Monthly Archives:

December 2019

5 Reasons You Need to Go on a Cruise

Cruise ship
Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay

If you have never been on a cruise, you’re missing out. Sure, there are different ways to travel, but nothing quite matches up to sailing around the world.
Need convincing? Well here are five major reasons to book a cruise for your next vacation:

1. Visit Numerous Destinations, Unpack Just Once

Imagine a cruise ship as a floating hotel. You jump on board the ship, unpack, and never have to do it again despite travelling to numerous destinations. It’s certainly more straightforward than doing a journey where you’re required to work around flights and train schedules and lug your suitcase around to different hotels.

A cruise is also fantastic for those who are undecided about where to go on holiday. Struggling to decide between visiting Greece or Italy, or maybe the Dominican Republic or Jamaica? A cruise allows you to visit many countries on your travel bucket list, on one trip.

2. Various Activities Available on Board

Journeying to different and exciting locations is only part of the experience. The ship itself is another reason to go on a cruise. Aside from an abundance of food and drink options to see you through the day, there are plenty of activities available to pass the time away. Live entertainment, swimming, cooking lessons, movie theatres, sports courts, shops — and that’s just the start! There’s something for everyone to do on a cruise, ensuring boredom will never become an issue.

man and woman on the beach with a crusie ship in the background

3. Less Expensive Than You Might Think

You might be put off when browsing initial prices for a cruise. After all, extended cruises are often in the low four figures per person. However, you must remember that cruises include (nearly) everything as part of the package. Transportation, accommodation, food — it’s all covered in one go. Travelling with children? If so, they will typically be allowed on board at a reduced rate or even for free. Plus, if you’re looking to save even more money, browsing the latest cruise deals could provide the ideal holiday with a significantly reduced price tag.

4. Make New Friends

Cruising is a great opportunity to socialise with others. Unlike other holidays where you tend to stay in your own bubble, on a cruise you’ll see the same people time and time again, whether this is when sitting by the pool, at the bar, or enjoying breakfast. This opens up the possibility of getting to know them and making new friends.

5. Easy to Plan

Think about how you would normally plot out a holiday. First of all, you need to sort all transportation arrangements. Now it’s a case of finding accommodation which is both in a suitable location and within your price range. Then there’s planning activities, excursions, sorting out food — you get the idea. With a cruise, everything is ready to go. Transportation and accommodation are combined. The itinerary is all arranged. There’s no need to search around for a place to eat and drink. All you have to do is book the cruise, kick back, and eagerly await your upcoming adventure.

This is a collaborative post

Advice For Teaching Your Child To Drive

It is a moment that every parent worries about, but there will come a time where your child will want to learn to drive. Although it is scary to think of them out on the roads, there are also a lot of positive feelings because it will give them so much independence – it will also stop them relying on you for lifts so much too! As a parent, you can help them by showing them the ropes and supervising while they are practising what they learn in their lessons. This can be a stressful experience for all, so here are a few tips which should help.

Man holding a car key - learn to drive
Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Arrange Temporary Insurance

The first thing to do is to arrange temporary insurance, whether this is temporary learner insurance or arranging temporary insurance for yourself in their car. This ensures that they are practising legally and that you will be covered if anything happens behind the wheel. You can get a quote for temporary insurance cover online and this can usually be arranged quickly and for just one day through to a month.

Demonstrate The Basics

Before they get behind the wheel, it is a good idea to take them out and to demonstrate the basics – most people switch off when they are a passenger, which means that they often do not think about the basics of driving. You can also allow them to sit in the driver seat and explain to them what everything does.

hands on a car steering wheel
Image by Matan Ray Vizel from Pixabay

Find The Right Place To Teach

You will then want to find the right place to teach them the basics. This should be somewhere that is quiet, away from traffic and with plenty of space – large private car parks at a quiet time in the day are usually a good choice.

Go Slowly

Everyone remembers how stressful and confusing it was when you first get behind the wheel. This is why you need to go very slowly at first and walk them through the first steps of setting the mirrors, starting the car, accelerating and braking.

Red car
Image by AutoPhotography from Pixabay


Communication will be key in this stage, so you need to allow them to ask any questions that they have and provide feedback. You also need to remain calm when they are driving – it may be difficult, but stress will only make them more nervous and create a negative environment which can be hard to learn in.

Gently Push Them Forward

Much like teaching someone to ride a bike, you need to be able to gently push them forward without forcing them into a situation that they are not ready for. Once they have got the basics down, you can then think about introducing them to more day-to-day situations, such as a drive around the block.

