Pages

Search This Blog

Popular Posts


I think Instagram is a platform that everyone has an opinion on. And, if you are a blogger or content creator, chances are you may have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the app. I mean, Instagram is huge and there are so many opportunities arising for anyone and everyone who has a decent following on there. And, more importantly, it is an awesome way to interact with other creators and make new friends. There is such a sense of community on Instagram and I often feel so inspired by what everyone else is creating. But, at the same time, it has its downsides. There's the algorithm that makes you feel like your images are being seen by no-one. The unpredictability of what will do well. And - this is a big one for me - the pressure to produce perfect content and post consistently good images every single day. It can really feel like a lot sometimes. 

So, I recently did something to combat this slight negativity that I was feeling about Instagram and that was creating an 'ugly Instagram'. Basically an account where I can dump all my pics that I don't think are insta-worthy but kinda want to have somewhere to look back on in the future - almost like a virtual photo album of hazy holiday snaps, silly selfies, and any other ridiculousness that deserves to be seen by the world (like Ava with an ice cream beard). I don't really edit these snaps. I don't think about timing or likes or engagement. I don't care about how many followers I have. And I don't try to create cute, punny captions or say anything insightful. I just post. And then I get on with my life. 

And I love it. It feels so good not having to worry about a theme or whether the algorithm will cap how many people see this post. It is just really nice not to care but, at the same time, know that I am not negatively impacting my chances of success. Because I still have a typical, cute insta with all the nicely edited pics on there but now I also have a place to dump all the real life shots too. 


The whole thing got me thinking about how ugly instas should be a thing. There are so many bloggers and influencers that I follow who post the most beautiful shots everyday but part of me wants to see more of the real them. I want to see the person behind the perfectly curated feed. The real them. The messy, fun, smile so big, having the time of their life them. I feel like a lot of the realness has been lost in the pursuit of aesthetics but maybe ugly instas can bring it back? Here's hoping!

For now though, be sure to follow both my cute insta and ugly insta. And let me know if you create an ugly insta for yourself!

What I'm wearing (aff links):
Dress: C&A
Shoes: New Look
Bag: Primark

You may also enjoy:

Why I Created An 'Ugly Insta' & Why You Should Too


I think Instagram is a platform that everyone has an opinion on. And, if you are a blogger or content creator, chances are you may have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the app. I mean, Instagram is huge and there are so many opportunities arising for anyone and everyone who has a decent following on there. And, more importantly, it is an awesome way to interact with other creators and make new friends. There is such a sense of community on Instagram and I often feel so inspired by what everyone else is creating. But, at the same time, it has its downsides. There's the algorithm that makes you feel like your images are being seen by no-one. The unpredictability of what will do well. And - this is a big one for me - the pressure to produce perfect content and post consistently good images every single day. It can really feel like a lot sometimes. 

So, I recently did something to combat this slight negativity that I was feeling about Instagram and that was creating an 'ugly Instagram'. Basically an account where I can dump all my pics that I don't think are insta-worthy but kinda want to have somewhere to look back on in the future - almost like a virtual photo album of hazy holiday snaps, silly selfies, and any other ridiculousness that deserves to be seen by the world (like Ava with an ice cream beard). I don't really edit these snaps. I don't think about timing or likes or engagement. I don't care about how many followers I have. And I don't try to create cute, punny captions or say anything insightful. I just post. And then I get on with my life. 

And I love it. It feels so good not having to worry about a theme or whether the algorithm will cap how many people see this post. It is just really nice not to care but, at the same time, know that I am not negatively impacting my chances of success. Because I still have a typical, cute insta with all the nicely edited pics on there but now I also have a place to dump all the real life shots too. 


The whole thing got me thinking about how ugly instas should be a thing. There are so many bloggers and influencers that I follow who post the most beautiful shots everyday but part of me wants to see more of the real them. I want to see the person behind the perfectly curated feed. The real them. The messy, fun, smile so big, having the time of their life them. I feel like a lot of the realness has been lost in the pursuit of aesthetics but maybe ugly instas can bring it back? Here's hoping!

For now though, be sure to follow both my cute insta and ugly insta. And let me know if you create an ugly insta for yourself!

What I'm wearing (aff links):
Dress: C&A
Shoes: New Look
Bag: Primark

You may also enjoy:

I am currently sat at the table in the kitchen of our top floor flat in Bochum. I have a mug of West Country hot choc in my hand which I brought from home and am trying to fight the urge to rip open yet another packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Our day has been filled with meetings of all kinds. Visa meetings. Registration meetings. Doctors meetings. A day very much like every day that has gone before it over the past month. So, what better time than now to sit down and share with you guys a few things we have learnt over the past month. 

Everything here is done by the book
Being from the UK, I am used to there being systems in place for certain things (like opening a bank account or applying for a passport) but the systems here make the UK look like a cool uncle that is one or two homebrew ciders away from selling his house and moving into his van to live a life that isn't controlled by the man. Germans seem to love a good system. I mean, even to sign up to a gas company when you move into a new house, you have to go to a government building with all of your documents and rental agreement and gas meter details and register yourself as the new occupant and have the previous occupants also go there and remove their names from the account. There's no cutting corners either. Everything is very above board. 

Doner kebabs are big
During our first two weeks here, we basically lived off of fast food. It is cheap, accessible, plentiful, and doesn't require the use of a kitchen. However, I got a very bad stomach because of it which led to a lot of doctors appointments, hospital visits, and a round of antibiotics. So, yknow, enjoy in moderation. Anyway, the biggest thing here has to be kebabs - they are absolutely everywhere. And seem to be something that has come along with Turkish immigration but has now become a bit of a staple here in Germany. Despite everything, Isaac still can't get enough of them. But, for me, I will be sticking to things my stomach understands - like French bread smothered in butter and huge chunks of watermelon.


Cheddar cheese doesn't exist here
This has been my most heartbreaking discovery so far - cheddar cheese just isn't really a thing here. They have edam and gouda and a lot of soft cheese but nothing even close to cheddar. Which is very difficult for me because I have been craving cheese and salad cream for a while now. I mean, it got to the point where I was so desperate that I tracked down a cheese shop, went in and announced to the man (in German) that I am English and in desperate need of some cheddar. I managed to leave with a chunk of Jersey cheese that wasn't too far off but only after paying almost 5 euros for the privilege. 

