Thursday, 25 May 2017

Why I haven't taken a holiday since 2011- Guest post by First Time Valley Mam

My next guest post is by First Time Valley Mam which explains why she hasn't taken a holiday since 2011.


Holidays. The last time I went on holiday was in 2011 that was before I was married, kinda like a pre honeymoon as we had work straight after. We flew with my nan to spend the week at my uncles who at the time was living In lanzarotte. 

2012 and along came Z, being an ivf baby we knew he was coming! The first year was so hot in the uk didn't even think of a holiday. We were going to visit my uncle again, but we were worried about car seats and a buggy like you do. 

Then they moved back to the uk. Now holidays worry me. Why? Autism. I worry how Z will be. 

There would be 6 main things I'd need:
1) iPad 
2) Wifi 
3) A pool
4) Possibly our own place 
5) Space. Safe space 
6) Innocent smoothies and cheese spread. 

Would he even manage on a plane? With the new law coming in on screen size on certain planes, there's no way he'd cope without his iPad. Of course the iPad would need wifi to be able to watch Timmy time that's currently his new favourite thing to watch. Over and over and over again! 

He's so fussy with his food, would he actually eat? Ok, he'll eat chips but he's on the gluten free bread would he eat normal bread? If not there goes his toast and cheese spread sarnies! 

If Innocent smoothies weren't there he wouldn't have any thing to drink in the morning or before he went to bed. 

A pool would be on my list of things I'd need, just to keep him entertained, beaches would be too busy, same as children's entertainment, he'd never cope. We would need a place of our own so he wouldn't keep everyone up all night! Somewhere with space, lots of safe space would be a must for him to run and burn off his excess energy!

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Top Experiences at Walt Disney World

We've recently returned from a 15 night holiday to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Lots of people have asked what we'd recommend on things to do and where to eat etc so I thought i'd put together a post of our top 3's of everything. This includes mine and my husbands top 3's and not what our children think.



I'll be writing about these in more detail on separate blog posts soon, but for now here is our brief roundup.

Disney Hotels to stay in:
1) Animal Kingdom Lodge





2) Yacht Club Resort



3) Caribbean Beach Resort 




Table service dining:
1) Tiffins - Animal kingdom 

2) Saana - Animal kingdom lodge

3) T-Rex - Disney Springs 

Quick service restaurants:
1) Earl of Sandwich - Disney Springs

2) Be our Guest Breakfast - Magic Kingdom 


3) Flame Tree BBQ - Animal Kingdom 
Character dining:
1) Ohana Breakfast - Polynesian 


2) Akershaus - Epcot

3) 1900 Park Fare - Grand Floridian 

Evening shows:
1) Fantasmic - Hollywood Studios




2) Wishes - Magic Kingdom
3) Rivers of light - Animal Kingdom 




Magic kingdom:
1) Meeting the talking Mickey Mouse




2) Splash Mountain
3) Enchanted Tales with Belle




Epcot:
1) Soarin
2) Mission Space
3) Meeting Anna and Elsa 




Animal kingdom:
1) Kilimanjaro Safaris




2) Expedition Everest
3) Rivers of Light




Hollywood Studios:
1) Rockin Roller Coaster
2) Frozen Show

3) Toy Story Ride

What are your favourites? Don't forget to pop back for more detailed reviews of each experience.


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Exercising at home with Flex

Before I had my girls I loved exercising. I would regularly go to the gym and also attend classes. I thrived on it and I had the time to go out and enjoy it.

Since having the girls my exercise regime has been slack to say the least. I can never muster up the energy to leave the house at the end of the day to visit the gym. I always feel too exhausted. I'd love to find the time and energy to do it but a lot of the time it's unrealistic.

I was approached by Flex and asked if I would like to try out their virtual gym classes. I hadn't heard of them before but I was intrigued to see what it was about. Flex offers gym classes in your home through the internet. If you have a Smart TV, X-BOX or PS4 then you can stream them to your TV. I've been using mine through my laptop. The classes can be enjoyed either live or on catch-up.

