Hi I'm Alex! I started writing a blog back in 2013 as a way to capture my thoughts, feelings and emotions as I married my childhood sweetheart and we had our first child. I'm now a Mum of two little boys (Ethan & Logan) and I've continued writing, photographing and videoing ever since as a way to remember all of the little details that make up this amazing journey of Motherhood.
Work on our garden finished early this year and honestly, I think out of all the money that we've spent turning our house into a home, doing our garden really has got to be one of my favourite things that we've done! There's nothing like sitting out in the fresh air with a drink on our new outdoor sofa on our new decking area in the sun, looking back at our family home and everything we've achieved with it whilst watching our two little boys play. It's bliss!
Today I am going to share a few ideas that I have, plus some things that we've done personally for making the most out of a family garden, no matter what the size.
1. Think about where the sun is
If you're in a position where you are redesigning your garden or changing it around, make sure you take into consideration where you get the most sun in your garden. We've never really got a lot as our garden faces the wrong way for it, but since redesigning our garden and adding decking to the corner of the garden where we did get a little bit of sun, it feels like we get SO much sun now. Obviously, this hasn't actually changed, we are now instead simply utilising the space that we didn't before.
2. Bring the inside out
One of my favourite things to do when the sun comes out is to bring the indoors outside. Things like cushions, toys for the boys, their tents and tunnels, candles in the evening, blankets and even small outdoor rugs. It all helps to create a cosy, relaxed environment and almost feels like your home has gained a new room!
3. Add some fun
If you've got little ones, add some fun to your garden with whatever works for your garden space. If you've got a large garden then these days you can get some really brilliant swing sets that can be combined with slides and climbing extensions from brands like Wickey. If you've got a smaller garden, then pop up tents and tunnels work well and can be easily stored away or back indoors. We've got quite a small garden and Ethan was recently bought a pair of football goals for the garden, the brilliant thing about them is that once he's finished playing they simply pop down back into the bag they came in and then they fit into the shed without taking up much room.
4. Add mirrors
It might sound a bit odd, but this is such a clever way to create the illusion that your garden is larger than it is. A small garden mirror not only adds a feeling of more space, but will bring more light to your garden also, especially in corners that may be a little dark. You can get some really great looking garden mirrors and even ones that look a bit like windows.
6. Add lighting
It's so inexpensive to add some lighting to your garden, it really doesn't need to be anything fancy. Most stores sell solar lights for a pound or so each and they can really add that something extra to your garden, not to mention how cosy they'll make it feel in the evening.
7. Hide your bins
If you store your bins in your back garden, you can hide them easily using things like willow or wooden screens so that you don't have to have them on show when you're trying to relax in your garden space.
I hope this post was helpful. I'd love to know any tricks you know of or use for getting the most out of back garden space?
Before I begin I should tell you that this isn't a collaborative post with Amazon, I simply go to Amazon for most things and over the years I have found and purchased quite a few things that we absolutely love and use daily or near enough daily.
Amazon is the place I always check first when it comes to finding out the usual cost of something. They tend to have pretty much everything on there from tech to toys, to home decor to cleaning products and so much more - I've even bought cat food and litter from there too! Their prices always seem to be really good and some stores will even price match with Amazon if you ask them too.
Over on my YouTube channel today, I've explained in more depth why these 9 items below have made the list when it comes to some of my top Amazon purchases (though it was particularly hard to narrow it down), but here's a small run down also.
Eletorot Candle Lighter Rechargeable We've always had the candle lighters that need refuelling, but this clever little candle lighter is rechargeable with a USB. There's no flame on it, just an electrical type spark. There's a display on the front which tells you how much power it has left and what's even better is that you can bend and adjust the neck to reach into awkward places. It's so clever and was such a good find! Find it here.
Groov-e Kidz On-Ear Headphones These are our boys' new headphones, we only recently bought them, but I can already tell that we're going to get good use out of them. We bought them for half price on Amazon and they're so comfortable. The sound is also crystal clear making them perfect for use with the iPad at home or when we are travelling. Find them here.
