Making It Easy: Traveling The World (Or Anywhere) With Your Kids

We admit that we can sometimes be a little bit of a Walter Mitty family. The simplest of cues can suddenly lead to the most niggling thoughts and ideas, ones that we can’t shake. Instead, we start delving into all the research we can to see if it is possible and what we would need to do and what we should take into consideration. Luckily, we have this blog, so whether or our Walter Mittyness wins or not, it isn’t for nothing because we can share what we’ve found out with you. What are we alluding to with this preamble; traveling around the world as a family, of course.

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Come on. How amazing would that be? There just isn’t a better way to make lasting memories as a family unit that to explore the world. No way. Of course, for many, it is a pipedream because, well, that is how they see it. It is a fairytale thingy that can’t actually be done because they are worried about homeschooling or the stresses or whatever else.

 

Well, after reading about all the amazing benefits of travelling the world as a family, we went and did a crazy amount of research of our own and and found some amazing tips to make your family travels that little bit easier, whether it be an around the world trip or short travelling adventure. And here they are:

Family Health Is The Priority

It’s at the top of every parent’s list, and for good reason too. Luckily, the major things to be concerned about are also considered to be the basic things, in the sense that they are relatively easy to protect yourselves against. These include things like taking out the right insurance plan, getting all the vaccinations you may need to meet the issues surrounding your destinations and those kinds of things. The worst thing you can do is be paranoid about your little adventure, though, because it is more than likely that you and your family will experience a healthier lifestyle elsewhere than you will at home.

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Set A Steady Pace

The one thing you’ll notice is that children can tire quickly, especially when you are constantly on the move and doing things that their little mind would consider to be monotonous. Kids are kids. They want to spend a healthy chunk of time playing. That’s what keeps them happy and entertained and in high spirits, so don’t ignore this. The best way to ensure this happens is to make a note in all your planning that allows your kids a little bit of time to settle, play and recharge their batteries, and try and ensure this happens after you’ve been moving around a fair bit. Kids make friends so easily, and you’ll find this helps you make friends easy too. So make the most of this by getting to know a place when energy levels are dropping.

Play To Your Audience

You need to keep the age of your kids in mind at all times when it comes to planning the little adventures within your big adventure. Let’s say your kids are five and six, then you need to accept that going to Africa isn’t exactly going to be worth the risks of Malaria or the financial investment; wait until they are closer to ten in order to get the biggest wow factor. There are just certain cultural highlights that you will love and they will love and they will win out because if they aren’t having a good time, well, you won’t either. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to places that are “culturally rich”, it just means that you will need to do some homework and see what kid-friendly activities are around, which there will be plenty.

Have Realistic Wants

You may have always wanted to do a walking tour of Rome or a pounded the cobbled streets of Lisbon or got lost in the temples of Bhutan, but these goals may not be too realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t try and achieve this, just be fine with it not happening too. The other thing that is important to plan for are the little things, like just chilling on that beach you absolutely love in the south of Spain. These things can be just as amazing as the big touristy things, so consider them when it comes to planning what type of adventure you want to have. Do you want to do all the tourists attractions or are you happy to sit in a gorgeous cafe in a European piazza while your kids play about. Do you want to have a relaxing next stretch or is it time to have an action packed week? If you sit down and chat about all of this with your family – as a family – then you will be able to work out exactly what kind of trip to plan for and commit to.

Home Away From Home

Life on the road can be quite exhausting and quite daunting, not just for your kids but for you too. This is especially true if you head somewhere that is completely new and amazingly different, somewhere like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand; those kinds of places where there are different cultures, different languages, different foods and smells and ways of doing things. As such, always try and rent a house or an apartment that you can make your base. This will mean you have a familiar place to go back to at the end of each day, a home away from home that will act as the stable place of comfort. You can eat in, cook, watch TV, do the washing and live the normal life you led at home, just in a totally new place. Not only this, but it will often be cheaper than staying in hotels, while it will also give you a much more honest account of what each location is like.