Teaching your child the driving basics can be a highly stressful experience, but hopefully, these tips will help. Their lessons will be important for learning new skills but it is helpful if you are able to supervise so that they can get the basics down and then practice what they have learned after each lesson.

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The Best Activities for Making Family Memories

These days, everyone’s lives are so busy that finding the time to make family memories can be difficult. This can be made even harder when it involves pleasing a wide age range and varied interests.

Although the prospect can seem daunting, there are things that can be introduced into family life that are sure to create some lasting memories for everyone. 

How to cope with an injury as a busy parent
Image by sathyatripodi from Pixabay

1) Start a Family Hobby 

Finding a hobby that everyone enjoys is a really great way of making some lovely family memories. Not only are hobbies all about doing something enjoyable, but they are engaging, which assures quality time away from the distractions of social media. 

Choosing a hobby that will result in the creation of an object that can be displayed in the home makes a beautiful representation of those happy times. 

2) Make a Family Tradition 

No matter what the scale, having a family tradition is a really great way of ensuring some quality bonding time. 

It could be walking the dog together, or cooking pancakes on Sunday mornings. No matter how small, special traditions are sure to make some wonderful family memories.  

Monopoly - family game night. Making family memories
Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

3) Cook a Meal Together 

Many studies show the importance of eating together as a family; it helps to promote communication, healthy eating habits and strengthens family dynamics. A way of turning mealtimes into a great family memory is by involving everyone in the cooking process. This will help children learn about food while creating a meaningful memory.  

4) Have a Movie of the Week 

Dedicate one night of the week to watch a family film. The choice of movie could alternate between the parents’ and kids’ choice. Not only does this give the opportunity for a cosy night in, but it also allows everyone to share their views on the film and its characters. 

Image by Deborah Breen Whiting from Pixabay

5) Host a Family Book Club 

Once all the family members are able to read, or at least listen to stories, why not make a family book club? Choosing one book a month and get everyone together to discuss it helps to promote communication, critical thinking and academic development. 

Check out the BBC Blue Peter site for a great list of book suggestions. 

6) Take a Trip Where Everyone Feels Like a Child 

Of course, family holidays are a great way of making meaningful memories, but there is something really special about going to a place that feels magical to the whole family. There really is nowhere that is able to do this quite like Disneyland. 

From rides to meeting favourite characters, the memories that are made are sure to last a lifetime. Disney Orlando tickets for the family is a great way of saving some money and missing out on those long queues. 

Disney Orlando
Image by dazbrin from Pixabay

7) Get into Nature 

Making time to get out of into nature can be really beneficial for child development while being a great way of getting quality family time. Choose an activity that everyone will enjoy, from camping to biking, to petting zoos. Just try and leave the screens behind and enjoy a little adventure together.

This is a collaborative post

2019 Health Trends

People like to focus on their health and wellbeing. People also love to jump on a bandwaggon and to ensure that they’re in with the latest trends that focus on what’s best for us to make sure that we are able to live happy and healthy lives. 

With a new year approaching, people are going to be bombarded with new and innovative health trends to see them living their best lives in the new decade. 

Let’s take a look at some of the health trends of 2019- which ones are likely to join us again in 2020? 

healthy food - health trends
Pexels-CC0 Licence

1) Intuitive Eating 

Gone are the days of restrictive behaviours when it comes to what people choose to eat. Foods are no longer labelled ‘good’ and ‘bad’- nothing is now off-limits.

This is a refreshing change for dieters all over the planet. 

‘Intuitive Eating’ is about listening to your body’s hunger signals and fulfilling cravings- stopping eating when satisfied.

For people who have followed diets for years, who are fearful of the temptation to overindulge, this may be a little triggering to follow. However, for those who have simply had enough of diet culture, this is the freedom they have been waiting for. 

2) CBD Products 

From spoonfuls of oils to wellness drinks and hair treatments, there’s no denying that the benefits of CBD oil are growing. With the backing of A list celebrities, CBD (the cannabis compound cannabidiol that does not contain the element that makes you high) is taken for a variety of reasons, such as for pain relief and helping with anxiety. 

These products are readily available in stores and online. If this is something you’re looking to explore, make sure to go to a registered dispensary to get the safest products possible.

3) Online Health and Wellbeing Coaching 

Busy people are still able to recognize the importance of taking care of themselves. Virtual training and coaching are one of the biggest trends of the age, allowing people to receive personal training and coaching from the comfort of their own homes.

