Planning A Post-Pandemic Family Holiday Abroad

 
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In need of a holiday abroad when this pandemic is over? Below are a few tips for planning a post-pandemic family getaway.

When should you book your trip for?
Flights out of the country are currently banned and there is no news yet as to when this will change. Lockdown will likely last until March at the very least - but even after this flights may be restricted. Many airlines have suspended booking of all flights until March at the earliest.

If the vaccines keep rolling out at the current rate and the virus is controlled, a summer holiday may be possible. However, there are likely to still be many restrictions in place in terms of activities and attractions - so you may want to look beyond September or even consider a 2022 holiday just to be safe.

Where should you go?
If you’re planning to book a holiday in the sun this autumn or winter, you may want to stick to southern Europe. You could travel to Greece - even in October, temperatures are still an average of 19 degrees celsius. The Balearic islands of Spain and southern Italy reach similar temperatures. Meanwhile, The Canary Islands experience temperatures above 20 degrees celsius even in December and January. 

You could also consider sunny destinations beyond Europe if you’re able to afford the flights. The Carribean and South East Asia are warm all year round - however, you should be careful of storms and monsoons towards the end of the year. If you’re not worried about the sun, then there are plenty of other options to consider. You could consider a family ski holiday for next winter, a winter family cruise, or even a trip to Disneyland Paris.

Why start booking now? Right now may seem early to start booking a holiday - especially for a holiday in 2022, however, there could be perks to setting dates now. Below are just a few reasons to consider booking a holiday now.

Take advantage of discounts
Because of lockdown and the decreased demand, many travel companies are now offering discounts on holidays to attract more customers. By booking now, you may find that you’re able to bag a better deal than booking at a later date. 

Pay in instalments
Booking far in advance could allow you the option to pay in installments. This could be more affordable than having to pay the full amount up front. When booking a holiday for 2022, there could be the option to pay in smaller installments. 

Beat the last-minute rush
Once lockdown is lifted and attractions have started opening up again, there is likely to be a rush of people booking up holidays. This could result in hotels and flights booking up quickly. By booking early you can secure a room at the hotel you want and flights at the time you desire. 

Something to look forward to

Booking a holiday now could give you something to look forward to. Next time you’re feeling down because of lockdown, consider the fact that you could be jetting off at the end of the year - or at the very latest in 2022.

What are the risks of booking now? Some people are rightly apprehensive about a booking holiday now. Because there’s no certainty as to when the pandemic will be over, people are worried that they may lose their money if the holiday doesn’t go ahead. A few risks include:

  • The possibility of flights being cancelled/hotels being closed/attractions being closed due to continued new restrictions.

  • The possibility of an airline/hotel/travel company going bust due to lost revenue from the pandemic. 

  • The possibility of getting the virus just before planning to fly out.

  • The possibility of not receiving a vaccine in time (it is unknown yet as to whether certain airlines or countries will allow tourists to go unless they’ve had a vaccine). 

  • The possibility of getting the virus abroad and not being able to fly back or pay for treatment.

By booking a holiday for 2022, you may be able to reduce the risk of this happening. If you’re booking a holiday for this year (particularly this summer) then you need to be prepared to face the risks. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of losing all your money - even if the holiday has to be cancelled. Some of the questions to ask as you book include:

What’s the cancellation/refund policy?
Some hotels and airlines may not be able to offer a refund and may even charge a cancellation fee. This is something to be wary of when booking a holiday. Check if a hotel or airline has a cancellation or refund policy before you book - if it’s not clearly displayed on the website, you should contact the company for this information.

Holiday packages are often a safe bet. All holiday packages are ATOL protected (if the airline or travel company goes bust, you will get your money back). Many are also offering flexible booking options right now, which is the next best thing to free cancellation or a refund - this allows you to reschedule your holiday for a later date within a certain time frame. 

Be wary that you may lose any deposit that you put down. If you’re planning to go away this summer, it may be better to try and pay the whole amount upfront. 

Should I insure my holiday?
Taking out travel insurance is recommended if you plan to book a holiday this year. You’ll be covered against any flight cancellations - which could be important if the airline does not offer free cancellation or a refund. Some travel insurance plans will also cover you if you need medical care for Covid-19 or if you need to rearrange your flight due to contracting the virus.