Folding Step Stool with Carry Handle We use our folding step stool in our kitchen every single day. It's brilliant because it folds down very easily and super quick to go flat, so it can be stored easily and can also be taken when going away if needed.
The boys use it to wash their hands and to reach the side when they're helping us out. We also use it to reach up into our extra tall kitchen cabinet units. We already have a stool in there, but it would be brilliant in the bathroom too for helping little ones reach the sink when brushing their teeth or washing their hands. Find it here.
VonShef 3 Tier Spice Herbs Rack This clever spice rack has been one of my favourite ever Amazon purchases from as soon as it arrived. It is such a clever storage idea - utilising the inside back of the kitchen cabinet door (a place we never would have otherwise been using it). And I love how it displays all of the spices and herbs that we have so we're not having to root through them to find the one we need or re-purchasing certain ones that we already have. Find it here.
Recipe Kitchen Book Holder Stand Following recipes is so much easier thanks to this clever recipe stand my Husband found. You can very easily adjust the height at the back depending on how much you want the recipe book to be and it also folds completely flat for easy storage. We use it with all of our cookbooks and recipe cards as well as an iPad stand for when we are following a recipe online. Find it here.
Munchkin Miracle 360 Degree Sippy Cup We've used these cups for the boys for years as they are the best we've ever tried. They're clever little cups that let the liquid inside pass through the rubber at the top, but that prevent spillages when the drinks are knocked over. I wouldn't say they are 100% spill proof, but when compared with other drinks cups we've tried, they're amazing! Find them here.
Neewer 18-inch Outer Dimmable SMD LED Ring Light I honestly can't believe the difference owning and using a ring light has made to my videos. If you want to see how much of a difference, then head over to my YouTube video to see what it looks like when I film with and without it. Obviously, I use mine for the sit-down youtube videos I film, but it's the sort of thing that is perfect for anyone with an interest in photography or for anyone that needs to take pictures of products for their own home business. Find it here.
Anker 4-Port USB Plug Charger This Anker 4-Port USB Plug Charger is ideal for travelling or for those of you who stay away quite a bit. When we go away we literally just take this plug and a couple of wires for our tech like our phones, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook and any other items that work or are charged via USB and then when we get to our hotel we just need to use the one plug socket. (Anyone else find that hotels tend to not have very many convenient plug sockets?!). It's so handy and it means when we leave we just simply unplug this one plug from the socket and go. It can also be used abroad with just one travel adaptor. Find it here.
Packing Cubes (6 pack) It's difficult to explain just how good packing cubes are, but they really are amazing for keeping your suitcase organised when you go away. I initially bought one pack, but after realising how good they were I've since purchased two more packs in different colours so that I can organise by colour too for different people.
I always manage to keep on top of what I've packed using these. I also always manage to fit more in as I roll the clothes up into sort of packets and then secure them by zipping up the cubes. I find that when it comes to sharing suitcases it keeps clothes organised and separate which makes it so much easier to find different people's clothes when on holiday. Our suitcases stay a lot neater with these and when we've worn clothes on holiday that need washing, I separate dirty clothes into one of the cubes ready to simply empty them straight into the washing bin when we're back. Find them here.
What things have you bought from Amazon that you now couldn't be without?
Anyone else feel like they're forever chasing their tail with trying to keep the house tidy and clean?! Once I've finished one room, you can bet that another is always sure to have been turned upside down.
And so because of this, I'm always looking for tips, tricks and hacks to help me save time on getting the house jobs done and over the years I've learnt a few little things that have turned out to be pretty genius.
I always think that it's good to share and so below are a few cleaning hacks that I wish I had known about sooner..
1.Using toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean the white rubber around shoes and trainers
If you have an old pair of shoes or trainers that aren't quite old enough to replace, but that could do with a bit of a freshen up then this tip will really help.
Just grab some toothpaste and an old toothbrush that is no longer used and gently rub the toothpaste onto the bottom white rubber parts of the trainers. You'll be amazed at how much the toothpaste will whiten the trainer. They'll look (nearly) as good as new!