To start using Flex I had to create an account. This was very easy and quick to do. I was asked some health questions and exercise questions. You are also placed into a tribe (a group of other users). You don't have to use this if you don't want to but it gives you a sense of community and support. 
Flex will find classes that are suitable to your interests and the days and times that you want to exercise and these are then shown in your planner. 


The variety of classes that are available is what I like best about Flex. There are so many to choose from. You can do Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Cardio, Barre, Dance, Strength/conditioning and many more. Some of these classes I wouldn't have felt confident enough to try if I were in a gym but I have given them a go in my own home.


I actually really enjoy the Barre classes. This is something I would never normally have tried so I'm glad Flex has introduced me to new ways of exercising. The Yoga classes are also perfect after a long hard day at work.

I'll be honest though and say I haven't managed to use it as much as i'd like. This is more to do with me than the website itself. I think everything on offer on the website is fantastic. I just need to get myself in more of a routine and actually plan when I will exercise and stick to it. This is where I can utilise the 'My Planner' section of the website which gives me a weekly programme to follow. 

At £9.99 a month I think Flex is great value for money. It would be perfect for parents on maternity leave too who lack the confidence to go to the gym or simply don't have the time.

Do you do any exercise?

*I was kindly given a subscription to Flex for my review and opinions. As always my review is honest and my own words*




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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Enjoying the bluebells at The Wenallt Woods

The Wenallt Woods in Cardiff is a place that we regularly visit. We have been enjoying family walks there with our dogs for many years. Before we had Alfie (our latest dog) we had  Tia. This was before we had children. Tia loved her walks in those woods. Even though she was very old, she seemed to transform back into a pup when she was there. She'd run as fast as she could and she'd leap everywhere. We have lots of happy memories there which is why we make such an effort to keep returning.


You may have read my 'me and mine' post from January which showed photos of our family shoot at these woods with Sweet Whimsy Photography. If you haven't read it and want to see some more pics then click here, January.



One of our favourite times to visit is towards the end of April when the woods are transformed into a fairytale with carpets upon carpets of fresh bluebells on show. It's a great place to get some photographs as the view is breathtaking. 

We managed to get one visit in during bluebell season this year before we headed off on holiday. Here are our favourite pictures that we captured.








Did you visit any bluebell woods this year? Is there a special place you go to for family walks?
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Getting a Summer Holiday Glow

Summer is fast approaching and one of my favourite things about it is getting a summer glow. There's no doubt about it the sunshine makes you look and feel happier. Summer is also my favourite fashion season. All the whites and pastels are gorgeous but I always want a nice tan against them.


As I've gotten older I've realised how important it is to look after your skin and stay safe in the sun. Gone are the days when I would spend all day lying on a sun-bed by the pool getting completely frazzled and burnt. I'll confess, when I was younger I used to use tanning oil when I was abroad. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed about that. I hate to think of the damage I caused my skin. 


These days I am slathering myself and the kids in high factor sun cream to protect us. I also make sure we use it at home in the UK. Before I had children I was rubbish at using suncream in the UK. For some reason I just never used it.

An important tip for protecting yours and your children's skin when you're on holiday is to always reapply your suncream after a swim. I must admit I need to get better at this. We also avoid sunbathing and playing in the sun during peak hours when the suns rays are at its strongest.


Having said all that, I still crave that bronzed glow. One way to achieve this all summer long is to use a Gradual Tan St Tropez. I'm quite fortunate to have a nice shade to my skin and therefore i'm not very pale. However, I do love the natural sun kissed look so using a gradual tanning lotion would be a perfect alternative to sunbathing this summer. It's not something i've actually used before but i'm keen to try it. 

Image from elisions.co.uk

It would also be great for making sure you're not the palest person on the beach when you arrive on holiday. You could start using the lotion a couple of weeks before hand and whilst you were there.

Have you used a gradual tanning lotion before? Have you used any St Tropez products? Are you a fan of fake tan?

