My Holiday Wish List

Good morning and happy new week!  I hope this will be a fabulous one for you all!  I have lots planned so will be a busy bee again.  The boys are now with their Dad for the next two weeks of the holidays and I am missing them lots already.  Saying goodbye never gets any easier.

I am delighted to share a post with you today which has been sponsored by www.holidaygems.co.uk

Holiday Gems specialise in holidays closer to home, and offer a wide range of destinations which will entice anyone!  They are currently running a campaign about popular holiday attractions and landmarks – such as water parks like Siam Park in Tenerife and the preserved, walled, medieval Old Town of Alcudia.

Me and Ste have been unable to travel abroad since getting together due to our health issues meaning the cost of travel insurance is very high.  I love exploring new places though and have previously been to America, Greece, Spain, the Canary Islands, France and the Caribbean.  A holiday abroad is definitely on the cards as soon as we can afford to take one though.  Ste has never been out of the UK before and I cannot wait to take him on a plane.  I thought I would share five places on our travel wish list that I would love to visit over the next few years, and are available through Holiday Gems

SPAIN – COSTA DORADO

The boys have asked about going to Spain recently.  I think some of their friends have been and they want to see what it is like for themselves!  I have visited Spain a few times and love that you can get such good weather and the flight is relatively short and ideal for little ones.

“Costa Dorada offers such fantastic beaches that it is unsurprising that most people simply enjoy relaxing on the beach and soaking up the glorious sunshine. For those looking for a little bit more excitement Costa Dorada has excellent facilities for a number of water sports including scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and jet-skiing also popular are boat trips sailing along the miles of glorious coastline. The region offers excellent options for entertainment for those on family holidays with several aqua parks and theme parks including Portaventura, one of the most popular theme parks in Europe.

For those interested in history there are numerous castles, forts and other medieval remains in the region with an excellent history museum in the resort of Cambrils. Other resorts like Salou offer more modern entertainment with theme parks, restaurants, bars and a vibrant nightlife. In some of the more traditional Spanish villages visitors can experience a true taste of Spain relaxing in the laid back atmosphere of small restaurants enjoying the tapas, fresh seafood and wine and whiling the hours away.”

Me and Ste both have an interest in history so the chance to explore the castles and medieval ruins is very appealing.  We also love a good theme park and so all four of us would have a fantastic time at the Portaventura park as well!  Riley is such a daredevil and the bigger the roller-coaster the better for him!

MAJORCA – THE BALEARICS

Another relatively short flight time and popular destination for families.  Majorca offers great weather in the Summer and lots of fab beaches.

“Things To Do As A Family

Arta Caves

If your family are up for adventure, take a trip to the limestone cliffs of Cap Vermell, which is near Canyamel Beach on the east coast. Lights and music accompany this trip through a labyrinthine network of caverns, with a collection of stalagmites and stalactites resembling creepy silhouettes, funny vegetables and even ghosts.

Katmandu Park

This theme park, voted the best in Majorca and the second best in Spain, is found on the Calvia Beach area of Magaluf. Experience the unexpected with exciting rides, 4D encounters and splash park fun.

Palma Aquarium

A trip to the gorgeous city of Palma is a must – and a visit to the Aquarium should be top of the list on every Majorca family holiday. Wander through the tunnels around the 55 tanks which contain around 700 different species of marine creatures and marvel at the sharks, rays and colourful tropical fish.”

They also have their own version of Go Ape in Santa Ponsa, Jungleparc, which the boys would love.  Full of platforms reached by a range of zip wires, ropes and bridges it would be perfect for an adventure packed day out!  The aquarium sounds amazing too.  I love that there is so much to do for families here.  Although a day or two relaxing at the beach is fun, we do like being kept busy on our holidays

MARRAKESH – MOROCCO

Obviously a slightly longer flight and sa great place to head to for some winter sun.  This is somewhere I have always wanted to visit as I would love to experience the food, culture and visit the ‘souks’.

“Known as the ‘Red City’, Marrakech is famous for its colourful array of crafts, materials, spices and more, on sale in the Jemaa El Fna, and its neighbouring Grand Souk.  The Koutoubia Mosque is another prominent symbol of Marrakech for it stands proudly above the many other colourful and majestic buildings, being visible from almost anywhere in the city. Walking around the exterior of the Koutoubia and marvelling at its structure is something many tourists will include as part of their break. It is also a fantastic landmark used as a base or meeting point for further tours around the city.