On top of travel insurance, you could also consider paying for some holiday by credit card. Most credit card providers are able to offer compensation for purchases that are cancelled - including holidays. In many cases, they can even pay you back money for a deposit that may have been lost. Check with your credit card provider beforehand to see what they cover. 

Is My Child Ready for Nursery?

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Whether you’ve got one child or more, this question is one that pains many parents. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a parent, the desire to do your absolute best for your child will always be present and as a result, many parents are beset by doubts around this subject.

Children are so different in themselves, that you can’t judge a child until the time comes – the most outgoing and relaxed baby isn’t necessarily going to find nursery a breeze. Similarly, babies who are clingy or grumpy might thrive immediately in a nursery environment. The best indicators for whether your child is ready for nursery are as follows – just ask yourself these questions.

· Is my child potty-trained? Or even on the way to potty trained? If your child can reliably indicate before she or he needs to visit the toilet, then that’s a very good sign that they are nursery ready. It means they’ve matured enough both physically and cognitively to be able to communicate their needs and to understand their own bodies a little. If your child is late to learn, try not to worry. Speak to your nursery and ask for their advice.

· Can my child confidently approach others? Or are they very shy? Don’t worry too much if they are very shy – many children lose this tendency as they grow. It’s one of the reasons we send them to nursery.

· Does my child enjoy playing with other children? Not all children do! Especially the smallest. Some children take a little longer to learn the complexities of social interaction. Turn-taking and keeping control of their temper are the very basics and a nursery can help a child to get to grips with socialisation.

· Does my child speak well? Verbal skills are another which can vary hugely from child to child. Some children of three can speak clearly and in long sentences. Others might still be very limited. If you are worried about your child’s speaking skills, talk to your Health Visitor or GP before you enroll them. But it’s another area which can be greatly improved by attending nursery.

All children are different but one thing most of them have in common is a deep love of order. They may seem chaotic but children thrive on routine. They like knowing what comes next. Nursery provides that order and routine and children quickly learn how to manage in a shared space and to enjoy the systems in place. As this Montessori nursery in Twickenham teaches, children are resilient and thrive with shared responsibilities as well as shared learning opportunities.

Eating with other children, regular story and song times are all hugely enjoyable activities and when your child gets used to the new routine, you’ll find that they look forward to attending.

Living Arrows - December 2020




It's the most wonderful time of the year - even if we are in lockdown. What a year. Back in March, April, and May we couldn't have imagined that we would still be in this position but here we are. We had a lovely, Covid-secure day out at the start of the month which I think I'll upload as a separate post. We also had a great Christmas - despite all the restrictions and not being able to see certain family members. Noah and Ava got everything they asked for and more. I really felt like we had to compensate for the terrible year we've had. Did you have a nice Christmas?



 

Living Arrows

Christmas Gift Ideas For Children

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We are venturing into December, which means there are less than 4 weeks till Christmas - can you believe it? Keeping with my yearly traditions I've put together a couple of Christmas gift guides. This is the second gift guide of the year - lots of suggestions for the children in your life. All items featured are PR samples, however, they are all products I recommend and will be gifting this year.


I'm kicking the gift guide off with a bang with a product from one of my favourite companies; Learning Resources. The GeoSafari Talking Globe is a show stopper and perfect for learning from home, or for children with a vast interest in the world. The bright colours and functional nature of GeoSafari Jr products encourage children to get outside and explore the world around them. This interactive globe will spark their curiosity as they learn about continents, countries, animals, and nature. The talking globe features the voice of wildlife conservationist, Bindi Irwin. It offers three modes of learning; explore, measure, and quiz. Children simply select their mode of play and touch the Talking Pen to any location on the globe to start learning. This product costs £99.00 and more details can be found on the Learning Resources website.


The Indoor Booma has a flight range of 4-6 metres which allows you to throw and catch indoors whether it be at home, an office, bedroom, park, or gym. It's made from special Memorang foam which means it's completely safe for Booma wars. This retails at around £5.00 and would make a fantastic stocking filler.