*This is a collaborative post*


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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

7 Vintage Disney Films My Children Love - Guest Post by Cardiff Mummy Says

Next to provide a Disney guest post is the lovely Cardiff Mummy Says.


We are big Disney fans in our household, but aside from the modern favourites such as Moana, Frozen, we also enjoy watching the older animated films too. Many of these are films I grew up watching, so it’s been lovely to share them with my children and see them loving them as much as I do.

Here, in no particular order, are 7 vintage Disney movies my children love to watch. All of the films are older than me, never mind my children, just going to show Disney’s enduring appeal.

Do you have a favourite vintage Disney film?

1.     Peter Pan
Based on JM Barrie’s original story, Peter Pan dates back to 1953 yet the adventutes of the three children, Wendy, John and Michael as they meet Peter, the little boy who didn’t want to grow up, and fly off to Neverland still captivates my children more than 60 years later. My three-year-old loves Captain Hook and the crocodile; my seven-year-old daughter used to be obsessed with Tinkerbell but now loves Wendy; while my five year old son loves the Lost Boys and the Indians. We all love playing Following The Leader and singing the song.

2.     Robin Hood
Both my husband and I loved this as children so we couldn’t wait to watch it with our three. The 1973 animation introduces the legend of Robin Hood but using a cast of animals. Robin and Marian are foxes; Little John is a bear; Friar Tuck is a badger; The Sheriff of Nottingham is a wolf; and Marian’s lady in waiting Lady Kluck is a hen. It doesn’t have the big blockbuster songs of other Disney films, but we love The Phony King of England and Oo De Lally. We love the scene where the children of the rabbit family accidentally fire an arrow into the grounds of Maid Marian’s castle and meet Marian and Lady Kluck, who pretends to be the nasty Prince John.

3.     The Jungle Book
Released in 1967, this contains some of my favourite Disney songs including The Bare Necessities, I Wanna Be Like You and Colonol Hathi’s March. We regularly have the soundtrack on in the car. I’m so pleased my children love this film and the music as much as I did as a child. It tells of the little boy Mowgli, who was raised by wolves in the jungle but who is convinved by his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear to leave before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.

4.     Alice in Wonderland
I was amazed to discover recently that the film was initially panned by the critics when it was first released in 1951. Fans of Lewis Carroll were upset that Disney had Americanised a great work of English literature. It wasn’t until the psychedelic 1970s that the film found favour again. My children love the surreal adventures of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the scary Queen of Hearts – “Off with their heads”. They also love the idea of having an ‘unbirthday’ on every day that isn’t their actual birthday.

5.     Dumbo
I see this 1941 film so differently now I am a mother. My eyes can’t help but well up with tears for Mrs Jumbo, the mummy elephant who loses her temper when the other elephants laugh at her baby’s big ears and nickname him Dumbo. My children love Dumbo doing his circus acts and accidentally getting drunk on champagne and seeing hallucinations of pink elephants. Plus it’s only an hour in length, so it’s a good one when we don’t have time to watch a long film.

6.     Pinocchio
Disney’s second animated film dates back to 1940. My children used to be a bit scared of some scenes, such as all the boys turning into donkeys, but now they’re older, the tale of the wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy is one of their favourites. We love the songs I’ve Got No Strings and Give A Little Whistle.

7.     Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

It might have been the first ever animated musical film made by Disney way back in 1937, but it’s still a much-loved classic. My children found the Wicked Queen scary to begin with, but there are plenty of happy and delightful scenes too, such as the dwarfs going off to work in the mines and singing Heigh-Ho; and Whistle While You Work as Snow White does the housework with the help of the animals of the forest.

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Reasons to go to Disneyland at Christmas - Guest post by Twinderelmo

Have you ever thought about going to Disneyland and wondered what time of year to go? Beth at Twinderelmo gives you 5 reasons why you should visit at Christmas. I've been lucky enough to go at Christmas time and it really is magical.