2. Using toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean marks off of walls
As with above, toothpaste and an old toothbrush work like absolute magic here in removing marks from walls. If you're a parent, then you'll probably have had crayon marks on the walls in your house before. If you can't get your hands on the paint to remove the marks, then this is such a quick, easy and inexpensive trick. Just gently rub the toothpaste with the toothbrush over the crayon mark and it will completely disappear in front of your eyes.
3. Use baby oil on your kitchen sink drainer to remove water marks and smears
Smears and water marks on my sink drainer and around my sink on the taps drive me absolutely crazy! Someone on Instagram shared this following tip with me and I love it so much. All you need to do is clean your sink and drainer area as normal, dry it a little with a microfibre cloth or whatever else you'd normally use and then simply get a little bit of baby oil on some kitchen roll and rub it in on top (following the direction of your drainer lines). It will remove the water marks and smears like magic!
4. The magic of Bar Keepers Friend
This product is absolutely incredible for removing stains off of surfaces. I use it all of the time to remove things like stubborn pasta sauce stains and stained tea mug rings off of my white desk, bedsides cabinets and kitchen surfaces. You simply sprinkle a little of the product onto a cloth or directly on the stain and then wipe over with a wet cloth/sponge/piece of kitchen roll and it lifts off in seconds with very little need to rub it too much.
5. Hoovering your shaggy rug upside down and shaking either side out
I feel like this one might be more common knowledge than I realise? But I always thought that simply hoovering my rug daily was enough. I was so wrong! Recently I discovered just how much dirt and how many crumbs get stuck inside of my shaggy living room rug. It's actually shocking just how much. So now, at least once a week I turn the rug totally over, hoover the back of it whilst it's face down and then I lift either side shaking it completely out and then hoovering up whatever falls off of it. My rug looks like brand new whenever I do this and I love it!
6. Using a squeegee to lift pet hair from the corners and sides of the stairs
I have three cats so I'm always finding it a little difficult to keep on top of the amount of pet hair in the house, especially on our stairs as they are carpeted. I hoover the stairs most days, but I find that the sides and corners of the individual steps seem to cling on the hair where the hoover can't quite reach enough.
One thing that works really well for this though, is slightly dampening a squeegee and getting right into the corners and sides with one of the squeegee ends. Because the squeegee is so thin it can reach right to the side and in the corners where the hoover might not be able to and then the rubber part of the squeegee easily pulls the hair away leaving the stairs looking lovely again!
I hope these tips have been helpful. I am always looking for new hacks, tips and tricks when it comes to tidying and cleaning, so if you have any to share, please feel free to do so in the comment section below. :)
CLEANING TIPS THAT I WISH I KNEW ABOUT SOONER | Alex Gladwin - YouTube
In a way, I can't really remember life without Ethan. But in another way, I can't really believe that he's just turned six years old. That, Adam and I have a six-year-old. It's a funny age, on one hand, I think six is still so young, but I'm also aware that Ethan's also starting to become a tad more grown up. It's amazing to watch his personality and knowledge of the world develop more and more, but I'm always aware of what so many people with older children tell me - it all goes so fast and then before you know it they're in college/university and all grown up themselves. So Adam and I do our best to always try to create memories with the boys that will last a lifetime for us all.
It's not always easy to create those special memories though of course, parenthood is no walk in the park, in any sense of the phrase. We're winging it most of the time, just as I believe most parents are. And sometimes there are times that I know we both feel we could have handled things differently, but that's parenthood, in a nutshell, to be honest - we're continually learning and Ethan as our first, leads the way in helping us to learn first hand what parenting entails.
For Ethan's birthday this year, the theme was Pokemon. He seems to have a different theme each year, - so far we've had planes, dinosaurs, cats and now pokemon. He's hugely into Lego also and takes after his Daddy in that respect, but Lego seems to be a running theme throughout Ethan's birthdays. He loves to create and to collect and Lego and Pokemon cards are ideal for that.