Besides walking tours, shopping and sightseeing grand palaces and gardens, Marrakech also attracts visitors for its excellent array of food and dining options. There are street cafes, restaurants, food stalls and an excellent night life and atmosphere to complement. Music is key to Moroccan entertainment and many bars will stay open late in the tourist areas.”

There are definitely family friendly destinations in Morocco, Agadir probably offering more for children travelling with you.  However, this is somewhere I have always wanted to visit with the children when they are older, or as an adults only holiday.  I would be terrible at bartering but the souk markets have always held appeal for me.  Me and Ste both enjoy our cooking too and it would be great too explore the street cafes and stalls for a real taste of Morocco.

DUBROVNIK – CROATIA

When I was younger one of my favourite Derby County football players was Igor Stimac who came from Croatia and it has been somewhere I have wanted to visit ever since!  In recent years it has become a popular holiday destination from the UK, with a relatively short flight of around 2 hours and a host of beautiful spots to visit.

“From Gothic palaces to Roman cathedrals, Dubrovnik is steeped in history. Wander the city’s winding cobbled streets and you’ll come across many diverse architectural styles. One landmark you cannot miss on your visit is Dubrovnik’s Ancient Walls – the vast structure was built in medieval times to protect the city.”

As I have said previously, both me and Ste have a huge interest in history and Ste, in particular, loves anything to do with the Roman period.  Dubrovnik’s Roman cathedrals would definitely be a huge appeal for him!

EGYPT

As history buffs, Egypt has to be on the list.  The flight is around 6 hours and the weather slightly hotter so probably not ideal for families with very young children, but we would love it.

“The Ancient Egyptians were a true powerhouse in their prime, comparable to the influence of the Roman Empire. Because of this there is a dense population of mind blowing historical monuments in the country, which makes sightseeing a huge part of holidays in Egypt.

The most famous city in Egypt for history is the capital of Cairo. Located just outside of Cairo and visible from some of the closer Egypt hotels is the Giza Pyramid Complex. This is where the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is located, along with two other pyramids. Not far from the Giza Pyramid Complex is the Great Sphinx of Giza, the largest monolith statue in the world.

Inside Cairo itself is the Egyptian Museum, which specialises in Ancient Egyptian artifacts. Located in the Egyptian Museum is the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun. This 11kg gold death mask is one of the most famous symbols of Ancient Egypt. All of these experiences, coupled with the fact that Cairo itself is a world class city, makes the capital an ideal destination for Egypt holidays.

Away from Cairo, the city of Luxor, known as Thebes in ancient times, is a must see for history enthusiasts on holidays to Egypt. As well as containing the Luxor and Karnak Temples, Luxor is home to both the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, where Pharaohs and their wives were buried in tombs after pyramids fell out of common use.”

Leo did a huge school project on Egypt last year and loved speaking to my Grandad about when he and my Grandma visited Egypt around 30 years ago now!  The pyramids hold a strange fascination with many people and would be an absolutely amazing place to visit.  The beaches are absolutely spectacular too and fans of water sports would be well catered for.  Many of the hotels have private beaches that lead straight off the hotel complexes which is perfect for popping back for shade, food and drinks!

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 holiday wish list.  How does yours compare?  Let me know in the comments somewhere you would love to visit soon.  Thanks to Holiday Gems for sponsoring this post and do go and check out their website if you are looking for your next foreign holiday to book!

nat

The Spoonie Mummy Reviews – The Selfie Bag

Good morning and happy Thursday!  I know this is not my usual blogging day but I wanted this post to go up today rather than yesterday as today is National Selfie Day!

selfie

The Selfie Bag

I was sent this bag to test out from the lovely folks at Cotton Bag Co.  The bags come in two different designs and are a great size to fit in everything you need.  They contain special inner pockets, one of which is zipped – perfect for your phone and selfie stick.  What makes the bag truly unique is the fold out reflector sheet, which helps give your selfies that professionally lit look on the go!  The bag also comes with a little booklet  with tips on how to get the perfect selfie.  It contains lots of advice, some from the queen of the selfie herself, Kim Kardashian!

selfie3

What I Thought

I really love the bag, it is a great size and really strong.  I have been using it to carry round my university folders, diary and blogging notebooks and the bag has no signs of wear and tear.  The design is lovely and looks good with any outfit.

The reflector sheet is really handy when I am out and about and want to take a selfie.  I post a lot across my social media and this definitely helps improves my confidence in posting a selfie. I am no great photographer so anything that can help is a bonus.

This bag is perfect for fellow bloggers – room for everything you need, the strength to carry all your notebooks and great designs!

Cotton Bag Co.