Next, we have the UKick is tipped to be the biggest playground craze of the year!. It combines elements of badminton and football and the aim of the game is to keep it off the ground for as long as you can. Use your hands or feet, play alone or with friends. This active, interactive game is set to take the global toy market by storm! UKick is just £8.00 - another idea which won't break the bank.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL – is a biggie, a super-sized sensation. It has an impressive 2.51 metre circumference, it's insanely big! Mega Bounce boasts Wicked bouncability on almost any terrain – even grass and sand! Despite being larger than life, Mega Bounce XL is still incredibly easy to throw and catch thanks to its super grip graphics. This extremely durable MEGA ball is perfect for the beach, park, or playground and comes with a handy foot pump. This will set you back £20.00 and after playing with the kids with it during lockdown I can safely say it's worth every penny!


Frugi is a household name - one beloved nationwide and it's no surprise to why. Their products at bright, happy, funny, with so much variety of organic cotton clothes that will keep children covered from birth and beyond. They also have clothes for maternity, breastfeeding, and cloth nappies too! We were sent two gorgeous Frugi outfits for the kids - keep a look on the blog and Instagram for a full look at those in all their glory. The Lily Cord dress and Rex jumper are my favourite pieces.


Build your own Battlezone with Nerf Bunkr Challenger Pack - It's Nerf or Nothin'! Children can build their own battlezones with these inflatable obstacles - providing great cover, protection, and tons of fun! They can be used indoors and outside and thankfully, folds for storage. You can grab it now at Argos for £20.00.


Kids will love exploring the fantastic world around us day and night with the Build Your Own Telescope - RRP: £19.99. It's a unique, educational, and eco-friendly gift made from sustainable cardboard with minimal plastics. It's a fully functioning telescope including a focus tube that extends up to 72cm. For impressive results, the telescope comes with a specialist glass optic lens which provides 16 x magnification so kids can enjoy incredible sights in detail. Discovering the magical constellations is a fabulous way to expand the world around you and share a passion for science, astronomy, and the world. Visit the website for more eco-friendly gift suggestions.

See the world in close-up with the 450x Illuminated Microscope from Brainstorm Toys. It has a 100x, 300x, and 450x magnification and over 40 pieces. The booklet included explains how to prepare your own slides, perfect for any budding scientist - just like a real lab! Brainstorm Toys is a range of fun, educational, and interactive STEM toys that brings together a host of fascinating items. STEM toys incorporate science, technology, engineering and maths and encourage children to explore and develop a passion for these subjects. The aim of Brainstorm Toys branded products is to entertain children but also to inspire them to learn more about their environment.



Drumond Park’s Fill Your Pants is bound to be a big hit this Christmas. It brings the whole family together in a unique take on the classic scavenger hunt - guaranteed to bring fun and laughter to any game night. Run around the house as players collect random objects to stuff in the giant pants. With fifty different possible categories, including “something spotty”, “something shiny” and “something squishy”, each game offers a new and hysterical combination. This game costs £16.99 and I'm looking forward to playing it with the kids this Christmas.


This season, treat new mums, or your own baby to a new festive TotsBots reusable nappy. Once you pop, you just can't stop with cloth nappies - switching to cloth back when my son was a baby was such a joy.  Made in the UK, TotsBots reusable nappies are kind to our planet and kind to delicate baby skin. Prices start at £12.99. Shop the range at totsbots.com.


Ricky Zoom Ricky's House Playset retails at £39.99 - I can see it being very popular with children between the ages of 3-6. Brought to you by TOMY you can bring Wheelford into your own home with this epic playset. Kids can zoom around the ramps, use the lift, keep a lookout at the top of the tower, and so much more. They can even store away their bikes and accessories for their next mission. With all this and more to discover, the opportunities for fun are endless.


Do you have a sweet tooth in the family? HARIBO’s favourite treats all in one box with their Sweet Medley box -great for sharing amongst friends and family this Christmas. It includes a handy tray to offer out a delicious mix of sweets including Starmix, Tangfastics, Supermix, Giant Strawbs, Jelly Babies Double Trouble, and Jelly Beans. It’s a super surprise for your loved ones to unwrap come Christmas morning. Costing just £4.00 it's available in most supermarkets.