Over the years we've realised that one of the most exciting things, is the actual unwrapping of the presents, so this year it was all about wrapping every little thing individually to maximise on the unwrapping time! We picked up a few bigger things for Ethan like a Godzilla figure he really liked and an Indoraptor toy from Jurassic Park, plus some Pokemon card decks and a new Pokemon folder for him to store his cards in, and then there were lots of little things for him to unwrap and have fun with.
6TH BIRTHDAY PRESENT HAUL & TIPS FOR FINDING DEALS | Alex Gladwin - YouTube
Ethan was really lucky this year in that his birthday fell in the Easter holidays which meant no school! We were able to celebrate his birthday on his actual birthday. For the occasion, we took him, his brother and a couple of his best school friends to an indoor trampoline park where he had lots of fun bouncing around and then we all went to Pizza Express, with Grandma too, for dinner and of course, birthday cake.
At a cafe before trampolining with Logan and Grandma. Grandma kindly took Ethan to a toy shop and let him pick out his own birthday present- he chose more packs of Pokemon cards of course! :)
Having children is an expensive business, we all get that. No matter how much you and your partner bring home each month, there’s always something to spend it on. There are the clothes that your kids seem to grow out of every five minutes, the formula, the toys, the classes and the shoes…oh yes, the shoes…
If you find you have difficulty keeping your spending and your finances, you can try Creditfix for help and advice, even if you feel you’re already in a sticky situation. To start you off, though, here’s seven tips for saving money or coping with a small budget when you have children.
Join all the online marketplaces you can handle
Very often, when someone needs to get rid of a pram, or an activity centre, they just want it gone, so you’ll find items at more than decent prices. Make it a habit to scan your marketplaces every other day or so, and set alerts for particular items in your area. Persistence pays off…
Sell your own outgrown items on these marketplaces
Once you’ve bought a few things and had some good experiences with more-established sellers, you’ll be able to start selling your own things on when your children have outgrown them.
Reduce your nursery sessions during holiday periods
One really good idea that lots of working parents forget is to temporarily reduce your hours at nursery when you go away. Most nurseries need a couple of months’ notice, though, so make sure you think ahead as you could save yourself a couple of hundred quid or more.
Batch cook and freeze small portions for the kids
Don’t bother buying those off-the-shelf meals for toddlers and older children; make your own. If you’re weaning, you can always try baby-led weaning, which involves offering chopped-up adult food instead of liquidised versions of it. This is cheaper and is thought to be better for developing eye-hand coordination and also more adventurous palates.
Don’t feel you have to give in to every demand your children make
Saying “No,” occasionally isn’t actually a violation of your children’s human rights (although they’ll probably try and argue that it is). Not getting everything that they want is good for them because they’ll learn that not everything revolves around them. It’s also a good way to introduce basic lessons about money and how to spend it wisely.
Avoid the gender-spender trap
If you’re planning to have, or have just had, another baby, then you’ll be bombarded with marketing that tries to get you to buy the pink or blue version of things you already have! This really isn’t necessary, especially if you’re not rolling in money. Doubling up on things isn’t great for the planet, either, so either ignore silly comments about a girl in blue or go unisex the first time around!
When it comes to occasions, I honestly don't think it's possible to beat something that's been handmade. Handmade gifts are so special, they're completely personal, totally unique and the thought that goes into them is a sure way to let somebody know that you truly care.
Ethan, my eldest little boy turned 6 on the 17th and the day before his birthday my youngest little boy, Logan had been a very busy boy creating something really special in the form of a handmade birthday card and some very tasty Pokemon biscuits to celebrate his big brothers birthday.
I'd received an email a few weeks before from arts and crafts superstore Hobbycraft who'd asked me if we'd like to collaborate with them. I have many fond memories of getting lost in the aisles of Hobbycraft as a little girl, wanting to buy so many of their products and I'm even the same now as an adult as I still love anything art and crafty and I'm totally addicted to pretty stationery, so Hobbycraft is a slice of heaven in that sense.