Everything is closed on Sundays
Yknow how in the UK shops shut around 4 on a Sunday and you get that mid-afternoon panic when you realise you literally have no food in the house and have to literally sprint to a Tesco? Well, Germany have taken it one step further. Literally no shops are open on a Sunday. Not even food shops. The only things that open are restaurants and kiosks which are kinda like off-licenses but don't tend to stock much in the way of proper food and drinks - just crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks, alcohol, and cigarettes. Not really a combination of things you would choose to feed your two year old, that's for sure. This means you have to be sure you have milk in the fridge on a Saturday. Stock up like you're heading towards some kinda apocalypse. Else you will find yourself doing an hour round journey searching for a petrol station that has a mini shop attached to it that happens to be open. And paying 3 euros for a litre of milk at said mini shop. 

Childbirth here is a bit different
The whole medical system is different to the UK in that it is an insurance based system. However, as I learnt from my doner kebabs from hell fiasco, you can get a doctors referral for a hospital stay which flouts any fees. But, other than needing insurance, the maternity side of things is pretty similar. You have a midwife who deals with all your health concerns. You have a little booklet all about the pregnancy that has all your medical info in. Oh, and most people labour without any pain relief. Umm what?? Apparently, you have the option of an epidural which a large number of women take (which I already know I don't want) and elective C-sections are a lot more common here. What isn't common here is gas and air (aka the only thing that got me through my first labour). So, cue me worrying tirelessly for the next two months over how I am actually going to bring this child into the world without gas and air, an epidural, or anything stronger than just a paracetamol.


What I'm Wearing (aff links):
Dress: Mango
Jacket: Topshop
Bag: Primark
Shoes: New Look

You may also enjoy:

My First Impressions of Life In Germany


I am currently sat at the table in the kitchen of our top floor flat in Bochum. I have a mug of West Country hot choc in my hand which I brought from home and am trying to fight the urge to rip open yet another packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Our day has been filled with meetings of all kinds. Visa meetings. Registration meetings. Doctors meetings. A day very much like every day that has gone before it over the past month. So, what better time than now to sit down and share with you guys a few things we have learnt over the past month. 

Everything here is done by the book
Being from the UK, I am used to there being systems in place for certain things (like opening a bank account or applying for a passport) but the systems here make the UK look like a cool uncle that is one or two homebrew ciders away from selling his house and moving into his van to live a life that isn't controlled by the man. Germans seem to love a good system. I mean, even to sign up to a gas company when you move into a new house, you have to go to a government building with all of your documents and rental agreement and gas meter details and register yourself as the new occupant and have the previous occupants also go there and remove their names from the account. There's no cutting corners either. Everything is very above board. 

Doner kebabs are big
During our first two weeks here, we basically lived off of fast food. It is cheap, accessible, plentiful, and doesn't require the use of a kitchen. However, I got a very bad stomach because of it which led to a lot of doctors appointments, hospital visits, and a round of antibiotics. So, yknow, enjoy in moderation. Anyway, the biggest thing here has to be kebabs - they are absolutely everywhere. And seem to be something that has come along with Turkish immigration but has now become a bit of a staple here in Germany. Despite everything, Isaac still can't get enough of them. But, for me, I will be sticking to things my stomach understands - like French bread smothered in butter and huge chunks of watermelon.


Cheddar cheese doesn't exist here
This has been my most heartbreaking discovery so far - cheddar cheese just isn't really a thing here. They have edam and gouda and a lot of soft cheese but nothing even close to cheddar. Which is very difficult for me because I have been craving cheese and salad cream for a while now. I mean, it got to the point where I was so desperate that I tracked down a cheese shop, went in and announced to the man (in German) that I am English and in desperate need of some cheddar. I managed to leave with a chunk of Jersey cheese that wasn't too far off but only after paying almost 5 euros for the privilege. 

Everything is closed on Sundays
Yknow how in the UK shops shut around 4 on a Sunday and you get that mid-afternoon panic when you realise you literally have no food in the house and have to literally sprint to a Tesco? Well, Germany have taken it one step further. Literally no shops are open on a Sunday. Not even food shops. The only things that open are restaurants and kiosks which are kinda like off-licenses but don't tend to stock much in the way of proper food and drinks - just crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks, alcohol, and cigarettes. Not really a combination of things you would choose to feed your two year old, that's for sure. This means you have to be sure you have milk in the fridge on a Saturday. Stock up like you're heading towards some kinda apocalypse. Else you will find yourself doing an hour round journey searching for a petrol station that has a mini shop attached to it that happens to be open. And paying 3 euros for a litre of milk at said mini shop. 

Childbirth here is a bit different
The whole medical system is different to the UK in that it is an insurance based system. However, as I learnt from my doner kebabs from hell fiasco, you can get a doctors referral for a hospital stay which flouts any fees. But, other than needing insurance, the maternity side of things is pretty similar. You have a midwife who deals with all your health concerns. You have a little booklet all about the pregnancy that has all your medical info in. Oh, and most people labour without any pain relief. Umm what?? Apparently, you have the option of an epidural which a large number of women take (which I already know I don't want) and elective C-sections are a lot more common here. What isn't common here is gas and air (aka the only thing that got me through my first labour). So, cue me worrying tirelessly for the next two months over how I am actually going to bring this child into the world without gas and air, an epidural, or anything stronger than just a paracetamol.


What I'm Wearing (aff links):
Dress: Mango
Jacket: Topshop
Bag: Primark
Shoes: New Look

You may also enjoy:

It has been a little quiet around here lately. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may already know why. If not, let me fill you in - two weeks ago, we packed everything up into our little car (that we had bought like 3 days before off Gumtree lol) and made the long trek up to Essex, across the channel to Holland, and then on into Germany. Our new home (at least, for now).

