcs Easy Access Bandage 3/4*3″
5pcs Junior Easy Access Bandage 3/8×1.5″
5pcs Butterfly Wound Closures
2pcs Sterile Non-Adherent Pads 2″x3″
2pcs Sterile Non-woven sponges 2″x2″2pcs/pk 4ply
1pc Sterile Eye Pad
1pc Pressure Bandages 2″x2″
1pc Pressure Bandages 3″x3″
1pc Triangular Bandage 42″x42″x59″ nonwoven
1pc First Aid Tape Roll 1/2″x10yds.
1pc Emergency Blanket 38″x60″
1pc SJ Works Reflect strip

This one and their other products can also be found here to buy.

They also make this mini hard cased pack which is great for popping in any travel bag or glove compartment of your car.

Another nice little extra is that they have a 100% no questions asked money-back guarantee with a 30 days notice, so if it’s not right for you then just get in touch with them.

The larger SJ Works Classic Bicycle first aid kit has everything the saddle kit has and more! Even a little emergency bike light! They have thought of everything.

So after you have had a look at them, why not enter into my giveaway below and see if you can win one for yourself. Open to worldwide entrants.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was given the first aid kits in order to carry out an honest review, in my own words which is what I have done. They are perfect for my family and I’m delighted to have them now. You can go to my contacts page to see giveaway general terms.

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Club Hub UK – App Review

There’s a great new app on the scene! Club Hub UK. This has really caught my attention! I heard recently from Tessa Robinson, the creator who quite rightly, had worked really hard around the launch date with getting the news of her app out there to let us all know that we could make use of it.

The app is designed to make finding activities easier…Ok that’s good enough for me already!:)

Club Hub UK - App Review

But let me tell you more….

The app is designed to locate children’s clubs and activities around the U.K. It caters for children from newborns up to 18 years old.

Tessas background is in acting and she started a children’s musical theatre group. She started teaching children after school, and enjoyed sharing her knowledge in everything she could in terms of acting, singing and dancing.

During this time her idea was forming which has now become ‘Club Hub UK’. Tessa thought that there should be a way that she could promote her after school club to all the parents in her local area. She then thought about creating an app where people could locate all the children’s clubs in their area too – a simple app where parents could input their child’s age and interests, and the search results would list local clubs and their details.

Club Hub UK - App Review

Tessa really pushed her idea forward and came second with Club Hub UK in the #InSport competition with Ideas Britain. An app where people are able to show their ideas to the world. That too is very much worth checking out if you need coaches to assist in your app ideas.

Ella Harding is the graphic designer and I really love the drawings she has created for the site.

The app and website is free and listings are free too! You couldn’t want more as a resource. If you are looking for a club to promote your activity, check out the club owner section.

I think this is an app that is well worth keeping an eye out for, it could be one of those that you start seeing everywhere and it comes to be a go-to app at the weekend! Well done Tessa!

Here are all the contact details below:

Website: www.clubhubuk.co.uk

Twitter: @clubhubuk 

Facebook: Club Hub UK

What do you think, is this an app that you’d think of downloading? You can download on the App Store here or Google Play here

I am one of the supporters for this app because I really believe in the great idea and the hard work behind it.

I’d love you to subscribe to my blog so that you’ll be updated on each new post. You can do so here:

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The Best Beginners Guide to Making Mum Friends

We’ve all felt like the odd one out when starting a new school right? Well starting school or nursery when you are the parent can be just as daunting, if not worse! Fears and self-doubt can creep in and old leftover experiences of when we were younger can all surface again.

As a parent, waving the little ones off …well peeling them off you as was sometimes the case when mine were little is one milestone to get over. The next is standing there having waved them off and then walking home or back to the car-park alone.That feeling is the pits and I think, totally unnecessary! Now is the time to get in with or make your own Mum Tribe, it will make the next few years so much easier!

Here is the best beginners guide to making mum friends:

Smile Smile Smile, it can take the place of a thousand words and can be a huge pick me up for whoever is on the receiving end.

Make something happen! Arrange a coffee morning as a way to get to know people. Odds on you aren’t the only one feeling the same way. Arranging a time and place to meet takes the headache out of it for other people. We are all so busy that having to hang around and umm and ahhh over where to go often leads to absolutely nothing, nada. If you take the initiative and arrange something, even if only one person can make it then that’s fine, it’s one person you will always have to laugh with about that first get together.