Hobbycraft had always been somewhere that I'd associated with having a great art and crafts range, but I hadn't realised until recently the huge section of high-quality birthday decorations and baking products that they offer too, and so I thought a really lovely way we could collaborate would be for Logan to get involved with creating a more personal, special surprise for his brother by making AND baking him something totally unique.
Firstly, Logan set about creating a special birthday card for Ethan and to do this he started with choosing a coloured card from the huge pack of bright coloured cards and envelopes that we'd received from Hobbycraft. The pack is priced at just £5.00 and for that, you receive 50 brightly coloured cards and envelopes ready to be personalised and decorated. Our boys are massively into creating and crafting for occasions so for us, this big pack which allows the boys to make their own special cards is absolutely perfect. Logan picked out a purple card because that's his favourite colour and then a red envelope because that's Ethan's favourite.
Next, he decorated the outside and the inside of his card with some lovely bright stickers. Balloons for obvious reasons and cats because Ethan is like his Mummy in that he's very fond of them. The stickers were a big hit and were such good quality too - the balloon stickers were 3D and the cat stickers were glittery and Logan had no problem whatsoever getting them off of the sheet himself ready to stick on to his card.
He had so much fun choosing and using the different coloured gel pens, he even did all the writing himself by copying what I'd written on a separate piece of a paper, which for a 3-year-old I thought was so good. There are some fantastic colours included in Hobbycraft's gel pen set from pastels to neons to metallics, I can't believe that the whole 50 pack of pens is just £5.00!
For the finishing touches, Logan added on some personal birthday stamps which made him feel really grown. I think stamps are such a great idea to help theme handmade cards and it's great to know that they can be re-used over and over too. On the front of his card, Logan also added on a big glittery golden number 6. Hobbycraft sells numbered card toppers in both gold and silver and in the numbers from 0 to 9, I think they make for the perfect finishing touch and they're so easy to add on, you simply just peel off the protective backing and stick the number on wherever you'd like it to go.
Logan absolutely loved creating a card for his brother, he spent ages putting a lot of thought into the design of both his card and envelope and he was so proud of the outcome. Now that we have the blank pack of cards, the pens, the stamps and we know where to get some quality reasonably priced stickers from, I think card crafting is going to become quite a regular thing in our house!
SPECIAL BIRTHDAY SUPRISE PART 2
The next part of the surprise was an attempt at making some Pokmeon themed biscuits for the Pokemon-loving birthday boy. Baking is not something we do regularly in our house, we usually opt for the shop bought cupcake kits that you can get and we have fun with those. But I have to say we had SUCH fun making our Pokemon biscuits and Logan loved it so much more than I even thought he would - it held his interest the entire time!
The inspiration for the biscuits came from a quick google search - I found what turned out to be a really easy to follow guide on a blog called shewhobakes.co.uk and we managed to find everything that we needed to make them from Hobbycraft minus things like the eggs and flour which we had in the cupboard.
For our Pokeball biscuits, we used the following...
To begin with we mixed the butter, sugar, egg and flour together into a dough.
After we'd made our dough we wrapped it up in cling film and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, we scattered some flour on our chopping board and Logan rolled the dough out ready to start cutting out our circle biscuit shapes.
When this was done we placed them on a baking tray and then in the oven at 170c for 20(ish) minutes.
Afterwards and whilst they were cooling off, we began rolling out the white and red icing and then cutting out our circle shapes again. We then cut them in half.
We also cut out our black icing strips.
And also the smaller black and white circles.
And then it was a case of sticking it all together using the edible glue and the (very tasty) buttercream.
Logan was so good with the sticking and loved seeing the Pokeballs come together!
When Ethan returned and saw what Logan had done for him he was over the moon! He loved his card, especially the cat stickers on it and he thought the biscuits were really cool! We each had one after dinner and I can confirm that they tasted amazing - not bad for the fact that we'd never made biscuits from scratch before!
Creating this birthday surprise for Ethan was so much fun for Logan, it was so nice to see him so engaged in what he was doing and then feeling so proud seeing his creations come together at the end. It was also a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with Hobbycraft on such a fun project and to be able to explore their occasion and baking range. One thing that has always stuck out the most about Hobbycraft for me is just how good quality their products are yet how reasonably priced they are too. After the fun we had with doing this, we can't wait to get stuck into our next make or bake project!