When I first announced the move on Instagram, people seemed a bit shocked. It must have all seemed kinda out of the blue but, in reality, it is a move we have been planning for quite a while now. Isaac has been talking about living abroad for a few years now (originally Australia but I had to veto that one because I can't risk being in any kinda proximity to huge spiders or other creepy crawlies - oh, and I wanted to be closer to family) so he starting focusing more on Europe. For a while, Norway was top of our list but, after a little more research, it seemed far too expensive. That is when we started to consider Germany. We visited Berlin last December and absolutely fell in love. We then returned in February as I had a job interview with EasyJet there (which I didn't get *sulks*). However, literally the day before we headed out on that trip in February, we discovered that we were expecting. And that seemed like the end of our plans. Like we would have to wait for at least another year for things to all settle down again.


But the more we carried on with life in our small town, the more stifled we felt. Everything seemed a bit boring. So, we had a talk and decided that maybe the move could still be possible. Despite disliking where I was living at the time, the thought of moving out here whilst being pregnant really terrified me. I was super reluctant but it felt like if we didn't do it now then we never would because we want to be settled somewhere for the kids to go to school in the future. So, we just did it. We said our goodbyes, packed up everything, and left. 

Two weeks later, we are finalising getting a flat in Bochum (kinda near Dortmund) and the work prospects are looking optimistic. Ava is enjoying the abundance of cheap ice cream and playparks. And I am enjoying brushing up on my German (despite being told a few times that I am not very good). 

So, we'll see what the future brings! We don't intend to stay here forever - I would love for the kids to go through British schooling and spend some time in Uganda too - but, for now, it is suiting us not too badly.

We've Moved To Germany!


It has been a little quiet around here lately. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may already know why. If not, let me fill you in - two weeks ago, we packed everything up into our little car (that we had bought like 3 days before off Gumtree lol) and made the long trek up to Essex, across the channel to Holland, and then on into Germany. Our new home (at least, for now).

When I first announced the move on Instagram, people seemed a bit shocked. It must have all seemed kinda out of the blue but, in reality, it is a move we have been planning for quite a while now. Isaac has been talking about living abroad for a few years now (originally Australia but I had to veto that one because I can't risk being in any kinda proximity to huge spiders or other creepy crawlies - oh, and I wanted to be closer to family) so he starting focusing more on Europe. For a while, Norway was top of our list but, after a little more research, it seemed far too expensive. That is when we started to consider Germany. We visited Berlin last December and absolutely fell in love. We then returned in February as I had a job interview with EasyJet there (which I didn't get *sulks*). However, literally the day before we headed out on that trip in February, we discovered that we were expecting. And that seemed like the end of our plans. Like we would have to wait for at least another year for things to all settle down again.


But the more we carried on with life in our small town, the more stifled we felt. Everything seemed a bit boring. So, we had a talk and decided that maybe the move could still be possible. Despite disliking where I was living at the time, the thought of moving out here whilst being pregnant really terrified me. I was super reluctant but it felt like if we didn't do it now then we never would because we want to be settled somewhere for the kids to go to school in the future. So, we just did it. We said our goodbyes, packed up everything, and left. 

Two weeks later, we are finalising getting a flat in Bochum (kinda near Dortmund) and the work prospects are looking optimistic. Ava is enjoying the abundance of cheap ice cream and playparks. And I am enjoying brushing up on my German (despite being told a few times that I am not very good). 

So, we'll see what the future brings! We don't intend to stay here forever - I would love for the kids to go through British schooling and spend some time in Uganda too - but, for now, it is suiting us not too badly.



We all have that friend that we never know what to buy for. They already have everything they could ever need and, when their birthday comes around, you are absolutely at a loss. But a great option - if they are into jewellery - is to consider their birthstone. It shows that you really took the time to choose something personal to them. 

July babies are true summer babies - a cancer at heart - and their birthstone really reflects that. The ruby is a beautiful, rich gem with a bold colour. It would even be perfect as an engagement ring for someone whose birthday is in July!


The July Birthstone: Ruby

Ruby is a beautiful stone steeped in meaning and good fortune. A ruby for centuries has been regarded as the stone of passion, courage and protection. Ever since 200 B.C, this precious stone was traded for valuable goods as they were deemed to bring about good luck and fortune to the owner.

Throughout history they were used for protection and to symbolise new life. Moreover, if your friend or family member knows anything about this birthstone and the meaning it carries, they will be thrilled to see it. The unique engagement rings you can get from Certified Diamond Network are truly one of kind. They feature a range of precious gemstones in a variety of cuts and shapes so you can choose the perfect one for your loved one.

The Ruby Shade

Ruby is a beautiful colour that immediately catches the eyes. It has power, strength and depth. Moreover, it looks great in a number of types of jewellery from necklaces to bracelets and rings. This means it really depends on what your receiver enjoys the most from their jewellery or maybe even what they are lacking from their current collection.

Rubies look like a royal red colour and the darker the ruby is, the more value it has in the market. However, some individuals tend to prefer the brighter and lighter ruby shades so this really comes down to personal preference.

The ruby shade is also very durable and is marked as a 9.0 on the durability scale meaning that they are great for an everyday wear. So if you wish to get your loved one who is born in July a ruby ring, you can do so without fear the stone is too delicate or prone to scratches. To know more about birthstones, a quick search on Google should lead you to articles providing the information you need.

Buying A Ruby

Rubies aren’t graded like other precious gemstones. This means it’s best to do your research before on the stones’ properties to get a good understanding of the quality of the ring first and foremost. Rubies are great as you can also buy stones at the lower end of the scale depending on the carat you choose. Just getting one-carat can have you looking at spending a few hundred dollars and it will still be great quality.

The ruby birthstone also looks great in cushion, round and oval shapes. These are the most common on the market so if your friend or loved one prefers these shapes, you should have no problem tracking one down. 

*This post is published in partnership with Media Buzz

Choosing The Perfect July Birthstone For Rings And Necklaces



We all have that friend that we never know what to buy for. They already have everything they could ever need and, when their birthday comes around, you are absolutely at a loss. But a great option - if they are into jewellery - is to consider their birthstone. It shows that you really took the time to choose something personal to them. 

July babies are true summer babies - a cancer at heart - and their birthstone really reflects that. The ruby is a beautiful, rich gem with a bold colour. It would even be perfect as an engagement ring for someone whose birthday is in July!