Cotton Bag Co have a great range of cotton, canvas, jute, woven and non woven bags.  I love the tagline – no plastic please, we are British!  Good quality, reusable bags are in demand at the moment and you can definitely find what you are looking for here, with a wide range of stylish designs to choose from.  The Selfie Bag costs £9.99 and I think the quality of it, never mind the extra features, make it worth the price.  You can choose between these two different designs.

Where To Buy

Visit the Cotton Bag Co website

Buy The Selfie Bag

I hope you all enjoyed this review and have a happy National Selfie Day!  Look forward to seeing lots of beautiful selfies online today and in the future

nat

Gardening With Kids

Friday is here at last.  I hope that you have all had a super week and are planning an even better weekend.

I have started to do a weekly vlog over on my YouTube channel and the first one went live yesterday.  If you aren’t already subscribed I would love you to go and check it out and have a look.

Check out Weekly Vlog #1

Today I wanted to share some garden friendly ides of things you can do with the kids.  Mine have loved helping us plant seeds this year and we were lucky enough to be sent one of the fabulous gardening subscription boxes from Mud & Bloom this year too.  My boys are very pleased with heir green fingered activities of late – Gardner’s by name, gardener;s by nature it seems!

Mud & Bloom Subscription Boxes

It was great to be contacted by Anja from Mud & Bloom and asked to try out one of her gardening subscription boxes for kids.  Subscription boxes seem really common at the moment, but I liked that this stepped away from the crafty type that there are so many of and encouraged kids to get outside in the fresh air.  The box we were sent contained:

  • Basil and tomato seeds
  • Instruction cards for seeds
  • Compost blocks
  • Gardening quiz card
  • Acrylic paints and brush
  • Rock painting activity card

I think the boxes are fantastic value at just £7.95 a month which includes your monthly box and delivery charges.  The compost blocks are a fab idea and mean you do not need to worry about having compost in to get the seedlings started.  Just add water and they expand so you can add the seeds!  You can also start growing them in little yoghurt pots for example, so perfect for children who like to recycle!

The boys really enjoyed planting their seeds and we have also planted sunflower seeds, poppies, sweet peas and strawberries this year so far.  We are also planning on growing potatoes and peas.

Rock painting, hiding and seeking has been really popular recently and there are lots of groups on Facebook sharing ideas on places to hide and find them in your local area.  The boys found their first rock on a scooter ride and were really happy, although Leo wasn’t too sure about re-hiding it as he wanted to keep t.  They love hunting for good rocks to paint on dog walks and trips to the park, so the paints went down really well for that!

Overall I think the box offers a great range of activities and items at a brilliant price.  The boys could do the activities together meaning that one box was enough for them both and I wouldn’t have to make multiple purchases as with some boxes, so they could have one each.

Visit Mud & Bloom to see how to sign up and receive your first box

mud

Other Fun Garden Based Activities For Kids

Sunflower Growing Competition

We like to plant sunflowers every year and see who can grow the biggest one!  Leo is very diligent about watering and generally ends up responsible for Riley’s too, so he normally accepts the win!  This year we chose a different variety – Teddy Bear Sunflowers – which have large fuzzy heads and we are looking forward to see what they look like when they flower.

Great for encouraging maths skills – measuring and counting

Potato Growing

Growing potatoes is a pretty easy thing to do, so brings good success.  As they grow under the soil, children get really excited when it is time to dig them up and see how many have grown

Great for encouraging counting skills

Podding Peas

My Mum and Dad grow peas every year and one of my boys favourite things to do is help them to pod them (and eat them)!

Great for encouraging kids to eat vegetables and fruit as they see where they have come from and have helped to grow them

Mucky Children = Happy Children

Isn’t that what they say?  It is certainly true with my two, they love spending time outside in the garden, doing a range of different things.  Riley really loves the large chalkboard we have on the side of the shed and will practice writing and do drawings on there for everyone.  I picked up the blackboard paint from Wilkos and painted three quarters of one side of the shed and it is a popular activity for any of the kids who visit us!

Gardening gives you such a great scope for discussion with children, teaching them everything from growing cycles to how to take care and be responsible for something to discussion about the weather.  I hope you have been inspired by my suggestions and with the Summer holidays coming up, give some of them a try.  Don’t forget to visit the Mud & Bloom site and check out their boxes as I am sure they will be very popular!

natki

Best Boot Forward | Indigo Wilderness

 

The Spoonie Mummy Reviews – Fay Farm Warmiing Muscle Rub

Good morning, it is hump day and we are half way through the week already!  Today I have a review to share of a product I was lucky enough to be sent all the way from America.