Shop Hobbycraft's fantastic range of arts, crafts, making, baking and occasions at hobbycraft.co.uk.
Thank you for reading.
Alex xo *This post is in collaboration with Hobbycraft
I don't think there's anything better than a family day spent together. Sometimes we spend our days at home in our pyjamas playing board games, sometimes we spend it going for a walk somewhere pretty, other times we treat ourselves to a bit of a treat day out and will take a bit of an adventure somewhere new. This last weekend, we decided on a trip to London to show the boys some of the great attractions London has to offer.
The boys love an adventure and there's nothing quite like an adventure on the train. We're just 30 minutes from London so we're really lucky in that respect as it means that whilst we live away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, we can visit quite regularly when we want to.
For our weekend adventure we had teamed up with Keetoo, a mobile app that helps people get the most out of their time in London by offering simplicity as well as a handy way to save money on some of London's well known attractions.
If you don't already have Keetoo downloaded on your phone then it's well worth having if you plan on visiting London any time soon. Through the app you can purchase a Day Tripper credit for £35 for adults and £20 for children which will give you entry into any two London attractions listed on their app. With it you can also get free starters or desserts at selected restaurants.
So for example if you were to say visit the Tower of London and also decide to do a bus tour around London with The Original Tour company, the cost of adult tickets for those combined would be over £50, so you'd automatically save over £15, plus you'd be able to get a free starter or dessert at certain London restaurants too including The Rainforest Cafe where starters there are about £8/£9 each. The app as found out this weekend, is a really great money-saver, especially so when there's a few of you to pay for.
To test out the Keetoo app for ourselves we decided to visit Kensington Palace (somewhere I'd been meaning to visit for a while) and also do a bus tour around London with The Original Tour company (something we'd also never done before).
The first thing I noticed is that the Keetoo app has such a great amount of information on about each attraction which is very handy. It tells you things like the normal entry price, the opening hours, the closest tube station to the attraction (and directions to it), the typical visit length (which is very handy when planning out your day) and it also provides buttons you can tap on for the attraction's webiste and also their phone number so that you can call them if you need to.
Once you've purchased your credit, you simply tap on visit this attraction and then again to use the credit you need and then to activate it's as simple as pressing and holding one button. It's best to activate your credits when you are in the line at the ticket booth waiting to get in.
After you've done this, it's a very simple case of the member of staff scanning the barcode from your screen. It's so simple and smooth to use, it can literally all be done outside of the attraction from your phone - there's no need to carry around printed bits of paper for entry into different attractions anymore!
We got straight into Kensington Palace with ease and the boys were thrilled when they were given an Easter bunny trail to follow. They had so much fun going from room to room looking for the golden rabbits and they loved that once they'd ticked them all off they were given a chocolate bunny at the end as their prize for doing so well.
As a huge royal history fan I absolutely loved exploring Kensington Palace. It was really cool to be able to get to see one of Princess Diana's former dresses (below).
And of course, to see all of the beautiful designs to the building itself.
It was also very interesting to find out that the royals who live at Kensington palace now, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, live in what used to be the servants buildings. I learnt that they prefer to live in those buildings because they are so well tucked away so it's perfect for their privacy. Past Kings and Queens apparently didn't want their staff to be seen and so their living quarters were built to be completely tucked away from any view.
Another really interesting spot at Kensington Palace is of course the Sunken Gardens, which I learnt used to be one of Princess Diana's favourite spots at Kensington. The Sunken Gardens are also where Prince Harry and Meghan announced their engagement officially. The garden is absolutely beautiful and so colourful especially at this time of year!
Something not to miss at Kensington Palace especially so if you're visiting with children, is the Princess Diana memorial playground. Surrounded by sand there's a huge wooden pirate ship that children can climb up and play on. The boys had so much fun playing in there for about an hour or so. There's also toilets and nappy changing facilities, plus a cafe at the playground so if you wanted to, you could spend hours there watching your children play happily.