The July Birthstone: Ruby

Ruby is a beautiful stone steeped in meaning and good fortune. A ruby for centuries has been regarded as the stone of passion, courage and protection. Ever since 200 B.C, this precious stone was traded for valuable goods as they were deemed to bring about good luck and fortune to the owner.

Throughout history they were used for protection and to symbolise new life. Moreover, if your friend or family member knows anything about this birthstone and the meaning it carries, they will be thrilled to see it. The unique engagement rings you can get from Certified Diamond Network are truly one of kind. They feature a range of precious gemstones in a variety of cuts and shapes so you can choose the perfect one for your loved one.

The Ruby Shade

Ruby is a beautiful colour that immediately catches the eyes. It has power, strength and depth. Moreover, it looks great in a number of types of jewellery from necklaces to bracelets and rings. This means it really depends on what your receiver enjoys the most from their jewellery or maybe even what they are lacking from their current collection.

Rubies look like a royal red colour and the darker the ruby is, the more value it has in the market. However, some individuals tend to prefer the brighter and lighter ruby shades so this really comes down to personal preference.

The ruby shade is also very durable and is marked as a 9.0 on the durability scale meaning that they are great for an everyday wear. So if you wish to get your loved one who is born in July a ruby ring, you can do so without fear the stone is too delicate or prone to scratches. To know more about birthstones, a quick search on Google should lead you to articles providing the information you need.

Buying A Ruby

Rubies aren’t graded like other precious gemstones. This means it’s best to do your research before on the stones’ properties to get a good understanding of the quality of the ring first and foremost. Rubies are great as you can also buy stones at the lower end of the scale depending on the carat you choose. Just getting one-carat can have you looking at spending a few hundred dollars and it will still be great quality.

The ruby birthstone also looks great in cushion, round and oval shapes. These are the most common on the market so if your friend or loved one prefers these shapes, you should have no problem tracking one down. 

*This post is published in partnership with Media Buzz

Ah, the mini break. The little three day getaway where you envisage yourself laying back, totally relaxed, as your beau rows you around in a little boat reading you Keats under the midday sun (yes, basically just that scene from Bridget Jones) or sunning yourself, cocktail in hand, in some tropical paradise with the faint sound of a piano being played somewhere in the background.

However, when you have a toddler, mini breaks are a little different. The row boat has been replaced by giant, garishly bright inflatables that your toddler insisted she needed but will inevitably fall off of every ten seconds - and definitely have a tantrum over when it pops. Where once there were cocktails, there is now a 6 pack of juice cartons (as well as about 20 packets of crisps, at least a kilo of baby wipes that will somehow run out by day 2, and a squashed satsuma that you definitely forgot you'd packed) that you brought with you from home so you didn't have to buy snacks out. And the only piano being played is a miniature toy one that you bought from the gift shop in the hope that it would occupy your slightly heat-exhausted two year old. Spoiler alert: all kids suddenly think they're Beethoven when a mini piano appears but they really, really aren't. Your ears never truly recover.

So, with all this in mind, you may be wondering why on earth you would bother to take your toddler away with you on a mini break. Well, as I learnt on our recent trip to Mallorca, it can also be really lovely (albeit hard work). Ava adored our time away and, as a mummy blogger once told me at an event, the kids are gonna have tantrums at home anyway so why not do it somewhere scenic (with unlimited access to alcohol and ice cream). So, I thought I would sit down and hammer out a brief post detailing all the little tips and tricks I learnt on our holiday so that yours can hopefully run a little smoother.



Research the hotel like you are an undercover agent
It is very tempting to open up a travel site and simply book the cheapest deal that looks kinda alright and has a fairly good guest rating. But hold your horses, you need to do your research first. Is it near the airport? Is it hilly? Is it accessible? Do they have cots? Is it child friendly? Is the pool warm? Is it near the beach? Or a bus stop? Are there any local shops to pick up nappies and milk? Does the room have a fridge to store said milk? We were pretty lucky with our hotel in that it was quite child friendly and close to both the airport and the beach but the pools were freezing cold so we didn't get much use of them. It did come through in one area though - the TVs had 4 English channels and one of those channels was CBeebies. If you find a hotel that has CBeebies on the TV, book it straight away. It was honestly a godsend and my usually pretty wild child who never stops for a minute spent many an hour just lounging on the bed watching Mr Tumble with the sun streaming through the windows as Isaac and I enjoy the peace and ate our weight in Spanish goodies.

Take all the snacks on the plane
Last time we took Ava on a flight, she was around 15 months. Now she is around 19 months and it was totally different. She is confidently walking and is a lot more aware of everything going on. So, getting her to sit down for the two hours between Bristol and Palma de Mallorca was a real challenge. We ended up buying those horrifically overpriced kids snack boxes they sell on the plane just to contain her for a little while and spent the whole time wishing we had packed our own. If in doubt, wack chocolate buttons, some of those Ella Kitchen crisp things, and a box of raisins in a freezer bag and have it with their milk or juice so security can easily tell it is kid stuff. If it doesn't work out for whatever reason, buy a little something from one of the shops once you're through the gates. Maybe something like Haribo that will last longer as they will be chewing it. Also - another plane tip - if you can try to get an aisle seat, it makes life so much easier as you have unlimited access to your bags in the overhead locker and can take your kid on as much trips to the loo as they desire.



Try to stick to some kinda routine
I think that most kids aren't big fans of change and going to a whole new place, sleeping in a new bed, and just being in a totally different environment can be change enough so try to hold onto something from your routine. If you wash them in the morning, keep doing that when you're away. If they go to bed at 8pm, try to stick to that if possible. And, for the love of God, try to keep them eating their fruit and veg because they will only want to eat ice cream and cake for every meal and their bellies can't handle it (speaking from very real, very vivid experience that I wish I hadn't had).

Research kid friendly days out nearby
Try to put together at least a vague itinerary before you head off to your destination. Look at whether there are places like water parks or aquariums you could consider visiting or, if you want a slightly cheaper option, consider how far away the beach is or whether your hotel has a pool. On one of the days of our trip, we just chilled out at the beach and Ava loved playing in the sand. We also packed a ball for her to chase around which she really enjoyed. Your trip doesn't have to be mega structured but having an idea of what you could do if, for instance, it starts raining is always a good idea.