The Fay Farm

The Fay Farm is a family run farm in Washington, USA.  They use the milk from the goats they care for and the herbs they grow to create natural  body care products.  None of their products contain parabens, alcohol, mineral oils or phthalates.  A few years ago, Fay Farm started researching the benefits of Hemp Oil Extracts, finding it was useful for pain relief and as a mood lifter and anti anxiety.  They then began developing some of their most popular products in new formulations with the Hemp Oil contained.  This line launched in 2014 and is legal in all 50 states in the USA and 28 countries outside of America.

Warming Muscle Rub

 

I was kindly asked what product I would like to try from their range and whether I wanted the hemp oil version, or the version without.  I opted for the Warming Muscle Rub as I thought it would be perfect for the aches and pains caused by my arthritis.  I also opted for the version with the hemp oil extract as I have seen many studies suggesting positive results when used to treat pain.  I did have to check first that the UK was one of the countries that this could be legally used in!

The Fay Farm’s HOE Warming Muscle Rub is one of their best selling products.  It claims to soothe the muscles and other aches and pains.  You rub the product into the affected area and a little goes a long way.  It also says that it can help relieve the pain of migraines, cluster and tension headaches but I haven’t tried this out as (luckily) I haven’t had one while testing the product.

What I Liked

The part about not needing much is definitely true.  This is like a balm and just a small amount covers large areas of the body.  It was really useful on my painful joints too, particularly when I used it on my elbows and feet.  It did not seem as effective when I used it on my knees but as the problems I am having with them is more to do with my bones I think maybe that is why.  I was having a particularly bad flare up last week which was affecting my elbows very badly.  They were extremely sore and swollen.  The rub helped ease the pain and increase my range of movement when used in the morning and evening, I was really impressed.  The smell is not strong or unpleasant and it doesn’t leave a residue on your skin so I could put it on in the morning even when I was going out that day.  Even though the product came from America, it arrived quickly and was well packaged, although at first I struggled to get the tin open as my grip isn’t so good.  Ste to the rescue!

What I Didn’t Like

I didn’t feel any warming effect from the rub, even though it is has warming in the name.  On reading some more information in the product description online, it does say that the rub contains both warming and cooling ingredients so I assume it has whichever effect is needed on your skin.  I also did not find it as effective on my knees as other places.  I will definitely give it a go the next time I have a migraine as they get pretty awful and I would try anything to help.

Is It Worth It?

Definitely!  I will get this again as I found it really helped, especially on my elbows.  Not much can give me a great deal of relief when they are playing up.  I would maybe give the smaller one a try if you want to see if it works for you, but I will now purchase the bigger one to save having to reorder multiple times and spend more on postage.  A little does go a long way and I do think it offers great value for money

How To Order

For the HOE version click here
For the normal version (no hemp) click here

 

I hope you enjoyed my review of the product.  Let me know what else you use and if you would consider purchasing this or would like to ask me any more questions.  I think when I next have to order the rub I might buy another product to try and I will be sure to let you know how that works too!

nat

I received this item to review as part of the Chronic Illness Blogger Network.  All opinions are my own

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Happy Hump Day!  Hope you are having a wonderful week so far?  Please excuse my absence.  I was extremely busy getting my examination assignment finished for uni last week and I have not been too well over the weekend so took Monday as a rest day.

Today I am back with lots of great ideas for your lovely Dad’s, Grandads and whoever else you may be celebrating this Father’s Day.  I hope you like  my ideas and are filled with inspiration.

GIFTPUP.COM*

Giftpup offer some amazing personalised gifts for those special men in your life.  We received this personalised pint glass from them and the boys gave it to Ste a little early as they wanted to cheer him up when he wasn’t feeling very well.  It arrived quickly and was well packaged so it was not damaged.  The personalisation is really good and Ste loved it.

gp

I love the fact that Giftpup has a wide selection and also offers Step-Dad gifts as they aren’t available everywhere.  I really liked this cushion from them which can be personalised in so many different ways, including with photographs.  And which Dad or Grandad doesn’t have their own spot on the sofa where other people aren’t allowed to sit?!

 

 

MAINLAND MENSWEAR*

Mainland Menswear is a leading menswear retailer offering a huge range of brands, including designer ones.  I ordered this gorgeous wallet set for my own Dad (I hope he isn’t reading this!) as I liked the tartan detail which I think he will love due to his Scottish roots.  Delivery was really quick and the customer service I received was fab.