After a wonderful time at Kensington Palace we made our way to catch a London bus tour. We used the Keetoo app to find the directions and location of the bus tour that we wanted to take which started at Marble Arch and then again it was so simple just to convert our credits to tickets which the member of staff at the bus stop scanned in just a few moments for us.
With the bus tour tickets we were able to hop on and off and use our tickets continuously over a 24 hour period. The buses come really regularly (usually about every 10 minutes or so) and the tour guide was absolutely brilliant and so informative, plus he made us laugh at several points too. We'd never taken an open-topped London bus tour before, but it was SUCH a brilliant way to see the capital and to find out more about it. London usually blows my mind because it always seems so big, especially travelling around by tube, so it was lovely to be driven around and have places of interest pointed out to us. I feel like we learnt so much about London in what was a relatively short period of time. I didn't get as many photos on the bus tour as it was a bit tricky to, but I would highly recommend a bus tour for all of the family.
Our day in London on Saturday was absolutely brilliant, we all had such fun. The Keetoo app made gaining entry into the attractions stress-free and really simple. We didn't manage to make it to one of the restaurants to try out the free starter or dessert as we instead grabbed a bite to eat at Kensington Palace in the cafe, but we'd definitely make use of the great saving the app provides next time.
After the success of our trip to London using the app, I highly recommend downloading Keetoo. I was really impressed by how smooth the app is to use, how much information it has on there and also how much money you can save by using it, especially as a family or a group. I like that Keetoo is not complicated to use at all and I think it has a lovely range of attractions and restaurants on there currently. It'd be great to see more attractions added on in the future but I know that that is something that Keetoo are currently in talks with other attractions about.
Another thing I like about Keetoo is that it can flexible if your plans change - you don't need to book and commit to a date as such because you activate your tickets on the door (yet you still get that great saving!).
To find out more about the benefits of Keetoo and to download their app via the Google Play Store or via the App Store by visit keetoo.com.
Thank you for reading.
Alex xo *This post is in collaboration with Keetoo, however all thoughts and opinions shared are as always, entirely our own.
If you're a long-term reader of this blog then you might remember the time that Ethan had the opportunity to design and create his very own dream horse - turning his imaginative drawings into a cuddly soft toy. If you don't remember the post then you can find it here. We worked with Petplan Equine to create Ethan's dinosaur-themed horse and he was over the moon with it. And now that Logan is that bit older, they've very kindly given Logan the same opportunity - to design and create his very own unique dream horse.
When we sat down with Logan and asked him what design he'd like for his horse, he answered straight away with 'Rubble'. He's a huge fan of the Paw Patrol TV show and Rubble is his favourite pup and so he set about creating a Rubble themed horse with his Dad's help. They chose orange and yellow colours to match Rubble and even included a little badge just like the pups have on the show.
Once Logan decided that he was happy with his design, we sent a copy of it over to Petplan who set about bringing his dream horse soft toy to life for him. We couldn't wait to see the result!
When it arrived at our house Logan instantly recognised his design and was so excited to see how his dream horse had been brought to life in the form of his new soft toy. He couldn't wait to put it with his Rubble soft toy and cuddle and play with them both.
As a child, I think it must be so magical to see something that you've designed like that be made into a soft toy that you can hold, play with, take to bed and keep forever.
We had so much fun taking part in the dream horse campaign again - a huge thank you goes to Petplan for giving both of my boys the opportunity to create something special like this.
Since Petplan's inception in 1976, their priority has been to keep the nation's horses healthy and their owners happy. By offering the very best equine insurance policies and great customer service, they have helped owners get their beloved horses back on to health following illness or injury.
From the start, Petplan understood that horse owners have specific needs when it comes to finding the right insurance policy, and became one of only a few equine horse insurance providers to offer genuine ‘lifetime’ policies.
Petplan works with more animal rehoming charities than any other pet insurance provider and are committed to supporting charities and the vital work they do. They work with more than 1,200 charities throughout the UK and in 1994, they formed the Petplan Charitable Trust which has so far raised more than £7million towards a better, healthier world for animals.