Go to a buffet
We booked our hotel in Mallorca on a bed and breakfast basis but we soon wished we had gone half board as a breakfast buffet and dinner buffet made the whole toddler in a restaurant thing so much easier to deal with. We did attempt to go to some other restaurants in pursuit of things like paella but it was so stressful as the wait was long and the restaurant was small and completely full of young, childless couples who deffo didn't appreciate Ava screeching 'Peppa Pig!!' at me as I fumbled to get my phone to connect to the wifi so she could watch Peppa Pig on YouTube. Buffets are just so much easier. They usually are quite informal. There's no waiting around. You don't have to worry whether your kid will eat what is on offer because they're bound to like at least one thing. And, whilst all the hot young things are off at swanky restaurants eating tapas, you get to relax in a slightly less pressurised environment and not have to listen to a backdrop of tuts as your child rips napkins to shreds and throws cutlery in every direction.


So, those are the few things that my mini break taught me. What are your top tips on how to survive a mini break with a toddler?

You may also enjoy:
Camping With A Baby: The Survival Guide
My Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby

How To Survive A Mini Break With A Toddler


Ah, the mini break. The little three day getaway where you envisage yourself laying back, totally relaxed, as your beau rows you around in a little boat reading you Keats under the midday sun (yes, basically just that scene from Bridget Jones) or sunning yourself, cocktail in hand, in some tropical paradise with the faint sound of a piano being played somewhere in the background.

However, when you have a toddler, mini breaks are a little different. The row boat has been replaced by giant, garishly bright inflatables that your toddler insisted she needed but will inevitably fall off of every ten seconds - and definitely have a tantrum over when it pops. Where once there were cocktails, there is now a 6 pack of juice cartons (as well as about 20 packets of crisps, at least a kilo of baby wipes that will somehow run out by day 2, and a squashed satsuma that you definitely forgot you'd packed) that you brought with you from home so you didn't have to buy snacks out. And the only piano being played is a miniature toy one that you bought from the gift shop in the hope that it would occupy your slightly heat-exhausted two year old. Spoiler alert: all kids suddenly think they're Beethoven when a mini piano appears but they really, really aren't. Your ears never truly recover.

So, with all this in mind, you may be wondering why on earth you would bother to take your toddler away with you on a mini break. Well, as I learnt on our recent trip to Mallorca, it can also be really lovely (albeit hard work). Ava adored our time away and, as a mummy blogger once told me at an event, the kids are gonna have tantrums at home anyway so why not do it somewhere scenic (with unlimited access to alcohol and ice cream). So, I thought I would sit down and hammer out a brief post detailing all the little tips and tricks I learnt on our holiday so that yours can hopefully run a little smoother.



Research the hotel like you are an undercover agent
It is very tempting to open up a travel site and simply book the cheapest deal that looks kinda alright and has a fairly good guest rating. But hold your horses, you need to do your research first. Is it near the airport? Is it hilly? Is it accessible? Do they have cots? Is it child friendly? Is the pool warm? Is it near the beach? Or a bus stop? Are there any local shops to pick up nappies and milk? Does the room have a fridge to store said milk? We were pretty lucky with our hotel in that it was quite child friendly and close to both the airport and the beach but the pools were freezing cold so we didn't get much use of them. It did come through in one area though - the TVs had 4 English channels and one of those channels was CBeebies. If you find a hotel that has CBeebies on the TV, book it straight away. It was honestly a godsend and my usually pretty wild child who never stops for a minute spent many an hour just lounging on the bed watching Mr Tumble with the sun streaming through the windows as Isaac and I enjoy the peace and ate our weight in Spanish goodies.

Take all the snacks on the plane
Last time we took Ava on a flight, she was around 15 months. Now she is around 19 months and it was totally different. She is confidently walking and is a lot more aware of everything going on. So, getting her to sit down for the two hours between Bristol and Palma de Mallorca was a real challenge. We ended up buying those horrifically overpriced kids snack boxes they sell on the plane just to contain her for a little while and spent the whole time wishing we had packed our own. If in doubt, wack chocolate buttons, some of those Ella Kitchen crisp things, and a box of raisins in a freezer bag and have it with their milk or juice so security can easily tell it is kid stuff. If it doesn't work out for whatever reason, buy a little something from one of the shops once you're through the gates. Maybe something like Haribo that will last longer as they will be chewing it. Also - another plane tip - if you can try to get an aisle seat, it makes life so much easier as you have unlimited access to your bags in the overhead locker and can take your kid on as much trips to the loo as they desire.



Try to stick to some kinda routine
I think that most kids aren't big fans of change and going to a whole new place, sleeping in a new bed, and just being in a totally different environment can be change enough so try to hold onto something from your routine. If you wash them in the morning, keep doing that when you're away. If they go to bed at 8pm, try to stick to that if possible. And, for the love of God, try to keep them eating their fruit and veg because they will only want to eat ice cream and cake for every meal and their bellies can't handle it (speaking from very real, very vivid experience that I wish I hadn't had).

Research kid friendly days out nearby
Try to put together at least a vague itinerary before you head off to your destination. Look at whether there are places like water parks or aquariums you could consider visiting or, if you want a slightly cheaper option, consider how far away the beach is or whether your hotel has a pool. On one of the days of our trip, we just chilled out at the beach and Ava loved playing in the sand. We also packed a ball for her to chase around which she really enjoyed. Your trip doesn't have to be mega structured but having an idea of what you could do if, for instance, it starts raining is always a good idea.

Go to a buffet
We booked our hotel in Mallorca on a bed and breakfast basis but we soon wished we had gone half board as a breakfast buffet and dinner buffet made the whole toddler in a restaurant thing so much easier to deal with. We did attempt to go to some other restaurants in pursuit of things like paella but it was so stressful as the wait was long and the restaurant was small and completely full of young, childless couples who deffo didn't appreciate Ava screeching 'Peppa Pig!!' at me as I fumbled to get my phone to connect to the wifi so she could watch Peppa Pig on YouTube. Buffets are just so much easier. They usually are quite informal. There's no waiting around. You don't have to worry whether your kid will eat what is on offer because they're bound to like at least one thing. And, whilst all the hot young things are off at swanky restaurants eating tapas, you get to relax in a slightly less pressurised environment and not have to listen to a backdrop of tuts as your child rips napkins to shreds and throws cutlery in every direction.