Dobble continues to be ever so popular and this Gruffalo version looks very exciting. The Gruffalo meets the smash-hit game of speedy observation. The aim of the game is to spot the single matching magical image between two cards in a playful battle of speedy observation. Grab it now for just £13.00 at Waterstones, Argos, and more.



Get into the festive spirit with Orchard Toys with this fun bumper Christmas pack. Perfect as an Advent or Christmas Eve gift. It features a Christmas stocking style Shopping List game and 20-piece jigsaw puzzle with lots to spot and talk about. I've set this aside for the kids' Christmas Eve boxes - I know they will love it. The Orchard Toys Christmas Eve Box is available on the website for £12.95 - while stock lasts.

Drone Home is the first-ever game to feature a real drone  - it's quite the revelation! Kids will enjoy this fast-paced action game where there is a race to save your aliens and get them to safety. Players are also able to sabotage your mission with their own aliens. It's a lot of fun but do stock up on batteries! It's suitable for children from 6 years of age due to the small parts. RRP: £19.99 and more information can be found on the Interplay website.



The Best of Food game from Drummond Park is ideal for food-loving families - so pretty much every family! Am I right? Families are split into teams and are each given logo style questions on everything from fast-food and eating out, to forks and interesting ingredients. Who will come out on top in this easy to play family favourite? Just one small piece of advice, be sure to eat your Christmas dinner first or your food cravings will go through the roof! This game retails at £24.99 and I can imagine it being enjoyed by many.

5 Second Rule Spintensity retails at £19.99 and is suitable for children from 12 years of age. This best-selling game now comes with an electronic light-up spinner which makes naming 3 things in 5 seconds even more fun and frantic! You can read more about it on the Interplay website.


Fruit Bowl’s products are a staple in our snack drawer - made from real fruit pieces, making them perfect for parents to add to an advent calendar and into Christmas stockings too. Available in all major supermarkets, the range includes School Bars, Peelers, Fruit Flakes, Unicorn Fruit Flakes, their new Dino Yogurt Eggs, Yogurt Flakes, and Yogurt Raisins. Give children a fun choice of Fruit Bowl snacks and feel reassured that many of the range contribute to a child’s 5 a day – making it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their kids.


Bloom & Blossom is a new discovery of mine and I'm already a huge fan of their products - items which would make fabulous stocking fillers this Christmas. How about a massage with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Moisturiser? It's guaranteed to make your child feel relaxed before getting into bed. It contains a soothing blend of shea butter and sweet almond oil, rub on your child’s skin after a warm bath to ensure they drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep.  The moisturiser is made from natural ingredients and is also suitable for sensitive and eczema-prone skin. A 200ml bottle costs £5.00.

The Matilda’s Pillow Spray is my favourite of the three - it retails at £10.00 for a 75ml spray bottle. Inspired by a character in classic children’s stories, this spray is used as part of the bath, book and bed routine. They help children to own the bedtime experience and are often described as the ‘monster spray’ by parents, helping little ones to banish feelings of uncertainty and instead fall asleep soundly.

It’s well known that a soothing bath before bed can help calm children as well as wash away the day - and a bath with Matilda’s Bubble Bath is as phenomenal as Matilda herself -  a new product to add to your child's bedtime routine. Made from natural ingredients, it’s sure to leave your child clean and smelling like sweet orange and beautiful lavender. It costs just £4.00 for a 200ml bottle.


Books are always on our wishlists and gift guides - they are a must-have. My children are always delighted with a new read or two. The first four titles; The Incredible Hotel, 12 Days of Christmas, Everybody Counts, and Ways To Say I Love You are from Quarto Kids - all are wrapped for my children for Christmas day. Prices start at £6.99.

This Christmas, children and adults alike will adore exploring the incredibly diverse and mesmerising wilderness beneath the waves, with Puffin’s beautifully illustrated new hardback book, Blue Planet II. Open up to discover stories of shimmering coral reefs in a kaleidoscope of colours, otters chasing one another through underwater forests and King penguins tip-toeing past snoozing Southern elephant seals. With a foreword from Sir David Attenborough, Blue Planet II is full of the incredible stories we first watched in the landmark BBC Blue Planet II TV series, reimagined and brought to life with stunning illustrations, alongside exciting facts and surprises. This book retails at £14.99 and more information can be found on Puffin Books website.


