Cold dark evenings, post – Christmas comedown and being broke until pay day, which couldn’t come sooner! All this can mean only one thing… It’s definitely January. Blue Monday has just passed, but January is still in full force and … Continue reading
Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash Halloween is almost upon us and as ever I had thought that by the end of October our house would be finished and ready for a lovely relaxing festive season. This of course has not happened, but … Continue reading
The sun is shining and the UK cannot get enough of it! The time for holidaying is upon us and I am super excited to take some time out from working life and really relax. Oh, and spend some time with my other half – of course! We are currently having debating whether to go abroad or not. Mike is wanting to escape to the sun however, why run to the sun when you have it right here? There seems to be so much negativity in the news now with regards to travelling and strength of the pound, that I have been searching a little closer to home for the perfect staycation. But first, I need to work on my persuasiveness, so here is a quick summary of staycations are better than vacations!
- Smaller travel costs – No catching planes or taxis to hotels when we can simply drive there!
- Easy planning – We know the language and currency
- Inexpensive – We can easily find the best deals and take things like food from home
Beach Break: Cornwall
It seems to be that in Cornwall, everything is in walking distance! Falmouth is a tourist hotspot, with cute cafes, pubs and independent shops. I also found that you can catch a boat from Falmouth to St.Mawes, where you can visit St Mawes Castle and take part in water sports if you fancy it. They have lovely sandy beaches, which there is a lack of here in Brighton, and lots of caves to explore!
City Break: London
Brighton to London isn’t very far, the only thing we have to worry about here is if there is a strike on. London has tons of attractions, from visiting the queen in Buckingham palace to visiting Harry Styles at Madame Tussauds! There are so many places to stay however, with it being the capital and everything – prices will vary. To solve this, you could stay slightly out of London to cut costs, then travel into the city easily with the tube. However, if you are looking for a relaxing holiday, it may not be ideal, as during the summer there are lots of tourists making it busy and crowded.
Relaxing Break: Cotswolds
No not the shop, but the 800 square mile area of rolling hills which has loads of lively market towns and historic landmarks buried within them! I can picture a long day of exploring, then retreating to one of the traditional Cotswolds cottages in one of the historic villages! It is such a good excuse to get my bike out the shed as this place has so many walking and cycling routes that I would love to explore with my other half.
Active Break: Lake District
Did you know there are six National Nature Reserves in these 885 miles of land? What I love about this place, is that there are so many types of accommodation, from glamping to hotels! As with the Cotswolds, there are loads of walking routes for all levels. I especially like the look of Helvellyn, a mountain famous for its twin ridges. However, it seems a little steep but I bet it will be worth it for views! For a more organized adventure activity, you partake in a treetop trek and tree top nets – imagine flying and climbing through the trees. You would have to have some guts to do that!
Spa Break: Snowdonia
I know what you’re thinking – that there are spas closer to home. However, when you go on holiday you want to feel like you’re away! Snowdonia has a range of spa hotels and with breathtaking views – it definitely makes for a romantic holiday for two. The area is also home to a multitude of heritage sites and outdoor activities – bit of a contrast between the two, but I can see how there would be something for everyone. This one could be on the cards depending on how adventurous we are feeling!
All of these locations look incredible and I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that some of them are in the UK. Armed with this comprehensive list and my persuasive skills – I’m pretty sure I have the upper hand in deciding where we will be going this year!
It’s official – Halloween fever has gripped me. I LOVE dressing up for Halloween (and I’m not talking about those ‘sexy’ Halloween outfits that involve hot pants and cat ears). I still feel a sense of childish glee when I put on a wig or fake blood and walk out the door. I’m sure this year will be no different, even though I haven’t quite figured out my costume yet. After all, 2016 has been one of the scariest on record – the numerous high profile celebrity deaths, Brexit and the US election will no doubt be the inspiration behind the more topical choices this year. As tempting as it is to follow suit, I like to lean towards costumes that are stylishly scary, rather than just plain terrifying. So I decided to put together my very own Halloween Style Guide for anyone still looking for inspiration!
- Wednesday Addams
A classic Halloween look, but this one will never go out of style. All you need is a black dress with a collar, 2 plaits and you’re done. I’m personally a huge fan of Wednesday as a character. She’s doesn’t try to fit in, and she’s nobody’s fool. If you want to go the extra mile then try and convince your partner or friend to go as her brother Pugsley.
- Eleven from Stranger Things
This costume has the benefit of being topical and trendy. If, like me and millions of others, you are also obsessed with the 2016 American sci-fi horror web TV series Stranger Things, then this could be the costume for you. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you must watch it immediately! As someone who can just about remember the tail end of the 80s, it’s a great throwback show, and Eleven’s retro style will be instantly recognisable for those in the know. Essentially, all you will need is a pale pink dress, a blue jacket, trainers, sports socks and a blonde wig. You can also add a bit of blood to make it spookier!