So, those are the few things that my mini break taught me. What are your top tips on how to survive a mini break with a toddler?

You may also enjoy:
Camping With A Baby: The Survival Guide
My Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby

Anyone who has been following my pregnancy journey this time around will probably have noticed that it hasn't been easy so far. I have had sickness that made me wish for death, knee pain that made me unable to walk, and a whole lot of worries and doubts to go with it. In all honesty, my biggest fear lately has been that I won't bond with the baby once he is here. This time around, I just haven't felt the same connection I did the first time. I don't spend time singing to my bump or talking to him. Admittedly, sometimes he moves around and I just want to tell him to stop moving because it is making me feel sick. As this pregnancy has been so hard on me, the feelings that have come alongside that haven't often been joyous ones - I mean, no one skips along to the bathroom to throw up for the fifth time that day with a smile on their face, right?

But something changed a couple of days ago.

I had just got in from work and had run myself a bath. As I lay back in the bath and covered the bath with warm water, I felt a kick. A proper kick. Not butterflies or bubbles or vague movement - I felt a foot going at it on my interior organ-y bits. And, for possibly the first time in this whole pregnancy, I felt a wave of overwhelming love for my little one. All of my worries about bonding melted away as I felt him continue to stretch out his legs and move around in there.

Since then, I have felt a little different. I have started thinking about names again. I have made Isaac sit and hold my belly for ages in the hope he will feel the baby moving too. And I have just felt joy.

What I'm Wearing (aff links):
Trousers: H&M
Top: Primark
Jacket: Topshop
Sandals: New Look

You may also enjoy:
Pregnancy Diaries #1 #2 #3 #4
How I Found Out I Was Pregnant With Baby #2
Can Maternity Clothes Actually Look Cute?

Pregnancy Diaries #5: The First Kick


Anyone who has been following my pregnancy journey this time around will probably have noticed that it hasn't been easy so far. I have had sickness that made me wish for death, knee pain that made me unable to walk, and a whole lot of worries and doubts to go with it. In all honesty, my biggest fear lately has been that I won't bond with the baby once he is here. This time around, I just haven't felt the same connection I did the first time. I don't spend time singing to my bump or talking to him. Admittedly, sometimes he moves around and I just want to tell him to stop moving because it is making me feel sick. As this pregnancy has been so hard on me, the feelings that have come alongside that haven't often been joyous ones - I mean, no one skips along to the bathroom to throw up for the fifth time that day with a smile on their face, right?

But something changed a couple of days ago.

I had just got in from work and had run myself a bath. As I lay back in the bath and covered the bath with warm water, I felt a kick. A proper kick. Not butterflies or bubbles or vague movement - I felt a foot going at it on my interior organ-y bits. And, for possibly the first time in this whole pregnancy, I felt a wave of overwhelming love for my little one. All of my worries about bonding melted away as I felt him continue to stretch out his legs and move around in there.

Since then, I have felt a little different. I have started thinking about names again. I have made Isaac sit and hold my belly for ages in the hope he will feel the baby moving too. And I have just felt joy.

What I'm Wearing (aff links):
Trousers: H&M
Top: Primark
Jacket: Topshop
Sandals: New Look

You may also enjoy:
Pregnancy Diaries #1 #2 #3 #4
How I Found Out I Was Pregnant With Baby #2
Can Maternity Clothes Actually Look Cute?

Bristol is one of those cities that never fails to excite me. When I think I have seen it all and been everywhere there is to go, I discover something new - whether that be a new piece of street art that captures my imagination or a café that feels like it was basically designed with me in mind.

So, given my love for Bristol, when I was looking for an airport to fly from for our trip to Mallorca, there really was only one option. And that option was very much fuelled by my secret intention of turning the entirety of the day before our flight into an excuse to explore Bristol with Ava and stretch out our holiday just that little bit further. And, honestly, I am glad that I did.



What to see and do

Bristol is the kinda place where you can either fill your whole trip with visits to awesome tourist attractions or you can plan absolutely nothing and still have a great time either way. One of my favourite things to do in Bristol is just wander around and take everything in - from the harbour to the backstreets where the walls are filled with interesting street art to the colourful houses that line the horizon. But if you would like to visit Bristol with some kind of plan in place as to how you will pass the time you're there, I have a few suggestions for you.

We The Curious
We The Curious (aka Bristol Planetarium as it is formerly known) is an absolutely amazing place to visit - both for adults and for kids. It is a science museum but it is almost entirely interactive with so many interesting exhibits and, of course, a planetarium. I haven't been back there for ages (I went all the time as a kid) but everyone on Instagram seemed to say it has only gotten better when I asked for recommendations of things to do in Bristol. You can buy tickets for just the planetarium itself or a full day pass - the prices online seem to be dependent on when you are visiting so be sure to check them out there first for the best deal.

Bristol Aquarium
In all honesty, I was in two minds as to whether to include this but, I think, I would still recommend visiting the aquarium if maybe it is rainy outside or you have young kids. I paid £16 for my ticket (could have been £14 if I had booked online) and Ava went in for free. Honestly, the aquarium was a bit smaller than I was expecting but Ava absolutely loved it so I would say it was worth it just to see her enjoy it so much. They had a few large tanks with a wide variety of species of fish and some open tanks in the rainforest style area that homed things like rays, eels, and the cutest baby turtles you ever saw. I'd say, if you want to get your money's worth, make sure you find out the times of the feedings and talks as we attended one of the feedings of an open top tank and it was really interesting and engaging. Also as your ticket allows you to come and go as you wish, you could return for different talks throughout the day.