Last, but certainly not least we have this lovely Patchwork Printed Duvet Set from Bloomsbury Mill. In a palette of pinks and lilacs, the patchwork printed bed set is an easy way to add a splash of gentle colour to any room. The contrasting squares feature gingham, polka dots, love hearts, butterflies, and stripes creating a vibrant and vintage-inspired patchwork effect. it’s crafted from a supersoft cotton-blend, a practical easy care fabric, which means this set is quick to dry, durable, and needs minimal ironing. It costs £14.99 and is available to buy now.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Grown-Ups

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We are venturing into December, which means there are less than 4 weeks till Christmas - can you believe it? Keeping with my yearly traditions I've put together a couple of Christmas gift guides. Hopefully, they'll inspire and give you a couple of ideas - especially if you are still scrambling for inspo. All items featured are PR samples, however, they are all products I recommend and will be gifting this year.


Kicking off this year's gift guide are lots of suggestions for those who like a nibble and a drink during the festive period. First on the list is a brand we opt for most years, Lindt. I received their Lindt Advent Calender, Lindt Lindor Selection box, and a Lindt Chocolate Teddy Bear - a present for me, my partner, and the kids. I don't need to tell you how delicious Lindt is but I will link to their website and across Lindt stores in the UK.


The Little Gin Company have pulled out all the stops when it comes to their Christmas gift selections - for gin lovers, like myself, of course. I was sent their home tasting kit which retails at £25.00 with free delivery! Included in the kit are x4 5cl bottles of Trailer Made gin and x4 Folkington's artisan mixers. I'd like to say that I've saved this for Christmas, however, that would be a lie! Big thumbs up from me - I'll be ordering in the future.


Would Christmas be the same without Opies? They've brought out a couple of new products just in time for Christmas and kindly sent them along with their classic cocktail cherries and pickled walnuts. New to the menu are the red berries with pink gin, apricots steeped in syrup infused with Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey, and figs with dark rum. Prices are all under £10 and they can be purchased online and in-store at most supermarkets.


ZeroWater is the only water filter brand that delivers the equivalent to purified bottled water into your home. Developed a pour-through system, with an aim to deliver the best filtration possible with their premium five-stage ion exchange technology, this filter removes virtually all total dissolved solids, a claim which no other filter can say. The 12 cup jug retails at £39.99 - more can be read on their website.



I've featured Mermaid Gin a couple of times, here on the blog, and on social media, however, he is something new! Mermaid Salt Vodka retails at around the £35.00 mark - depending on where you shop. It's described as a vodka from the Isle of Wight made with a small amount of rock sea salt to evoke the fresh sea air and the saltiness on your lips after a day at the coast, or indeed sailing on the surrounding waters! It's great with mixers, or just on the rocks!


For the sporty so and so's in our lives how about some sports equipment? Lockdown has made me want to pick up some of my favorite sporting activities and I'm guessing it's probably the same for others too. Badminton was one of my favourite sports back in school and a sport I want to get into again. These Babolat Badminton Rackets would make a fantastic and thoughtful gift, with prices starting at just £20.00.


Speaking of sports and the urge to move more there's a multitude of products such as skateboards, longboards, scooters, roller skates, clothes, accessories, and much more at Skates.co.uk. I know that Noah is interested in skateboarding so perhaps I'll buy matching boards for him and his Dad. I could just see it now, a fun activity for them to learn together - they'd certainly look the part.


My Christmas is complete if I find some smellies under the Christmas tree and two of my newest favourite scents are Polly by Ted Baker and Daisy by Marc Jacobs. I can see why they are so popular, such timeless and chic scents - both brands can be found online, at Fragrance Direct and Perfume Direct with prices starting from £20.00.