- Resurrected 1920s Flapper Girl
Let’s face it, the roaring 20s didn’t get that name for being dull. They had a lot of fun back then, and Halloween is a great way to pay homage to the era with a spooky twist. To become a ghost from the 1920s all it takes is feathers, fringe and a flapper dress. You can afford to spend some time on the face paint on this one to make sure you capture that ghostly look.
- Cruella De Ville
Any outfit that requires faux fur is a winner in my eyes. And if like me, you’ve always wanted to pretend to smoke a cigarette through one of those cigarette holders then look no further. Cruella is super glam, so red lipstick and heels are a must. And of course, let’s not forget her trademark two tone black and white hair!
- Spider’s Web
This might sound like a slightly odd choice, but spider webs make successful Halloween outfits. A black dress and some shredded thin black tights form the basis of this costume. Then all you need to do is fix some spider props in to your hair, and draw a web pattern over one eye (I’ve used liquid eyeliner to do this in the past). And there you have it – a Halloween spider’s web. To go that extra mile then you could even spray some cobwebs in a can for extra decoration.
Autumn has long been one of my favourite seasons; there are plenty of opportunities to spend some quality time with my hubby and to work on getting rid of those extra calories after indulging in one too many cocktails over the summer.
A lot of people tend to feel a little depressed as those long summer evenings finally come to an abrupt end, and they are left counting the days until reluctantly putting the clocks back and spending their evenings curled up on the sofa. However, it doesn’t have to be this way; there is an abundance of opportunities to get out there and enjoy the crisp autumn sun and the beautiful colours. While the unpredictable British weather can make it a challenge to plan ahead, ensuring that you have a few days out planned means that you can leap out of bed at the first opportunity you get and spend a beautiful day out and about.
For those of you who have been to the New Forest, you will already know that two wheels are definitely better than four! When we are children we are all told about the importance of sharing- this is especially the case in the New Forest.
When we are children we are all told about the importance of sharing- this is especially the case in the New Forest.
In this beautiful part of the country, animals certainly are king! A relaxing drive along its beautiful country lanes can be brought to an abrupt end as you come face to face with an unfazed horse or cow. If don’t have the opportunity to be around animals very often, this can be an incredibly rewarding experience that never fails to disappoint. That is unless you are my hubby, of course. He still likes to go on about the time a horse decided to relieve herself on his car bonnet.
Anyway, with this in mind, if you are local to the New Forest then you are better off getting a train to one of the many stations and taking your bike with you. You will have the complete freedom to explore the forest and its surroundings and get some much-needed exercise! It is always a good idea to check ahead that you are able to take your bikes on a particular train; however, most of the time this is not a problem. The only issue is that you have to lug your bike around, luckily there are plenty of carbon fibre road bikes available that are absolutely perfect for transporting with ease. Luckily for me, my hubby finally took notice of my not so subtle hints and treated me for my birthday last month.
My own particular tip would be to get a train to the village of Brockenhurst and start exploring from there. You will find that there are plenty of beauty and cycle routes to keep you busy, there are also plenty of pubs and quaint tearooms for you to refresh yourselves and enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation. If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, then you will find a wealth of kayaking and canoeing opportunities to keep you entertained.
If your husband or boyfriend regularly bores you to death about cars, then treat him to an afternoon at the Beaulieu Motor Museum, which will captivate your interest whether you are car-nut, or not!
Visit 1066 Country
Due to its close proximity to Brighton, Hastings tends to be overlooked by those looking to head to the coast for a day out. However, Hastings is something of a hidden gem, especially the old town, where you will find a rich variety of architecture, ranging from medieval to Victorian.
For the history buffs amongst you, you will be delighted to learn that three of the seven churches that were standing during medieval times are still standing today. That isn’t all, though, the Hasting Fisherman’s museum is well worth a visit and is in a really lovely location. Surrounded by black fishing sheds, this is a delightful location to indulge in some sunbathing on a sunny afternoon.
If you are in need of a dose of culture, then there are plenty of art galleries to pass away the time in. I would particularly recommend visiting the Jerwood Gallery, which opened to an abundance of critical acclaim in 2012. If you are lucky enough for the sun to be shining, then why not treat yourself to a drink in the nearby café, which benefits from stunning beach views.
Finally, there is the old town, known locally as Twittens; it is an exquisite mixture of narrow streets and passageways, most of them were used by smugglers years ago and still make a fantastic place to explore.