Bristol Zoo
I have been to Bristol Zoo more times than I can count but it still manages to fill up a whole day and provide me with something new and interesting to see and do every time. Bristol Zoo is located in Clifton which is a quieter - and very fancy - suburb of Bristol and the zoo itself is lovely. The animals always look well looked after and healthy as well as having enough space in their enclosures. Bristol Zoo is also a charity so the money they make from people visiting the zoo goes straight back into conservation and bettering the lives of the animals. And they have a pretty sweet gift shop too. An adult ticket costs £13 or you can opt to add on a donation which brings it up to £15.

Wander around
Yes, I am going strong with the wandering around recommendation but for good reason - there is so much to see in Bristol that you can only really experience by foot. There is the harbourside (which I often frequented pre-marriage-to-Isaac because I was seeing a guy who had a flat by the water - lemme tell you, those flats are fancy) and there are often stalls that line the street down towards the harbour selling little nick nacks and vintage clothes. On the other side of town, there is the indoor market and they sometimes have a little street market around there too. That part of the city is so full of character and is absolutely gorgeous. And everywhere you look, you are likely to come across some form of street art or interesting mural. Honestly, this is a city made for artists and creatives.



Where to eat
Now on to the actual important bit - the food! Bristol should honestly be renamed the vegan capital of the UK. There is so much variety of vegan and veggie options but also a great deal of delicious grub for those looking to hunt down a juicy burger or meat feast pizza.

The Florist
When I was planning mine and Ava's day out in Bristol, I came across The Florist on Instagram and immediately vowed that I would visit it - one way or another. Luck would have it that Ava chose to take her nap as soon as we exited the bus from the train station and arrived in town. That gave me a good hour to hot foot it up the hill to The Florist, sit down, slyly take some pictures without anyone noticing, feast on delicious goodies, and get out of there all before Ava opens her eyes. And I kinda managed it! And, lemme tell you, this place was fully worth the effort it took to actually pull off this MI5 heist style task. Every corner of this restaurant was beautifully decorated - my head was on a permanent swivel. It was quite fancy though so I am glad I went when Ava was asleep as I don't think its the kinda place that would love a screaming toddler throwing cutlery here, there, and everywhere. And the food - it was insane! I only wanted a snack so I opted for the sherbet mini donuts with peanut butter fudge and a chocolate dipping sauce. It was so unusual! The donuts were crunchy and fizzy and the sauce was amazing (but you can't go far wrong with chocolate tbf). But the absolute queen of the dish was the peanut butter fudge. It was really smooth and light and basically just tasted like sweet lumps of peanut butter. Absolutely heavenly.

Food market
This is my absolute favourite food spot in Bristol. Located beside the harbour, every Thursday there is a street food market that has a range of stalls selling delicious grub. I have been there a few times and have never been disappointed. The first time, I opted for this delicious beef brisket roll that came with pickles and horseradish sauce and it was just insanely good. Isaac can also vouch for the paella he had. The second time, I went for this Hungarian stew that came with fried potato pancakes and coleslaw - also amazing. There are so many options for all tastes - everything from vegan to hog roast can be found there - and so many different cuisines from across the globe too. Expect to spend around £7 and take cash (although some stalls have card machines).

Other recommendations
As I haven't actually eaten at a huge amount of places in Bristol other than chain restaurants (Wok To Walk is bae), I took to Instagram to get a few more recommendations and I got quite a big response. Three Brothers Burgers was recommended by a few people and, from the look of their website, I can see why. Could really go for a big, juicy burger right now. Another place that people seem to love is Pinkmans Bakery for their homemade donuts (need I go on?). I almost went there on my last trip to Bristol but opted for The Florist instead.


Where to stay
Right, let me be honest here, most of our trips to Bristol have either been day trips as we only live about an hour away or passing through trips on the way to Cardiff or Bristol Airport. When we have stayed in Bristol, we have opted for a Travelodge (which wasn't bad but I don't think it had breakfast #heartbroken) or Forge Accommodation for a cheap airport stay before an early flight. So, I don't have many recommendations of cute boutique hotels in Bristol. But, thankfully, Google does. After a little snooping around, I found a couple of places that look great. Now I can't vouch for how good they actually are but they sure do look cute in the pictures (do it for the gram if nothing else).

Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
The luxury one. Averaging around the £110 mark for an overnight stay - but looks like it would be perfect for a special occasion like an anniversary trip or something. And the food on their insta looks incredible too.

Mercure Grand Hotel
The fancy mid-range one. Averaging around £80+ per night, this hotel offers a bit of fanciness at a slightly more affordable price. Honestly, I am sold on Mercure hotels - they are possibly my favourite for a slightly more luxurious stay without breaking the bank.

Future Inn
The cheap and cheerful one. Central location and not too pricey. Deffo worth checking out.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know your favourite things to do in Bristol.

You may also enjoy:
Cardiff Travel Guide
Things To Do In And Around Exeter
My Favourite Independent Coffee Shops In Exeter
A Local's Guide To Visiting Devon
My Top 5 Things To Do In Edinburgh

How To Spend 24 Hours In Bristol


Bristol is one of those cities that never fails to excite me. When I think I have seen it all and been everywhere there is to go, I discover something new - whether that be a new piece of street art that captures my imagination or a café that feels like it was basically designed with me in mind.

So, given my love for Bristol, when I was looking for an airport to fly from for our trip to Mallorca, there really was only one option. And that option was very much fuelled by my secret intention of turning the entirety of the day before our flight into an excuse to explore Bristol with Ava and stretch out our holiday just that little bit further. And, honestly, I am glad that I did.



What to see and do

Bristol is the kinda place where you can either fill your whole trip with visits to awesome tourist attractions or you can plan absolutely nothing and still have a great time either way. One of my favourite things to do in Bristol is just wander around and take everything in - from the harbour to the backstreets where the walls are filled with interesting street art to the colourful houses that line the horizon. But if you would like to visit Bristol with some kind of plan in place as to how you will pass the time you're there, I have a few suggestions for you.

We The Curious
We The Curious (aka Bristol Planetarium as it is formerly known) is an absolutely amazing place to visit - both for adults and for kids. It is a science museum but it is almost entirely interactive with so many interesting exhibits and, of course, a planetarium. I haven't been back there for ages (I went all the time as a kid) but everyone on Instagram seemed to say it has only gotten better when I asked for recommendations of things to do in Bristol. You can buy tickets for just the planetarium itself or a full day pass - the prices online seem to be dependent on when you are visiting so be sure to check them out there first for the best deal.