1) It makes it extra magical
Who doesn't love Disney? It's pretty magical 24/7. It's synonymous with dreams and a feeling of never having to grow up. Christmas has pretty much the same feel for me so combine the two and your life is MADE. We went at the end of November and came back on 2ndDecember and it really kick started the festive season for us all. We came back on the Friday evening and felt we HAD to get our tree up the next day

2) They have extra parades
Yes there is a specific Christmas themed parade with a very special guest – Santa! With an extra parade, there's even more to keep everyone entertained not to mention some amazing outfits and festive songs to sing a long to.

3) Everyone is in a good mood
Who can be grumpy at CHRISTMAS in DISNEY?! It literally is the happiest place on earth amplified.

4) It can work out cheaper
We went late November and got it much cheaper than the summer months. Granted we went during term time but the prices do seem to drop as everyone is meithering about the weather. Yes it was cold, but no colder than here. There was one day where the girls just wore their Woody and Buzz costumes over their normal clothes as it was mild. Just make sure you take your hats and gloves and you'll be fine.

5) Shorter hours
I know this may not be everyone's bag but we went with two three year olds so with the park closing at 7pm it meant we were able to stay and watch the Dreams firework show without everyone being exhausted. We were often in bed by 8.30pm – ready for another early morning making the most of the EMH

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

6 Things to do at Disney World - Guest Post by Toby and Roo

Whilst I am away in Disney World I have some great Guest posts from some of my blogging friends to keep you entertained.

First up is by the lovely Harriet from Toby and Roo.

I have to confess, we’ve only been to Disney once and yet… addicts! It was the best holiday of my life and we adored it. The kids were mesmerised and to be honest so was I – even Adam, my husband, who really isn’t in to Disney was spellbound by most of the stuff purely because of the reactions from the kids.

I wanted to put together 6 tips for things you shouldn’t miss at Disney because looking back there are a few things that we just HAVE to do again (and will be next year!), so without further a-do, here are my 6 things you might not think to do at Disney but really should:


1.     See the Hippos at Animal Kingdom.
I don’t care who you are or what you like, if you can’t be amazed by these HUGE majestic creatures literally in front of you in their under water viewing area, then you are not my people!! It was astounding to just watch them floating around and relaxing – something I can’t WAIT to see again!

2.     Order a Cottontini or Kids special drink at T-REX cafĂ©
Seriously. The cottontini was the alcoholic beverage of dreams – it was pricey sure, but it comes with a HUGE cotton candy ball in the glass and you pour your alcohol over – then you get to keep the shaker as a memento. Not to be missed. As for the kid’s drinks, you get to keep a huge drink bottle with a dino head and a screw bottom for keeping snacks, though they have a little toy in it to start. For the dino lover it’s a must.

3.     Stay out LATE and see the fireworks.
NOTHING will compare to the wonder in your kid’s eyes at 9pm when the big fireworks go off at Magic Kingdom. Reuben started to cry and I asked if he was afraid of the bangs (he used to be) but he said “No, I’ve just waited my whole life to see this and I didn’t even know!” – melodramatic? Sure, but hella cute!

4.     Epcot Kidcot is not to be sniffed at
Kidcot is basically a kiddies version of Epcot – the children get a paper bear to carry around and collect stamps from each “station” is each “country”. At the stations there is everything from colouring to food to taste from the nation. It’s epic and the kids get each person to sign their bear too!

5.     Don’t waste your time with Be Our Guest, but DO have breakfast with the Princesses
Be Our Guest was a let down for us – despite booking it took 45mins just to get in the building and we were out within 25 mins. Meh. The food was nice but not exactly off the chain and we weren’t overly enamoured! We did love dining with the Princesses though – it was lovely, but a word of warning, if you order anything other than the main breakfast, it will be sweet!

6.     Hollywood Studios Stormtroopers are a must

Bit like posing with the guards at Buckingham palace, the storm troopers are super fun!


Thank you for sharing those tips Harriet. You can follow her blog Toby and Roo here:


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