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Rule Of Water

Kids love water. That is a fact that no one can deny and reason enough to try and always head to somewhere that has something water-based. It could be a beach that has gorgeous little waves that lap against the shore and no tide to worry about, such as the Med. It could be that you have found a resort with a pool that the kids can use and abuse to keep themselves entertained. Most hot places will have an epic water park or splash pad that you can visit too, and there is nothing that entertains a kid as much as a water park or splash pad. Period. That’s a fact.

Know Your Transport

There are certain criteria that you think about on this front, apparently, from entertainment to ease, cost to concerns. As a general rule, don’t take buses anywhere. This is especially true in developing countries. They are uncomfortable, hot, tiring, and they tend to be driven by people a need for speed and a complete disregard for safety. Basically, there is a reason they are so cheap. Instead, look into getting around the world tickets beforehand to conquer all of your big trips and to keep you slightly on the plan. Then take trains or boats where possible. Kids love trains and what’s not to love about a quick boat trip. Just make sure you have sick bags, games, and books on hand to help them relax and be at ease. Oh, and the better you are at keeping kids entertained on long-haul flights with children the more likely you’ll still be sane by the end.

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Have A Budget And Stick To It

The quickest way to ruin an amazing adventure is to have financial stresses looming over your head. That’s where a budget can keep you happy. So figure out what your budget is beforehand, try and book your flights in advance and then figure out what your daily allowance is. That way you will be able to know what you have, where you have gone over and where you have saved. If you can make a note of this then you’ll be even less likely to be caught out. It is also worth deciding what things you really want to splurge on during your planning stages as well so that you can account for these. There are plenty of ways in which you can make savings too, such as using Skyscanner, Airbnb, and any other apps and tech that could help, while eating in or eating cheap can save you a small fortune too.

How to Make Your Bedroom a Stress Free Oasis

We spend about a third of our lives in our bedrooms, so it is a place that should be peaceful and calm; a place where you go to relax at the end of the day. It should be a soothing and comfortable refuge from the world, so here are a few tips to help you transform your bedroom’s atmosphere.

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Clear your room of clutter

Sometimes it can be a mission to declutter your home of all the things you have accumulated over the years. Smooth, clean surfaces act as a brain-cleanser, so clear away clutter and, tidy away all your clothes in your floordrobe and invest in a bookshelf to store all those books collecting dust on the floor in the corner.

 

Scent your room with essential oils

When it comes to aromatherapy, a number of smells are strongly associated with relaxation and reducing stress. There are several ways you can introduce these smells to your bedroom; one of these ways is to buy a lightbulb ring, which is set on a cold bulb, and add a few drops of essential oil, turn on the light and let the heat warm the oil and scent the room. Another way is to buy or make potpourri, a collection of dried herbs mixed with essential oils, and put them in a bowl on your dresser or on top of your chest of drawers. Clean, or new, bedsheets also help to make a bedroom feel like an oasis. If you need advice on buying bed sheets, check out this handy guide. You can also spray your bed sheets and pillows with an essential oil mixed with water, meaning that you will fall asleep easier with a faint smell enveloping you.

 

 

Add fresh flowers to your bedroom

A study once found the people work better when they are surrounded by fresh flowers or living plants. Imagine how relaxing you will feel in your bedroom surrounded by greenery? Not only do plants decrease stress, but they also purify the air around us, making our homes healthier as well as happier!

 

Paint your room blue

Scientists say that the color blue plays a big part in reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and slowing breathing down. Apparently, blue hues affect the autonomic nervous system, and can decrease stress without you even being conscious of it. Color therapy suggests that blue has a calming effect, and will lull you to sleep if there are accents of it in a bedroom, so if your room is due for a repaint, opt for a blue tone. If not, then switch out your blankets and rugs for blue accents instead.

 

Feng shui

The art of feng shui is to achieve harmony between both your physical self and your environment. It’s all about proper positioning of your furniture to windows and doors. For example, your bed should be on the opposite side of the room to the door, not directly opposite the door but at an angle, and there should be a window to your right, so that you can soak up positive energy in the mornings when you wake up!

Moving To A Bigger Home? Sell Your Old One Fast

When you have a baby, sometimes you need to move home pretty soon in order to have enough space for the whole family. This can be quite an exciting time, but it is also fair to say that it can be quite stressful if you are not careful. There is a lot to think about and get prepared for, and it can often be a lot in one go. For a start, you need to begin looking for a new home as soon as you can. That in itself can be something of a challenge, but even that is nothing much compared to the next part. You also need to sell your current home, and sometimes you need to do that speedily. In this article, we are going to go through some of the vital steps that you need to take in order to get your house on the market. Follow these, and you will be off to the right start.

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Cleaning

First things first, you need to start thinking about giving the whole house a proper deep clean. For some people, this is the worst part of all, but others find that it is strangely therapeutic. Either way, it is an essential first step, so you might as well start as early as you can. It goes without saying that this needs to be a deep clean, not just a surface clean, so it might take you longer than you expected. Regardless, you can ensure that it is not too long to do by going room by room and working as a team the whole way. If you do it like that, you should be able to get each room extremely clean quiet quickly, before moving on to the next one. Before long, you’ll have a completely clean home. There might still be some time before you move, so another clean is probably going to be necessary. But either way, having done the initial deep clean means you have at least done the worst of it. Cleaning is essential, as if you don’t do it it is unlikely that anyone will be interested in your home. Already, you need to start thinking about the potential response of people who are going to come and view your home. This is essential if you want to ensure that you are actually likely and able to sell your home.

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Fix & Replace

Most homes have a few problems which need fixing, and it is in your interest to fix any that your home has before you try to sell. You would be amazed at how observant potential buyers can be, so it is a good idea to fix even the smallest issues that you might have. Even if it is just a leaky stopcock or a loose tap, you should get your spanner out and fix it. And it goes without saying that if you have any bigger problem in the home, you should absolutely fix those as well. If you don’t, you might find that you don’t get as much interest in your home as you would like. When you need to completely replace something, be sure to upgrade it at the same time. In other words, don’t just replace a broken window, install Renewal by Andersen windows so that your potential buyers are more likely to be pleased with what they see. Windows and doors, in particular, are good for this, as they can be particularly impressive when new. Make sure that everything is in the best possible condition and you will make it much easier and faster to sell your home.

Kerb Appeal

If you don’t know what kerb appeal is, it is actually relatively simple. Basically, the kerb appeal of your home is how it appear from the kerb. This is important because it is basically the first impression that anyone gets of your home. As such, you should work hard to ensure that it is the best possible first impression that your home could possible give. There are many elements to ensuring that this happens. First of all, if there is a garden area out the front, be sure to keep it well trimmed and looked after. You might also want to think about giving your front door a lick of paint, or even replacing it entirely if you feel so inclined. Similarly, keeping all the boundaries with neighbors in a good state is going to give off a good impression straight away. All of these little things add up to make a huge difference, so it is worth bearing all of this in mind.

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Paintwork

It is rare that a home does not need a fresh lick of paint before trying to be sold. This is especially relevant if you have painted any of your rooms with a bright or interesting color. Most people want neutral colors, and that is what tends to be most impressive to potential buyers. It is also more valuable for a home to have neutral colors, so make sure that you paint your walls before you start getting people in to look at your home. It is okay to have a little color here and there, but basically you need to remove any characteristic color from the home altogether. Turn it into a blank slate for the new potential owners – this will be sure to excite people enough to want to buy the property.

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Space & Light

Understanding how space and light can be used to create a more inviting space is very important if you want to sell your home fast. Consider widening the space in the living areas by cleverly moving the furniture around, for a start. You might also want to use lights of different kinds to illuminate different areas of rooms. This can provide whatever kind of effect you might want to go for, and can make the whole house seem more professionally inviting – something which is likely to serve you well. Use space and light more effectively to sell your home faster.