Bristol Aquarium
In all honesty, I was in two minds as to whether to include this but, I think, I would still recommend visiting the aquarium if maybe it is rainy outside or you have young kids. I paid £16 for my ticket (could have been £14 if I had booked online) and Ava went in for free. Honestly, the aquarium was a bit smaller than I was expecting but Ava absolutely loved it so I would say it was worth it just to see her enjoy it so much. They had a few large tanks with a wide variety of species of fish and some open tanks in the rainforest style area that homed things like rays, eels, and the cutest baby turtles you ever saw. I'd say, if you want to get your money's worth, make sure you find out the times of the feedings and talks as we attended one of the feedings of an open top tank and it was really interesting and engaging. Also as your ticket allows you to come and go as you wish, you could return for different talks throughout the day.

Bristol Zoo
I have been to Bristol Zoo more times than I can count but it still manages to fill up a whole day and provide me with something new and interesting to see and do every time. Bristol Zoo is located in Clifton which is a quieter - and very fancy - suburb of Bristol and the zoo itself is lovely. The animals always look well looked after and healthy as well as having enough space in their enclosures. Bristol Zoo is also a charity so the money they make from people visiting the zoo goes straight back into conservation and bettering the lives of the animals. And they have a pretty sweet gift shop too. An adult ticket costs £13 or you can opt to add on a donation which brings it up to £15.

Wander around
Yes, I am going strong with the wandering around recommendation but for good reason - there is so much to see in Bristol that you can only really experience by foot. There is the harbourside (which I often frequented pre-marriage-to-Isaac because I was seeing a guy who had a flat by the water - lemme tell you, those flats are fancy) and there are often stalls that line the street down towards the harbour selling little nick nacks and vintage clothes. On the other side of town, there is the indoor market and they sometimes have a little street market around there too. That part of the city is so full of character and is absolutely gorgeous. And everywhere you look, you are likely to come across some form of street art or interesting mural. Honestly, this is a city made for artists and creatives.



Where to eat
Now on to the actual important bit - the food! Bristol should honestly be renamed the vegan capital of the UK. There is so much variety of vegan and veggie options but also a great deal of delicious grub for those looking to hunt down a juicy burger or meat feast pizza.

The Florist
When I was planning mine and Ava's day out in Bristol, I came across The Florist on Instagram and immediately vowed that I would visit it - one way or another. Luck would have it that Ava chose to take her nap as soon as we exited the bus from the train station and arrived in town. That gave me a good hour to hot foot it up the hill to The Florist, sit down, slyly take some pictures without anyone noticing, feast on delicious goodies, and get out of there all before Ava opens her eyes. And I kinda managed it! And, lemme tell you, this place was fully worth the effort it took to actually pull off this MI5 heist style task. Every corner of this restaurant was beautifully decorated - my head was on a permanent swivel. It was quite fancy though so I am glad I went when Ava was asleep as I don't think its the kinda place that would love a screaming toddler throwing cutlery here, there, and everywhere. And the food - it was insane! I only wanted a snack so I opted for the sherbet mini donuts with peanut butter fudge and a chocolate dipping sauce. It was so unusual! The donuts were crunchy and fizzy and the sauce was amazing (but you can't go far wrong with chocolate tbf). But the absolute queen of the dish was the peanut butter fudge. It was really smooth and light and basically just tasted like sweet lumps of peanut butter. Absolutely heavenly.

Food market
This is my absolute favourite food spot in Bristol. Located beside the harbour, every Thursday there is a street food market that has a range of stalls selling delicious grub. I have been there a few times and have never been disappointed. The first time, I opted for this delicious beef brisket roll that came with pickles and horseradish sauce and it was just insanely good. Isaac can also vouch for the paella he had. The second time, I went for this Hungarian stew that came with fried potato pancakes and coleslaw - also amazing. There are so many options for all tastes - everything from vegan to hog roast can be found there - and so many different cuisines from across the globe too. Expect to spend around £7 and take cash (although some stalls have card machines).

Other recommendations
As I haven't actually eaten at a huge amount of places in Bristol other than chain restaurants (Wok To Walk is bae), I took to Instagram to get a few more recommendations and I got quite a big response. Three Brothers Burgers was recommended by a few people and, from the look of their website, I can see why. Could really go for a big, juicy burger right now. Another place that people seem to love is Pinkmans Bakery for their homemade donuts (need I go on?). I almost went there on my last trip to Bristol but opted for The Florist instead.


Where to stay
Right, let me be honest here, most of our trips to Bristol have either been day trips as we only live about an hour away or passing through trips on the way to Cardiff or Bristol Airport. When we have stayed in Bristol, we have opted for a Travelodge (which wasn't bad but I don't think it had breakfast #heartbroken) or Forge Accommodation for a cheap airport stay before an early flight. So, I don't have many recommendations of cute boutique hotels in Bristol. But, thankfully, Google does. After a little snooping around, I found a couple of places that look great. Now I can't vouch for how good they actually are but they sure do look cute in the pictures (do it for the gram if nothing else).

Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
The luxury one. Averaging around the £110 mark for an overnight stay - but looks like it would be perfect for a special occasion like an anniversary trip or something. And the food on their insta looks incredible too.

Mercure Grand Hotel
The fancy mid-range one. Averaging around £80+ per night, this hotel offers a bit of fanciness at a slightly more affordable price. Honestly, I am sold on Mercure hotels - they are possibly my favourite for a slightly more luxurious stay without breaking the bank.

Future Inn
The cheap and cheerful one. Central location and not too pricey. Deffo worth checking out.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know your favourite things to do in Bristol.

You may also enjoy:
Cardiff Travel Guide
Things To Do In And Around Exeter
My Favourite Independent Coffee Shops In Exeter
A Local's Guide To Visiting Devon
My Top 5 Things To Do In Edinburgh

Follow me!

Follow

Follow by Email

Copyright @ The Emerald Dove. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign