My Holiday Essentials For Children

AD - This post contains gifted products.

A few weeks ago we jetted off to southern Spain for 11 nights and I'll be honest, we didn't want to come home! Traveling abroad with young children isn't as daunting as it sounds, it's all about being prepared for the journey and for your stay. A simple way to do this is to start your travels off in a relaxed and organised manner. Easier said than done right? Well, if I can do it then you can too! I like to prepare them a flight bag each, full of goodies to keep them entertained and make sure to pack essentials (nappies, suncream, etc) in our suitcases. This blog post has been put together with gifted products, all which we took abroad with us and used every day.

1. Trunki Toddlepak Rucksack & Drink Bottle - £19.99 & £7.99
The first items on my list are the rucksacks and drink bottles from Trunki. Both the bags and bottles come in an array of different colours and designs, all of which are funky, bright, and cheerful. I let the kids choose which ones they'd like. Noah chose the orange tiger design and the blue bottle, whereas Ava opted for the green dinosaur backpack and the pink bottle. Both items have the design and aesthetic quality that I expect from Trunki so they are certainly worth the cost. I'll be dedicating a full review of them in the next week so do keep an eye on the blog if you'd like to read more about these products.

2. Slipfree Shoes - from £14.95
I was gifted these in exchange for a social media post but I love them so much that I had to include them in this post. Slipfree shoes are designed to be worn around the pool, in the pool, at the beach, on holiday, at home, everywhere! They come in lots of different designs and after much deliberation chose the flamingo design for Ava and the shark print for Noah. They quickly became an essential for us on our holiday, and I noticed that the kids would prefer to wear them over their sandals. They took a matter of seconds to get on their feet, gave them extra confidence in and around the pool and dried within minutes too. I cannot recommend them enough and will be buying them new ones once they have grown out of these.

3. Cuddledry Sun Protection Poncho Towel - £27.99
Cuddledry is a brand that I've adored for years so I was delighted when I was offered their sun protection poncho towel to try out on our holiday. With Cuddledry's signature blend of bamboo and cotton, it's just as soft and lovely as their regular towels, however, it offers something extra. It provides SPF50+ protection, which makes it ideal for taking on holiday, both in this country or abroad. Ava liked to wear it after being in the pool or the sea. I'd simply pull it on over her head, make sure the hood was up, fasten the underarm poppers and she was good to go. Take a look at the images on my Instagram page if you would like to see the sun protection towel in all it's glory.

4. Organix Goodies Snacks - from £2.00
I've worked with Organix for years and their snacks often end up in my trolley when out shopping, courtesy of the kids. I don't mind though. Their products are organic and contain zero junk, they are a no guilt treat for them to indulge in. Organix kindly sent Noah and Ava some snacks for them to enjoy on the plane and whilst on holiday. They received a couple of their all-time favourites; two boxes of Organix Goodies Gingerbread Men and four packs of Organix Goodies Soft Oaty Bars. I made sure to pack a couple in their flight bags and the rest went into our cases because I always find it comforting to take familiar from home just in case they refuse to eat much else.

5. Orchard Toys Games & Sticker Colouring Books - from £3.00
Okay, so this post has turned into a favourite brands type post too. First Trunki, then Cuddledry, Organix and now Orchard Toys! We have amassed quite the collection of Orchard Toys games and puzzles over the years. They are something we like to do together as a family and can often be found in Noah's room playing with them. Orchard Toys sent us a couple of their products for our trip, the first being two games; Match and Spell, and Let's Go Lotto. I packed both in our cases and we enjoyed playing both poolside or on our terrace. Match and Spell was a great game to play to keep Noah's brain engaged whilst off school and Let's Go Lotto provided lots of fun for all the family. The Sticker Colouring books were just the right size to pack in their flight bags. We were 40,000 feet in the air, colouring, writing and sticking and the kids didn't make a peep! In fact, the couple in front of us made a point to tell us that they didn't even realise children were sat behind them.

Which of these products do you like the sound of the most?

Our Holiday At TUI Family Life Islantilla

- This is not an AD. We paid for the holiday ourselves.

You may, or may not have noticed that I've been AWOL the past couple of weeks, hence the three Sunday Photo's in a row. The reason for that is that we've been on holiday and just got back this weekend. We spent 11 glorious nights in southern Spain and the weather has totally spoilt us, coming back to the dreary British weather has been torturous! I'm hoping that we get a real summer this year because I'm missing the sun so much already.

We stayed at a four-star hotel in Islantilla called TUI Family Life Islantilla. We paid for it all ourselves, so this isn't an ad by the way. It's a beautiful hotel, situated in a quiet, non-tourist area in Spain. It's so far south that TUI actually fly guests to Portugal/Faro airport rather than Spain/Malaga as it's nearer. It was a 2 and a half hour flight, then a 1-hour transfer to the hotel. All in all, with transfers to and from, and airport time we were traveling for a good 9 hours which is long enough with two little ones.