 Doing this can help beginners and gym-phobics access the benefits of exercise without the daunting task of having to step into a gym for the first time. 

Online coaching goes beyond offering workout videos online- it offers bespoke coaching in anything from diet plans to lifting and even helping to navigate difficult emotional situations though online therapies. 

4) Mindfulness 

Being aware of yourself in your own mind is the foundation of a healthy body. This is not a new trend for 2019 and is something that is easy to bring into the dawn of a new decade. 

Many more people are aware of the importance of focusing on their mental health. Small, mindful habits can be a wonderful way of checking in on one’s overall wellbeing. 

Something as small as leaving your phone in another room while enjoying a meal with the family- or making time to go for a walk. There are many ways to enjoy life ‘in the moment’. 

Which of these trends do you think will make it into 2020?  

This is a collaborative post

Our Christmas Day 2019 Photos

Our Christmas Day 2019 wasn’t as enjoyable for me as it usually is.
If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE Christmas and plan for it all year.
This year was no different except that I couldn’t enjoy it as I usually do because the hernia pain that started on Christmas Eve carried on for the whole of Christmas Day.

I couldn’t move much and everyone else had to clean up the mess, set the table for dinner and clean the kitchen afterwards.
Ant cooks our delicious Christmas dinner and I always clean the kitchen after. I felt terrible having to leave it to everyone else this year.
Also, like Christmas Eve, I didn’t get to take many photos and I’m sad that I didn’t get any of KayCee passing out the presents.

A&E On Boxing Day

The pain was getting worse and I ended up sleeping on the reclining chair as I couldn’t make it upstairs.
The next morning, instead of going to Derbyshire to visit my family, I had to go to A&E. I spent all of Boxing Day in the hospital until around 7 pm when The good thing is that I was allowed to go home after the surgeon was able to put everything back in place without surgery 🙂
The bad bit was not being able to see my family and not having any photos to do my usual Boxing Day photo post.

Ella - Christmas day 2019
Aiden - Christmas day 2019
Christmas presents under the tree
We didn’t go overboard with the presents this year as KayCee and Ella had new cabin beds last week and we had to buy a new cooker the week before Christmas due to both ovens not working!
Delicious Christmas dinner cooked by the super wonderful husband
Christmas dinner
KayCee, Ella, Jervais and Jerome playing board games after dinner

Aiden’s Presents

KayCee’s Presents

Ella’s Presents

Ant’s Presents

My Presents

New Year, New Body: 3 Top Workout Tips for 2020

Looking to get into shape in the new year? Many of us are. 

Millions of people across the world will set self-improvement goals for 2020 but statistically speaking, most of them won’t succeed. Why? Because they haven’t properly prepared themselves to make the right changes. 

When it comes to working out, there are smart, healthy, effective ways to do it, and there are ways that will leave you feeling defeated. 

So if you want to work on your best body in the new year, check out the tips below for some useful ideas to get you started and to keep you going.

woman working out
Image by Scott Webb from Pixabay

Pre Workout

This is the step many people miss out – what to do before your workout to prepare your body for the exertion and protect you from injury. If you don’t fuel up, hydrate, and warm-up, you might find yourself flagging and failing before you really get started. 

Focus on getting plenty of good sleep. Keep yourself properly hydrated throughout the day. Eat a snack that is going to keep you energized throughout the workout (or having something ready to go for when you’re done). Invest in some suitable workout gear (with a particular focus on safe footwear). Check out best pre-workout UK for any additional supplements that might work for you. 

And most importantly of all, work in a ten minute (at least) physical warm-up to raise your body temperature, increase range of motion, and prepare yourself for what you’re about to do. Make sure to move gently through stretches in every area of the body.


Weight training is crucial for building muscle and sculpting the body you want. But as tempting as it might be, you can’t just skip the cardio. If you want to stay in shape and improve your overall health, you need to build cardio exercise into your routine for good. 

man running
Image Source: Pixabay CC0 Licence

Find more than one form of cardio that you enjoy and can work on. Running is a great, cheap, low investment form of cardio exercise, but try throwing in some jump-rope, interval training, cycling or swimming to vary your exercise, keep you engaged and challenge different parts of your body.  

If you’re limited on time, try toning up on the treadmill. With a 3-5 pound dumbbell in each hand, set the speed to a brisk walk and do a 60-second set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk, for an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. You can check this guide on FitnessOnTrack– how to buy a treadmill for home use.