As with the point above, you have to make things happen. So, if someone asks you to go along to an event that they have planned then try your hardest to go. You might feel tired, not of washed your hair or don’t fancy meeting over the other side of town. The thing is making the effort and then feeling the benefit afterwards. You can even have a look at my post 5 tips to help the school run go smoother which should help in getting there on time and without being too stressed!

If you have to go past other mums who are all gaggled together like they’ve known each other for years, take a deep breath, walk over and say hi. You’ll get a feel for them pretty quickly and you have the most legit get out of jail card by saying that you can’t stop as you have to dash off to work – doctors-friends etc. But what you would have done is broken the ice, said your name and made the first move.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen!!

Volunteer to help out at the school or nursery and before you go all shivery and think ‘No Friggin Way’… do it, even if it’s just the once. Think about it, you probably always have to talk to the teacher right? – So that’s one person who you know and can chat to. It’s your way in. If you volunteer for just one cake, book, uniform or whatever the heck sale it is then you will have people coming to you to talk and it’s ready-made intros.

The Best Beginners Guide to Making Mum Friends

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It might seem a little daunting or hard work at first. Over time, just like when we were at school or starting out at work or uni, it falls into place and we settle with friends that we click with. Being in your new mum tribe is just one more path of being a fully fledged grown up. Enjoy the riches that these women can bring to your life.

What tips have you got? What were your first experiences of making your new mum friends.

 

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Getting Choppy with Red Candy 

I am very pleased with my new chopping boards and am delighted to be able to show them to you today. Finally I’ve got something very classy that makes me look like a pro cook. I don’t know about you but I love to be in my kitchen trying out new recipes and more and more I like to have good quality but also funky accessories around me. I was nearly jumping for joy when my Joseph Joseph Chopping Board set arrived. At last I could finally throw away my old wooden one that was warped and leaving little bits of wood on the knife every time I cut anything up, surely not a good sign! My other old plastic one that I had hanging around had managed to get bent out of shape and had seen better days.

I've had a blast of colour with my new kitchen accessories.

This set is great because they are easily identifiable in what they are to be used for. The set comes from Red Candy which sells wonderfully stylish bright homewear.

I've had a blast of colour with my new kitchen accessories.

Red Candy was launched in 2009, as the world’s first red-only website. Back then every product they stocked, from clocks & colanders, to mugs & magazine racks, was red! I spent so long having a look on the site I’m sure that I could have redesigned my house about 5 times over – I loved it.


I've had a blast of colour with my new kitchen accessories.

‘Shut up, beige!’ is their battle cry against everything bland. You will definitely see that is true if you visit their website. At the moment there is a really good sale of up to 70% off so you can get loads of pressies and gifts for yourself.

I've had a blast of colour with my new kitchen accessories.

I’m going to take every opportunity to show off my lovely boards. Below you can even see them with one of my home-grown cucumbers. You’ll see more of my gardening escapades in future posts. Remember the runner beans vlog from last year? It still makes me smile to see Little G doing his presenting.

These boards all have a little extra to them depending on what their function is; the veg one has a little lip all the way round to collect juices for either putting into your dish or it stops it running over onto your work surface. the fish one had a little gripper which stops a slippery fish moving around and helping to cut safer.

I've had a blast of colour with my new kitchen accessories.

Have a little look and see, I’m going to stock up and get a bit of early christmas shopping done, ever the thrifty mum!

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Disclaimer: I was given a set of chopping boards to review for this post. All thoughts are my own and I must say once again that they are great:)

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Free Pallet Patio Garden

Easy Step by Step Guide

Fancy growing your own fruit and veg? I thought the same and am now managing just that! Here’s how to build your own free pallet patio garden.

Last year I had a new patio and it’s a great area to sit out in as it captures a lot of sun.  The boys use our garden to play football and I learnt the hard way that football and plant borders don’t mix well! I actually get upset when I see the ball thud into the plants and race over to see whats happened. The boys then scurry away waiting to see if yet another tomato plant has bitten the dust.

So when the patio was laid I started thinking of ways that I could enjoy growing some fruit and vegetables on the patio.

I wanted a way to use recycled products and make something that really made the most of the small compact space we had.

Here’s a step by step guide to how I made this brilliant pallet patio garden out of mainly recycled bits and bobs, for free!

Free Pallet Patio Garden
Our blank canvas!
Free Pallet Patio Garden

We put a base down so that the structure wouldnt sit directly on the slabs and cause too much discolouration.

Free Pallet Patio Garden

Here is my other half fixing a free pallet that we picked up onto the back of the crate used to deliver the patio slabs in. If you can get hold of more pallets then use them to make a crate. You can find them on free sites or even in skips.