Smart Budgeting Tips for Stay at Home Moms

Smart Budgeting Tips for Stay at Home Moms

Being a stay-at-home mom can be incredibly rewarding as it gives you the freedom to spend much more quality time with your children and be a much bigger part of their young life. Unfortunately, in these times of economic instability, trying to make ends meet on only one salary can be extremely difficult. Nonetheless, the statistics show that more and more women are again choosing to stay at home with their kids, which shows that it is definitely not impossible—especially if you remember to follow all of these simple budgeting tips. 

Create a Weekly Food Plan


Food is often one of a family’s biggest expenses, especially if you have a couple of ravenous teenage boys at home. Still, one of the easiest ways to cut back on your monthly food bills is to cook most of your meals from scratch. However, trying to create a weekly meal plan is another excellent way to cut down on food waste and lower your costs since you can often combine leftovers and use multiple ingredients for the same dish. In most cases, its best to do your shopping once a week and try to base your meal plan around whets on sale. 

Use Cash Whenever Possible


Creating a budget plan is by far the best thing you can do to make being a stay-at-home mom financially feasible, but you also need to be able to stick to that budget. In this case, trying to use cash is often one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t run over your monthly budget. Most people have a much harder time of keeping track of exactly how much they spend when using a credit or debit card, which won’t be a problem if you simply withdraw your weekly budget from the ATM and limit yourself to it.

Free Entertainment Is Your Friend


No matter what anyone tries to tell you, life as a stay-at-home mom can sometimes get boring. This leads many to sign up for numerous classes and take part in expensive hobbies in order to pass the time, with the result that stay-at-home moms tend to spend much more on entertainment. If this is a problem for you, try seeing if you can’t find some free classes at your local recreation or community center. In addition, the library can also be your best friend—not only for the huge range of books, but also TV shows, movies, music and more.

Make Sure to Set Aside Money for Specific Goals


You and your spouse need to be flexible when planning your monthly budget, taking into account any short-, medium- and long-term goals and saving accordingly. In fact, the very first part of budgeting is to take account of all of your financial goals as this will determine how much you need to save each month to meet them. 

Don’t Forget About Yourself


Most stay-at-home moms have their own personal savings account or discretionary funds, but unfortunately, this can be a source of many marital arguments. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your partner a fair monthly budget for yourself to spend. After all, you are doing a lot of hard work too. Still, no matter what you do, don’t call it an allowance as this will only serve to reinforce the dominant ‘bread-winner’ dynamic.

Being a stay-at-home mom is truly one of the best things you can do for yourself and your children, and luckily, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. By taking the time to plan out your monthly budget and doing your best to stick to it, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom without it ruining your finances. 

Bed and Bath Pamper Sets for Moms on Mother’s Day

Moms are some of the most hardworking people in the world. And for the busiest mom, rest and relaxation at the end of the day are treasured moments. This coming Mother’s Day reward your moms with something that will allow them to enjoy their rest every day. Bed and Bath pamper sets for moms would be a great gift idea for this occasion.

Busy mom’s often get their rest when everyone and everything in the house is settled for the night. You can help your mom make the most of their nightly rest by giving her tools for a nice warm bath. This means coming up with bed and bath pamper sets for moms that  includes everything she needs to enjoy the shower or the tub.

Bath time will not be complete without a nice warm towel to dry your body. So, let your mom enjoy the luxurious softness of a Cariloha Bamboo Bath Towel Set. These towels are made from 42% viscose from bamboo and 58% Turkish combed cotton. Aside from the nice luxurious feel, moms will also appreciate its highly absorbent and odor resistant features. This set of bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth are also stylishly designed that it will look good in your bathroom. They are worthy additions to your bed and bath pamper sets for moms on Mother’s Day.