Thank you for reading.
Alex xo *This post has been possible thanks to Petplan Equine, but all thoughts are my own.
Choosing the right bed for your child can be a chore, so we have put together a useful guide to help make the process easier.
There’s a huge choice of beds on the market you can choose from, whether you’ve got the future Harry Kane football fanatic, to the princess of the castle, the options are endless.
Could cabin beds be the way forward?
Cabin beds are a great option for you as they not only provide you with an area for your child to sleep but also somewhere to store their things away and sometimes even an area to play and study.
There are a number of different styles available from you to choose from and can be specially selected around your child’s wants and needs. There’s a great range of cabin beds at Bed Guru, with everything you could possibly want and need.
Keep things compact
More often than not, space is at a premium in kids rooms so it’s important you fully maximise your space. Cabin beds are a great way of doing this, but there are other options available.
There’s a multitude of different sizes out there. Whether you’re looking for a wide single because there just isn’t enough space for a double bed, or a small single because space really is an issue. Ensuring things are kept nice and compact means your kids will still have plenty of rooms for movement, and space to keep their things.
Picking the right size
This can be one of the hardest decisions to make, you want to make sure you choose something that is not so big they get lost in it, but give them enough room to grow.
Of course, you need to measure your bed frame first, it’s important you get this right as there are different variations of mattress sizes and bed frame sizes.
This often also comes down to their age. A smaller child will not need a large mattress, but an older child that has grown more will need a longer and possibly wider mattress. It’s all about making a decision based on your child’s needs.
Make the right choice
These are just some of the tips and tricks you can follow when it comes to buying your child a bed. Make sure you make the right decision the first time because buying a new bed is a long term commitment.
As you know we love to travel and plan to do a lot more in the future. So, we have been looking at places in Europe to try to find somewhere we can take Ethan and Logan now they are a bit older. One possibility is Belgium, so I have been doing a little research. Below are my tips for visiting Belgium and what you need to know.
Where to go
There is plenty of choice when it comes to places to go. Where you head to depends on the type of holiday you want to enjoy. Belgium may be a small country, but there is still plenty of variety available.
A city break
Bruges is an enchanting place. It has a nice canal, plenty of chocolate shops some of which offer classes and plenty of museums. Most kids will love taking a canal trip, climbing the Belfry Tower, having a go at making chocolate and taking a horse-drawn carriage trip.
Of course, Brussels is also an option. It is the capital city, so as you would expect has plenty for your kids to do and see. Train World, Dino-discover at the Natural Science Museum, Mini Europe and puppet shows at Toone are just a few examples. There is plenty to do and see there, but somehow Bruges still seems like a nicer option.
Time by the sea
Unfortunately, Belgium’s coastline fronts the North Sea. So, in the winter it is cold, very cold. But it is great during the summer. Places like Ostend have long wide promenades that go on for miles. All fronted with bars and restaurants and pedal car hire shops.
If your kids are into outdoor activities, Wallonia is the place to head. There you can enjoy kayaking, hiking, horse riding and much more besides.
Belgium theme park holidays
For such a small country, Belgium has a lot of theme parks. A lot of them are really good. By far the most popular one is Walibi. It is the biggest one in Belgium. There are 40 rides, a 4D cinema and a tropical water park called Aqualibi.
If you want to spend the whole weekend enjoying a kid’s amusement park, head to PlopsAqua De Panne. You need at least a couple of days to truly explore this place. The hotel is pretty decent, but it fills up fast.
Pre-book to avoid disappointment
Pretty much wherever you go in the world you will find crowds. Belgium is no exception. So, try to book things ahead of time. Doing so will avoid disappointment, save you time and, often, save you money as well.
Book a hotel near the airport
If your flight leaves early or you will have to travel through rush hour traffic to get there, consider booking everyone into a hotel the night before. Things will not be such a mad rush in the morning. Arriving at the airport stressed and tired is not going to be a great start to your holiday.