Go Back in Time
Personally, I have always been a huge fan of exploring the many beautiful old stately homes that we are lucky enough to have scattered across the country. One that I must confess to having particularly fond memories of, is the Anne Cleves House near Lewes. There really is so much to see, you will have the chance to learn all about this beautiful medieval house and the role it had to play in the life of one of England’s most famous kings, Henry VIII.
A particular highlight for me is the authentically furnished kitchen and the garden which is simply stunning! It uses traditional plants and genuine Tudor planting schemes and really is worth the admission fee alone.
If you are lucky enough, like me, to live in the Brighton area, then the many amazing cycle paths that we have to offer you the chance to explore this beautiful medieval house and enjoy the autumn air.
If your hubby is anything like mine then you will be glad to know that there is a delightful tea garden that offers all sorts of refreshments to indulge in and the chance to enjoy a much-deserved break!
The best family destinations shouldn’t mean something that’s specifically for the kids; it should also be something just as fun for the adults. Parents don’t want to be spending all weekend in a ball-pit, just as much as kids don’t want to be stuck in a vineyard for hours on end. The only solutions is to seek balance!
Finding the balance can be hard, but with careful planning you can achieve this parent-child Zen for yourself. There’s plenty of places across the UK which offer fun, cultural and cool activities for parents and children alike.
Planning your next family trip away? Keep in mind these famous UK destinations which guarantee something for everyone.
For families who like keeping active, the UK’s largest national park is a must see destination. Beyond the stunning natural beauty of the Lake District, there’s a wealth of active pursuits with which you can truly take in the sights and enjoy a wide range of special events. You could take a gentle cruise down the Ullswater, one of the UK’s biggest natural lakes, follow the famous mountain biking trails, or simply grab a map and explore.
The Lake District offers plenty of family friendly hotels and accommodation to ensure you have a comfortable stay in the wilderness. I would recommend the Lodore Falls, a stunning family hotel nestled at the foot of the Lake District’s forests, with brilliant views of the Ullswater itself.
The UK’s vice capital also serves as a place with countless kid friendly activities. One can get lost on Brighton Pier for hours feeding chips to seagulls, getting henna tattoos or getting lucky on the 2p machines. The rest of the city boasts hundreds of restaurants for all kinds of fussy eaters, as well as plenty of bars and pubs for the adults.
Brighton is within easy reach of London, with a direct train service between the two, and has links from almost every major city in the UK. Remember Brighton during in the summer is where you’ll get those holiday vibes, so avoid the drizzle of the winter seasons for a true holiday at home.
Perhaps your family enjoys the more rural aspects of England? If so, there’s no better place to explore the wilderness than The Cotswolds, which itself covers 6 counties (most notably Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire). Cotswolds holiday cottages have always welcomed families and young children, as well as pets such as dogs and cats, so don’t be afraid to bring the entire family!
If you’re looking to blow your children’s minds, there are several nearby shooting locations from the Harry Potter series. This includes scenes shot for both the inside and grounds of Hogwarts School, created from the corridors of Gloucester Cathedral and Lacock Abbey located less than 13 miles away. There are also a range of guided tours available, ensuring you don’t miss any of the highlights.
Can’t go to Disneyland? No need to be upset, because Staffordshire’s Alton Towers is just as bold as its Paris-based counterpart. Alton Towers is widely considered to be one of the best theme parks in the world, with some of the biggest rides in Europe set in a hugely imaginative park across a whopping 500 acres of British countryside. Alongside the park’s huge selection of hair-raising rollercoasters is an ‘extraordinary’ golf course, a water park, an aquarium and an outstanding historical spa.
Turning an Alton Towers trip into a holiday is easy with access to the park’s 2 unique hotels. Each hotel has plenty of entertainment for adults and kids to enjoy, as well as a variety of fun, themed rooms ranging from the Coca-Cola room to the Cadburys room. Either way, you’ll be dealing with a sugar rush.
Longleat Safari Park
Longleat was the first safari park to be opened outside of Africa. Since 1966, it has grown into one of the UK’s best wildlife attractions, providing access to a range of exotic animals living in natural habitats. Based in Wiltshire, the safari is home to range of fantastic beasts including tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, and monkeys (who will steal your windshield wipers without hesitations).
Wiltshire itself is an attractive county with various other points of interest, including Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. If you’re going to visit Longleat, keep yourself in Wiltshire and enjoy exploring the various sleepy villages that border the likes of Dorset, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire.
Source: Michael W. Gray Keeping the kids entertained over the Easter holidays can seem daunting, especially with so many fun family activities on offer and so little time to do everything. As such, it could very well be up to … Continue reading