Strength Training 

Strategy is important when it comes to weight training. It’s no use turning up at the gym with no plan and aimlessly making your way through the equipment. 

So before you leave the house, set yourself some goals and make sure to track your progress. If you can do the maximum number of suggested reps (usually 10-12) without feeling fatigued, add pounds (10-15 per cent at a time), and monitor your progress.  

To balance your body (helping to avoid injuries, build good posture, and ensure you have strength for your favourite activities), do exercises for opposing muscle groups. During your weekly routines, if you work the quads, for example, do exercises for your hamstrings as well. The same applies for the biceps and triceps, chest and back and lower back and abs.

Make sure to take days off on each muscle group to give them time to repair and adapt. Change things up when you can so you are always pushing yourself, learn new things, speak to people in the know, and stay on your toes – your health and fitness is a journey that changes as you grow. 

This is a collaborative post

Merry Christmas 2019

My family and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2019 and we hope 2020 is a wonderful year for you and yours.

Merry Christmas 2019

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Music composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, 
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years 
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

2016 – Merry Christmas
2017 – Merry Christmas
2018 – Merry Christmas

Gingerbread Fudge

Welcome to day 24, and the final day of our Countdown to Christmas Sweet Treats recipes.
Today we’re making gingerbread fudge.

Gingerbread Fudge Ingredients

  • 230g Condensed milk
  • 300g White chocolate
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


  1. Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper to the same size as your baking tray. We used a –x– cm baking tray.
    Using a damp cloth, wipe the cookie tray before applying the baking paper. This will stop it from moving around.
  2. Place the chocolate and condensed milk in a microwavable bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring each time until it’s all blended and smooth.
  3. Pour into the prepared baking tin and spread out the mixture.
  4. Refrigerate until set, approximately 2 hours, depending on the thickness of your fudge.
  5. When set, remove the fudge from the tin using the baking parchment and cut into bitesize pieces.
    Store in an airtight container or package into cellophane bags and give as gifts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our countdown to Christmas sweet treat recipes and we wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Too Old For Braces? Think Again Because Even Adults Need Them

dentist checking teeth before applying braces
Image by Michael Larsson from Pixabay

You may have gotten through your awkward years without braces, but it doesn’t mean you have perfect teeth already.

Adults also need braces for many reasons. Overbites, gaps in your teeth, sore jaws when chewing and headaches are some of the most obvious.

A nice smile doesn’t hurt either!

It’s never too late to get braces no matter what your age. Even if you practise excellent dental care as a child, you may still need braces as an adult since your teeth continue to move.

In this article, we will go over some things you need to know if you’re wondering if you need braces or not.

Braces vs Invisalign

Both braces and Invisalign do much the same thing but in different ways and with different pros and cons.

They both align your teeth for straighter teeth and nice smiles while also promoting better dental health.

The biggest differences are price and appearance.

Invisalign costs more than your average braces, though some braces can cost as much. Invisalign braces are clear so it is less obvious you are wearing them. Also, the benefit of using teeth aligners at home is that you don’t need to visit the dentist regularly to adjust them like braces.

These are probably best for adults looking for a discreet way to straighten their teeth as long as they are within your budget.

If you are in the UK and looking for Invisalign in Stoke on Trent or the area then check them out to see if they are right for you.

Image by Omar Medina Films from Pixabay

Do you really need them?

You may think that fixing crooked teeth is just for cosmetic reasons. The reality is that crooked teeth can create bigger problems beyond just having an embarrassing smile.

Teeth that are too close together prevent proper flossing and cavities can easily form. Crooked teeth cause wear and tear on your gums and jaw muscles which can make chewing painful.

If you have a severe overbite or underbite, then you risk getting malocclusion. This is when your jaw becomes misaligned and is very painful and can lead to myriad problems.

Do braces hurt for adults?

There is always going to be some discomfort for a while after getting braces. Even the Invisalign style will take some getting used to, even though they fit over your teeth.

You’ll also feel some discomfort every time you go to the orthodontist to have the braces adjusted which is usually once a month.

That in itself shouldn’t be painful at all, but more annoying than anything. If your braces are causing cuts to the inside of your mouth then that means that a wire is loose somewhere and does need to be taken care of. Your braces should never do that ordinarily and is not normal.

There is an orthodontic wax you can use to cover the braces so they don’t irritate your mouth.

And eating soft food for the first weeks of having braces will help you avoid more discomfort than you should. Stick to eggs, yogurt, pasta and soups and avoid things like steak and anything you have to use a lot of force to chew.

This is a collaborative post