As mentioned previously the hotel was stunning, full of palm trees, bright flowers, and greenery. The grounds are maintained to a high standard and it really pays off. It has numerous pools, all with a different feel. We found a nice spot near a quieter pool that we favoured and tended to visit every day. Noah and Ava loved dipping into the shallow pool, then cuddling up on the sunbeds together to warm up, usually with an ice cream in hand. Sometimes Nick would take them back to the room for a break from the sun, or to the play park, or games room and I would have some time to myself. It was total bliss to lay beside the pool, with a book and Pina Colada in hand! It made me remember what holidays were like before children.

The hotel is right on the beach too which makes a nice change from being around the pool. The sand contains lots of shells so thankfully I packed suitable footwear so we didn't hurt our feet. The kids liked collecting the shells and making sand castles and I swam in the ocean a couple of times.

The entertainment team, TUI kids club staff, and reps were amazing during our stay and are a credit to the hotel. They were upbeat, friendly, approachable, yet professional. Noah has always suffered from separation anxiety yet he felt comfortable enough with them to attend their Kids Club on a few occasions and even made a friend or two. The hotels Captain T and Bamse mascots were very popular with all the children at the hotel and it was lovely to be able to buy teddies of them to take home with us, real souvenirs to remember the holiday by.

We've only been home for a couple of days and we are already longing for another holiday! I've been thinking of trying to book a last-minute deal during the summer holidays, perhaps find a bargain? Has anyone had any luck doing this before? I'd love to hear about it!

My Sunday Photo - 24/52

Resurfacing Your Skin For A Better You

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

Life comes with many choices, but there is one choice we were never given, and that's the choice of the skin we're in. Tough or sensitive, dark or light complexion, dry or oily, no two skin conditions are exactly alike, and depending on who you are, that could be good, or bad. Sheltering in place has got us all facing ourselves, and the way we look on camera, and now we're looking to address those blemishes and skin flaws.

Looking to change the way your skin looks? Then, you've come to the right place. There are several skin resurfacing techniques available that can put you on the right track to better-looking skin, even if you're on a tight budget. Of course, some procedures are a little more invasive than others and may put a major dent in your budget. Others you can simply buy skincare products online, or from over the counter, and do-it-yourself right in your own bathroom at home. Let's review some skin resurfacing techniques that will be sure to make you look and feel more confident on cam.

Start with Topical Creams
There are all sorts of manufactured creams designed to focus on potential skin afflictions. Hydrocortisone is designed to help hydrate severely dry skin, resulting from rashes, hives, eczema or other reactions. Hydrocortisone cream comes in forms of 1 or 2% gradience at local pharmacies but will require a doctor's prescription as it is a steroid that has to be regulated. There are also bleaching creams, for those who need to even their skin tone, which can be purchased from almost any location that sells beauty products. Moisturizing, night and anti-aging creams are all very good skincare solutions, to minor skin problems that may develop over time.

Consider Going Deeper into Your Pores
If your skin problems go a little deeper--into your pores that is, then you will need a solution designed to go in after them. This is a process where you blanket the skin area with a skin peel solution, allowing it to remain on the skin for a limited duration of time, in order for it to work its magic. There are several types of skin peels with various ingredients that will focus on specific skin types and problem areas, like citrus, wax, and avocado, to name a few. Most peels are loaded with a combination of vitamins, to address deficiencies and chemicals, to kill infection or impurities attacking the skin, all designed to deep-clean the pores. Basically, flushing out the bad stuff, and replacing it with good.

The newest technique is called the "jet peel," which is the same concept, but using a spray tool to give off the "power washing effect." The pressurized air can literally peel off several layers of dead skin, instantly revealing newer softer skin in one session.

Thinking Longer Term
For the more long-term solution to a skin problem outside of surgery, is most definitely a laser. Have you changed your mind about that face tattoo? Or, did you somehow grow an unsightly mole that appeared virtually overnight? This may be the most expensive and most invasive of all techniques, but a final solution is just that with lasering. This process using heat and light to decimate layers of skin cells, down to its purest, over a few sessions.

And there it is, skin resurfacing techniques to help you get your glow. I see endless close-ups and selfies in your future! Enjoy!

The Importance of Pastoral Care in Schools

 AD - This is a PR collaboration.

Pastoral care is the act of looking after your emotional and mental well-being, so it is not hard to see why having pastoral care at school is so important to your children. That is why I’ve collaborated with a Prep School in Surrey to highlight the importance of pastoral care being a part of your child’s education and development.  

Why is it important? 

Pastoral care teaches your children to be aware about how they’re feeling both physically and mentally. It encourages them to be more open with their emotions, as well as teaches them a greater sense of empathy when it comes to understanding how their actions can make other people feel. It is fundamental in teaching your children important life and social skills that will make them a better-adjusted adult. 

How to Recognise Good Pastoral Care in School 

Seeing how dedicated a school is to pastoral care should be something that is easy to spot. Many schools will offer subjects like PSHE that specifically focuses on the subject of teaching life skill.s It will also be apparent in the relationship between students and staff. School’s with a strong sense of community often are demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment that makes pupils feel safe and supported.

If you want to find out more about your school’s commitment to pastoral care, ask the staff questions. They should be more than happy to put your mind at ease by demonstrating their commitment to the pupils well being in every sense of the word.

The real evidence of good pastoral comes from the kind of young adult your child grows up into being. Good pastoral care will make them someone who is responsible and knows how to look after themselves and others, with a keen sense of how to be an active member of any community.