Free Pallet Patio Garden

We had some weed suppressor mat in the shed and if you havent got anything like that hanging around then they are easy to pick up very cheaply. I just wanted something lining the inside that would help with keeping the pots contained and not having the water running straight out onto the ground.


Free Pallet Patio Garden
The you are all ready to go and start putting in the pots that you wish to have there. What I found useful was that on the sunny days I can move the pots onto the top of the back pallet and they can make use of the sunshine. When it’s a windy day they can nestle back into the base and be a bit more protected.

free pallet patio garden

You can see by these photos how the plants are coming along. The potatoes are growing well and the carrots on the right hand side in the base are showing nicely. I’ve planted onions next to them as apparently they fend off one of the mites that would eat the carrot tops.

free pallet patio garden

Come back soon for an update and more than likely a recipe made out of some of the home grown veg. It will be great to see you again.

Have you got any tips on growing veg in small spaces? You might be a seasoned pro or just starting out. I’d love to hear.

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10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 

I’ve been taking my children away on holiday since they were both tiny. I even remember very clearly taking my 2-year-old abroad while I was pregnant and I did that alone whilst potty training the 2-year-old. Now I know lots of parents, single or not have had to do this but I just wanted to set the groundwork that I have some experience of juggling traveling with kids and having to find ways of keeping them entertained! A happy mummy is a happy child in my book. So, I thought that I would share some of my own tips with you which you can add to your own tried and tested methods.

1. Food! Kids love to eat, so whatever is their favourite snack – pack! Remember to pop a small pack of wet wipes in your bag for those sticky fingers!

2. Soothing toy – when mine were tiny my eldest had a small blue bear that went on each and every travel. Even now at 8 and 11 there is always something special that they like to have close to them. I let them decide and *whispers* it’s usually a soft toy!

3. Magazines – whatever the age and whatever the gender there are so many different types of magazines out there to suit almost everyone. It’s a good way to get some reading going on for the kids besides their electronic devices – we’ll get into those later!

10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 3

4. Colouring books – again, a bit like the magazines there are so many that really cross the different age ranges and the children can be really creative. Colouring books theses days don’t just satisfy the 2-5 year olds thankfully.

10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 2

5. Textiles – crochet, knitting, teddy bear making, all of these activities can easily be taken on holiday with very little fuss. I remember learning to knit from both of my mans when I was little and it would keep me amused and occupied for hours. It’s also such a great skill to learn for boys and girls.

6. Writing a diary of the holiday is a great way of getting the kids involved in the whole process of the holiday. As you are planning the holiday they can start jotting down what is happening and sticking in pictures from brochures etc. While away they can collect different flyers and leaflets to do with where you are staying and stick and paste.

7. Kids Club – I always book something that has a kids club of some description. Holidays are for all the family and you need some downtime as well. There are baby crèche, mini club, maxi clubs and all sorts to suit all different ages. All you have to do is look for them. It doesn’t mean that they have to go to the club all the time but it’s there as an option. Leave the guilt at home and pop them in there so you can have a couple of hours by the pool without any worry. You’ll be surprised how good it feels if you haven’t tried it.

8. Take your mum or another family member if you can. I’ve been having a holiday with my mum and my children ever since they were born. It’s amazing and for us it adds a very positive dynamic to our holidays. We noticed this year that there are so many grandparents holidaying with family now. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice it before or that it’s become so much more popular. This year we had fun in Alcudia and it was mainly down to my mum being there with us.

9. Take one of their friends….No I’ve not lost the plot. If they are a certain age, around 9 and above then this is a genius idea. Your child will have their buddy and not need anywhere near as much attention (in a good way) as if they were on their own. They will be happy and feel a bit of independence as they will have their mate to explore the venue or even just the kids club where you are staying. Plus and this is a bonus….your child might even get invited away with them next time. It could be time to get out the Romantic weekend away brochures. I bet you thought that would never happen again!

10. Photography – this year my son started wanting to take photos. Whether this is on your phone if you dare trust them or on a disposable camera it’s a great way for them to feel part of it all and take some photos that they can then show around when they get home. It doesn’t really matter if it’s just the tops of heads or random sky photos, it’s theirs and can form part of lots of craft projects when you get home.

Bonus one  – If you really need to and if it makes everyone happy then take the kindle, ipad, or whatever it is away with you too. Remember, everything in moderation and “a happy mummy or daddy is a happy child”.

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Please share with me what other ideas work for you and your family. The more the merrier to help make the holidays go as stress free as possible.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday