My Favourite Holiday Memories

I love thinking back to old holidays, reminising about my favourite moments and the funny times. An old photo, comment from a friend or even just a random memory popping into my head brings a smile to my face; holidays are often so full of moments to be treasured!

My Favourite Holiday Memories title with beach background

My first ever holiday (I think!) was a trip abroad to Majorca with my parents. I don’t remember a single thing about it to be honest, except that my mum was heavily pregnant with my brother at the time and I am pretty sure lied to be allowed on the plane! I remember seeing photos of her lounging on a sun bed and one of me wearing sunglasses on the beach. I looked so happy in the photos; so even though I was too young to actually remember any of it, I clearly had a good time!

My first proper holiday without my parents, aside from residential school trips in the UK and France, was to Tenerife with a friend when I was 16. I fell in love with it and it instantly felt like ‘home’. I was so drawn to it that I returned a couple of years later to live for a short time, working as a bar rep. There were loads of amazing, fun memories from those days, as I am sure you can imagine! I would love to return one day; perhaps to the otherside of the island though, as it is more family- friendly. www.holidaygems.co.uk have some fab deals if you are tempted by this idea too!

#TBT Tenerife days

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Some of my funniest, and fondest, memories are actually of holidays closer to home though. There were girly weekends away with one of my favourite people in the whole world, which we still often giggle about now – years later. Or the Scotland trip we went on with my mum. And not to forget of course, the wonderful family holidays I have taken Squiggle to as well.

A photo of Squiggle and her mum on the beach playing in the sea

I can’t pick a single favourite holiday; I loved each one in different ways and for very different reasons. Each one holds lovely memories of precious moments with people I love, randomness and laughter! That’s why I love holidays so much!!!

What are your favourite holiday moments? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Holidaying at home whilst pregnant: 5 of the best British destinations

Pregnancy can be tough on expected mothers, and their families. Increasingly, people try to get away for a holiday while pregnant; it’s a chance to enjoy some time together and, more than anything, relax. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant with Squiggle, we took a short holiday together as a couple. I loved having a fantastic time relaxing by the beach and eating dinner at the harbour on the British south coast.

However, you won’t want to travel too far. Staying in the UK has loads of benefits. There’s no language barrier, travelling times should be reduced and you’ll be familiar with the food. Plus, there are some great destinations you might not have considered for a holiday before. It’s no surprise Britain is increasingly fond of staycations!

Holidaying at home whilst pregnant: 5 of the best British destinations caption with a photo of Katie from Living Life Our Way holding her large bump next to a UK harbour.

The fantastic destinations you should try include…

The Peak District

If the countryside is your true home, head to the Peak District. The great outdoors doesn’t get much better. Whether you’re happier exploring the quaint villages, enjoying some time in a cosy country pub, or exploring the peace and quiet with your muddy boots on, the Peak District is the perfect place to escape while pregnant.

St Ives

Fancy being a big kid again and making sandcastles on the beach? St Ives is a grown-up coastal destination, which has a beautiful and charming town next to the beach. Enjoy bracing walks and local food, or visit the numerous galleries and exhibitions in the town.

Plus, taking a trip to the seaside has great health benefits according to this pregnancy guide, including:

• Heightened relaxation
• Better sleep
• Healthier skin

Whitstable

Another coastal town, just on the other side of the country, Whitstable is a fishing and harbour town in Kent. It’s only about an hour by train from London, yet still feels peaceful and relaxing.

Enjoy fish and chips on the pebble beach, walking past the candy coloured beach huts. The tranquillity – conveniently located – is just what you need later in pregnancy.

Edinburgh

If you fancy a city break while you’re pregnant, Edinburgh is a fantastic choice. Whether you time your visit with the world-famous Fringe Festival or would rather a quieter time in the city, Edinburgh offers a huge range of things to do.

You can explore the fascinating architecture, visit Michelin-starred restaurants, climb Arthur’s Seat, or enjoy a concert at the castle. Edinburgh is an exciting city, with a lot of stuff going it – it’s one to plan well, to make the most of your trip. Just remember to schedule in a few breaks!

Bath

Another fantastic UK city, Bath will blow you away. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with huge cultural significance and beauty wherever you look. It’s also quite compact, so you can get around most of the main attractions on foot in a day – perfect for pregnancy.