 

 

Order your wallet set by clicking here

ORDNANCE SURVEY MAPS

Do you have a geography loving Dad or a place that is special to you both or to him?  Ordnance Survey offers the opportunity to order custom made, traditional OS maps.  Prices start from £16.95 and can also include photo personalisation.  Maybe choose a memorable holiday destination or his favourite fishing spot for a really unique gift which can be treasured.

The Useful Book of Gadgets, Gizmos and Apps

A great gift for the Dad who thinks he knows everything!  Five star rated and full of information for the technology ‘geek’ who will adore this low-cost gift full of great ideas.

gizmo guide

Find out more about then book and it’s author by clicking here

DOBELL*

Dobell is ‘The Smart Man’s choice’ and offers a fantastic and unique range of ties and cuff-links among other things at fantastic prices.  I ordered these amazing PS4 controller cuff-links for Ste as it is a great gift which he can keep and it is something that he and the boys love to do together.  I was really impressed with the speedy delivery and the fab packaging.  Ste is going to love them!

 

 

You can order these cuff-links here and TODAY ONLY they have a 20% sale offer with the discount code DAD20 so it is the perfect time to pick up a gift while saving money!

SPECK

Speck has a fab range of phone cases and are all about a slim design with maximum protection.  Their cases are able to withstand a drop of up to 3 metres.  If your Dad is anything like Ste, this is a must have!

 

 

GIFTSONLINE4U*

GiftsOnline4U offer a huge range of personalised Father’s Day gifts..  They have a fantastic range of watches for both the wrist and some gorgeous pocket watches.  These can be made that bit more special by having the back engraved with a message of your choice.  I have ordered this watch for Ste from the kids and have had a message put on the back from them.  Even with personalisation I was really impressed with the delivery time.  When it arrived I was stunned, it is even better in real life than the website pictures show.  I can’t wait for him to see it as I think he will love it and be really touched.  He is a huge watch fan but the additional engraving will mean such a lot to him.

See more of the range –  ‘Engraved Watches’

Other great gift ideas on the website include personalised alcohol gift sets for fans of everything from gin to whisky to even a home brew kit for the Dad fancying a try of beer brewing for himself!  They also have some fab little tools which can also be personalised for the handy, DIY Dads and Grandads out there.  Free delivery is available on all their products and next day delivery is also available on 98% of their personalised products – perfect for the last minute shopper!

WILKINSON SWORD HYDRO 5 SENSE RAZOR*

Perfect for the Dad’s who like to stay trim and dapper, Wilkinson Sword have bought out a new razor just in time for Father’s Day.  The Hydro 5 Sense razor will be perfect with a great range of features including shock absorbing technology which helps adjust the pressure on the face for the ultimate close shave.

razor.png

VORREI FATHER’S DAY HAMPERS & GIFTS

Perfect for the foodie Dad, these amazing Italian food hampers contain a great selection of food and drink sourced direct from Italy.  The photos on here literally made my mouth water – never mind the men, I would love a bit of this!  Many of the hampers are organic and there are vegetarian and vegan options available.

hamper

thortful.com*

I was absolutely delighted to be contacted by this website as I had a real giggle viewing their cards!  Me and my brothers often like to find our parent’s the funniest cards we can and thortful had lots of fab potential cards for my Dad.  I eventually selected this one and love the special options you could select to make your card that extra bit special.  I went for this chocolate sampler idea but there are a few different ones.

 

They have also offered a discount code for my wonderful readers.  To get a 20% discount use the code SPOONIEMUMMY at checkout

T&Cs apply – valid until 08.06.18, new customers only, does not include postage

MINIMASTER FOOTBALL GAME

A great game for Dad’s and kid’s alike.  Perfect for football fan’s to recreate the ‘beautiful’ game.  The footballer figures can also be painted so they can be designed to wear Dad’s favourite team colours.

footie game

NEIL MARTIN BOXMAKER

Neil Martin is a Scottish, bespoke, wooden box maker.  They are crafted from sustainable sourced timber, predominately Scottish hardwoods.  They can be lined with your choice from a wide range of materials.  A gorgeous present for the Dad who has everything but needs somewhere to keep it!

 

 

 

 

You can also visit their Etsy store here

BEST DAD…EVER

Last but not least I picked Ste up this t-shirt to wear on Father’s Day from Peacocks.  It was just £6 and I thought it would be perfect for the day!

img_20180606_124015.jpg

 

I hope you like my selections, let me know in the comments below which is your favourite and if you order any.  And to all the Dad readers out there, I hope you have a fantastic day and get thoroughly spoilt in a couple of weeks!

nat

Those marked with a star may have sent a product in return for being included.  This has not affected my views in any way and all opinions are my own