Lockdown has changed me in many ways - I'm now a jigsaw lover, hurray! Gibsons’ Limited Edition Christmas Puzzle is back again and ‘This Way to Santa’ is the 18th puzzle in the popular series. Painted by the talented artist Tony Ryan, ‘This Way to Santa’ depicts the boys and girls who are getting in the Christmas spirit as they wait in the snow to visit Santa in his Christmas Grotto. With a present-laden sleigh and his trusty elf by his side, Santa has a treat for everyone on the ‘nice’ list! This 1000 piece puzzle is packaged in a shiny, eco-foiled gold box, and inside is a special, serial-numbered certificate to make it the ultimate collector’s item. It retails at £17.00 and available to order from their website. I can't wait to sit down on Christmas Eve with this puzzle.


Moving swiftly onto gifts for pets, or for pet lovers! HexBug doesn't just make toys for children, they make them for animals too! The HexBug Remote Control mouse retails at £14.99 and I can't wait to play with the cat, and dogs with it! The Happy Birthday and Welcome to the Family tins are by Fred Aldous Ltd. - with prices starting at £8.75.


Time for some stocking fillers brought to you by Zippo, Poo-Pourri, and Below the Belt Grooming. All products are very practical and would be received well by many members of my family. When a trusty pair of gloves will no longer cut it, you can call on Zippo to save the day. The Zippo Hand Warmer. Available in two compact sizes that fit perfectly into your coat pocket and a range of classic colours, providing gentle, odourless heat for up-to 12 hours. The Zippo handwarmer retails at £21.95. The Poo-Pourri and Fresh and Dry Balls wash - need I say anymore? Visit their websites for more wonderful stocking filler ideas.



Here we have more fantastic stocking filler suggestions from Bamigo and The Natural Barber CoBamigo’s premium collection of bamboo socks, t-shirts, pants, and pyjamas are available in a variety of colours and styles, making them ideal for the different men in your life. A sustainable and durable alternative to cotton, bamboo allows the skin to breathe, ensuring a fresh feel throughout the day, whilst looking effortlessly stylish. We received the James Socks 4 pack which retail at £24.99. The Natural Barber Co offers the perfect Christmas gifts for any man in your life. Not only are The Natural Barber Co products great for your hair, using natural ingredients which are free from petrolatum/ mineral oils, parabens, phtalates, synthetic fragrance, and other nasty chemicals but they are also great for the environment. The Hades Matte Paste is a lightweight thickening paste, ideal for fine and medium hair ensuring a light hold without weighing down hair. The Zeus Pomade creates the classic slick back with a glossy, natural finish. Both products are available on the website for £16.95 each.


How about some pure indulgence with Slow Ageing Skin products? This pair of products are glorious - the perfect relaxation combination. Even better when paired with the dreamy Slow Ageing Skin. This multisensorial elixir of intensely relaxing & soothing oils gently coax mind & body into harmonious balance. The set of both products are available from the website for £95.00.


Luxury body care is what it's all about and what we really need after this year. The Acqua Di Miele Toner, Silvian Skincare Radiance Balm, and N. 04 Dakar Skin Softening Body Cleanser would all make the most gorgeous stocking fillers - for both men and women alike. Two of these products are included in gift sets - more details can be found on their respective websites.


Last, but certainly not least we have energydots! energydots are low-powered magnets that have been programmed with natural frequencies to protect people (and pets) from the potentially harmful effects of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) emitted from the wireless devices that we enjoy every day – from mobile phones to Wi-Fi routers. The clever (and stylish) discs can be attached to devices, worn or displayed in the home – working to bring positive energy and harmony to all around them. There are six DOTS in the range and each has a different recipe of frequencies for its specific use. Prices start at £25.00 and more details can be found on the website.

Which product do you like the sound of the most?

Living Arrows - November 2020

 



Here are our snaps for November - on a social distanced walk on the golf course and the woods. There's not much else we can do at the moment with being in tier 3 and the majority of the county closed. I feel like it's starting to get to us all now - we are all under one another's feet and chirping in each other ears. I know many other families feel the same way and we must muddle on and appreciate the small things for the time being.

In other news - Noah turned 7 on the 12th! Things were very different for him this year with COVID. We had a little family birthday party for just the four of us and luckily for Noah his class was sent home and told to self-isolate - he didn't have to go to school on his birthday! He loved that!



Living Arrows