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Cariloha Towels

Finally, it is time for bed. Treat your mom to the ultra-soft sateen finish of Cariloha Bamboo Resort Bed Sheets that are perfect for sleep. These sheets are made from 100% viscose bamboo that spells luxurious comfort and durability. They can feel so good that moms may feel challenged to get up from bed in the morning. Given this, it is likely that your mom would appreciate this set of one flat sheet, two pillow cases, and one fitted sheet.

Most people have been pampered by their moms at some point in their lives. Now, it is their time to be pampered. Bed and Bath Pamper Sets for moms are great gift ideas for Mother’s Day. They can be the best gifts that you can give if they are coupled with your love and attention.

It’s All About You: How to Make your Home More Personal

There are many feelings that your home should evoke when you walk through the door: safety, happiness, calm, chaos and many more besides. However, more important than all of those, your home should represent something personal – it should feel as though it’s been designed and decorated by you.

Making your house feel more personal will give you a much stronger connection to the property and turn it from any old dwelling, on any old street into a home that you are truly in love with.

 

Decorate it with your memories

One of the best ways of making your home feel more personal is by decorating it with memories that are unique to you. Make sure that your walls and shelves are littered with mementoes of happy times and photographs of your favourite experiences.

There’s also an opportunity to take your family memories and emblazon them on more than just photo frames. With Shutterfly free shipping it’s never been cheaper to create personal mugs, stationery, calendars and other items with which to decorate your home.

Choose your shops wisely

Where you buy your furniture and ornaments will have a major impact on the look of your house, so if you want a different style to everyone else, you’ll need to frequent different shops to everyone else too.

Avoid major high-street chains in favour of quirky independent stores and you’re much more likely to find something for your home that stands out. Online outlets and market stalls also give creative individuals the chance to share their products, so there are plenty of options for anyone looking to buy something a little different.

Shopping in independent stores may mean that decorating your home takes slightly longer than if you went to a larger retailer, but it’ll be worth it when your house becomes the envy of all your neighbours.

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Don’t buy, build

 

An even more effective way of getting a unique look is to forego shops altogether and create your own interior design products yourself. There are plenty of online guides for creating furniture, so you can get creative even if you have no experience with arts and crafts.

 

If you don’t feel like creating your furniture from scratch, however, there’s still hope for you and your home. Upcycling has become a popular hobby for many and lets you turn old, unwanted items into something new and desirable. This could involve simple tasks like applying a new coat of paint or more complicated ones like re-upholstering a sofa. When it comes to making or repairing your own furniture, the choice is yours!

 

Ignore the naysayers

 

When you’re deciding on a certain look for your home, it’s perfectly fine to get inspiration from family, friends and glossy magazines, but the final say should come from you. So, if you want to go for a look that slightly, shall we say, eccentric, then you should. Your home may not end up being to everyone’s tastes, but why should it be? As long as you like it and it’s true to your individual style then that’s all that matters.

Essential Things To Consider When Buying A Family Home

If you’re starting a family or thinking about starting one soon, you may be looking into moving into a more family oriented new home. There can be many benefits of moving house as you start your family, including moving closer to family members or a support network, or moving into a larger or more appropriate space. There is so much to think about when choosing a new family home, here is a checklist of some of the major bases to cover.

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Location

Choosing a good location can have a significant impact on the development of your young family, and the process of bringing them up. Make sure you consider local school and hospital facilities, as you may not want to move again as the children reach high school age. Some families also find it beneficial to relocate closer to parents or friends, so that there are extra hands available for helping out with the kids.

Timing

As they say, timing is everything. If you’re planning on having a family, you probably have some idea of timescales and things that need to happen within that. Moving house is a considerably stressful endeavor and one which can’t be undertaken lightly. Make sure you know how it fits into your time frame to minimize stress on you and your family.

Renovation Work

It’s sometimes easier to take on a house which requires a certain amount of renovation to get it up to scratch, just to shave a few thousand dollars off the price. However, you need to consider if you have the time or energy for such a big undertaking while you have a young family. Sometimes it’s easier to just pay a little bit more, and move into a space that is immediately fit for purpose.

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Space

Obviously, when you buy a house, it needs to be big enough for the people you currently have in your family. But what about future family members? Are you buying a property with enough space for more children, should you choose to have them? With this, you also need to spend time considering whether you want your kids to have their own space, or if you’re happy for them to share a bedroom. It’s also worth thinking about your outside space and if there is room to extend your house in the future, should the need arise. An extension was a great thing for my home when I came actually came round to sell my house as well, as a lot of value was added. See, always thinking ahead.

Ease To Move Around

With a young family, it’s useful to consider how easy it is to get from room to room, and up and down stairs. A family home based over four floors can be exhausting for a new mom and limits a child’s independence if they can’t go upstairs alone. A more open plan house with as few stairs as possible is much safer and more convenient for a young family.

Happy house hunting! Don’t stress too much; there will always be something out there.

Add Some Sparkle To Your Christmas Dinner Parties With These Fabulous Tips

I’m sure that you will already be getting lots of invites to various parties and special engagements for this coming festive period. But why not host your very own dinner party this year? It’s a great way to get all of your closest friends and family together. And it gives you the chance to cook for others if you aren’t hosting people for Christmas dinner this year. You can, of course, use all these tips for your Christmas dinner if you are hosting, though! Hopefully, the following tips will be able to add some extra sparkle to your Christmas dinner parties this year!

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Keep It Simple

You need to keep your dinner party menu very simple. Otherwise, you will just get super stressed and could end up in the kitchen all night rather than mingling with your guests! Seeing as we are gearing up for Christmas, you may consider making a roast dinner. These can be very simple, especially if you prepare as much as possible in advance. But seeing as people will be eating a lot of roast dinners over the next few weeks, you may prefer to do something different. A great alternative could be a curry. These are easy to prepare in advance, and you can simply reheat it once the guests arrive. You also need to think about your menu well in advance of the party. Don’t just cook something that you found on Google on the same day of your dinner party. There is a big chance that something could go wrong! It’s a good idea to cook a meal that you are very familiar with and could cook blindfolded!

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Think About Decorations

Your dining table will need to really look the part! There are some easy ways you can add some sophistication to it without blowing your budget. One of the best additions to any dining table is a couple of candles. Then you can dim your dining room lights slightly to create an intimate dining atmosphere. You should also think about napkins as well. Go for cloth napkins rather than cheap paper ones. You can learn how to fold your napkins by looking at guides online. And don’t forget about the cutlery! Make sure that you place all the starter cutlery on the outside of cutlery for the main course. If you are giving everyone a bread plate, make sure that it goes on the left-hand side of their setting. Don’t forget that everyone will need two glasses for water and wine too!

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Add Some Music

One of the best ways to create a convivial ambience for your dinner party is to play some background music. It’s a good idea to make a playlist on Spotify before your guests arrive. That way, you don’t have to keep on getting up to change the music. If you are holding your dinner party in December, it might be a nice idea to create a festive playlist with lots of Christmas tunes. When you put it on, don’t have it too loud. It needs to be fairly quiet so that everyone is able to talk over it. It is also a good idea to try and choose songs that don’t have any lyrics in them. That way, your guests won’t be distracted by them.

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Think About A Seating Plan

It could be a good idea to create a seating plan for your guests. However, if you have invited eight or fewer people, then you should let choose their own seats. But for more guests, it is perfectly fine to have a seating plan. It is often a good idea to seat spouses next to each other. It is also worth mixing up shy people with people who extroverts. That is because the extroverts will chat with anyone, and can help to bring shy guests out of their shells. This will help keep the conversation going! Another great dinner party tip is not to invite all strangers. Make sure that at least a couple of your guests know each other. That way, you aren’t the only person who has something in common with the guests.

Dinner parties are a great excuse to catch up with your friends and relatives. Especially right now in the run up to Christmas! And, as this blog post shows, they don’t have to be too complicated. As long as you are well-prepared, dinner parties can be a really fun occasion, even for the host! Hopefully, you now know plenty of tips to make the evening simple and stress-free!