Without a doubt, you’ll want to visit the original Roman Baths. You might not be able to take a dip in there, but the Thermae Day Spa’s rooftop pool comes highly recommended.

Have you been on holiday in the UK while pregnant? Share your experiences and recommendations with us.

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Or Away? Why Both Scotland And Portugal Are On My Travel Bucketlist!

I have already written about various destinations on my travel bucketlist and for this post I have two more! These are by no means new to my list, but I haven’t blogged about them specifically until now. However, I have picked these because they will most likely be the main contenders for our next trip!

Home Or Away? Why Both Scotland And Portugal Are On My Travel Bucketlist! Image of Scotland and Portugal

Scotland is on my bucketlist because I think it has absolutely beautiful countryside and is special to me because we went there as a final trip with my mum when she was terminally ill. Portugal is largely due to Squiggle showing an interest in it because she has a Portuguese friend, but also I haven’t been myself either and would love to go. So which should we go for next; home or away?!

Scotland

Technically not a staycation yet close enough to feel like it, Scotland is somewhere I am keen to explore with Squiggle because of the abundance of outdoor space with its stunning countryside scenery and a wealth of nature and wildlife to spot. Travel to Scotland from England is relatively quick and easy too, with various modes an option depending on your preferences and priorities. I have travelled by both plane and rail previously, but would drive with Squiggle so we have the freedom and flexibility. It is roughly a 6 – 7 hour roadtrip to reach the Scottish borders from London so a stopover might well be required too!

Beautiful Scottish countryside. Image from clickstay.
Credit: Clickstay

Aside from a brief trip to Glasgow once for a conference, the only time I have visited Scotland is for the memorable holiday mentioned above. There were around a dozen members of family and friends, so we treated ourselves (with massive help from a wonderful charity) to a huge amazing chateau to stay in, much like some of the ones on Clickstay. It is so fun and unique staying somewhere so magnificent in the middle of the countryside. Of course there are slightly more modest options to stay too though!

Massive chateau in Scotland. Image by Clickstay.
Credit: Clickstay

Portugal

As mentioned already, I haven’t been to Portugal despite it being one of the closer countries to visit abroad from here in England. I kind of feel, for me at least (and when I was younger), that Portugal always seemed understated whenever holiday destinations were discussed – almost as if it were a lesser known cousin to places like France, Spain or Germany. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it had successfully avoided becoming a tourist trap (which is a good thing!) and I just hadn’t opened my eyes to less obvious options. I don’t know. But yet I gather it is a great travel choice!

Portugal coastline.
Credit: Clickstay

Portugal has some gorgeous rugged beaches that I have seen compared to the Californian coastlines, whilst also benefitting from plenty of green space too. With a warm climate for much of the year, and some parts even winter is mild, it is ideal for soaking up some vitamin D whilst enjoying plenty of time outdoors. It also has some interesting history, and it is a great learning experience to explore new countries and immerse yourself in different cultures. I am sure Squiggle would love to pick up some of the language along the way too, as she mentioned this before!

Villa in Portugal
Credit: Clickstay

I would most likely stay in a beautiful villa in Portugal, because I think it is nice to have that homely feel and tonnes of space to ourselves. Squiggle finds it abit overwhelming otherwise to be honest. One with a private pool would be preferable, as that would be a wonderful luxury that we would definitely make the most of!

So where will we end up next – Scotland or Portugal? Or somewhere else entirely? I will keep you posted! Where are you going on your travels?

*This is a collaborative post.

Best Last Minute Christmas Holiday Destinations

Christmas is edging ever closer, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still time to change your plans! If you fancy doing something a bit more exciting this Christmas, why not book yourself a holiday overseas? There are plenty of last minute deals available, and you are bound to have a Christmas to remember by choosing to take advantage of one of them. So, let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit this Christmas…

Faded Christmas festive background with title 'Best Last Minute Christmas Holiday Destinations'

Tromso

There is only one place to begin, and this is with the most magical place in the world for a Christmas vacation: Tromso. Known as the capital of the Arctic, there is nowhere better to capture the magical festive spirit. Of course, you can see the Northern Lights from Tromso, which is the main attraction, but there is so much to experience in this magical location too. The Polar Museum is a particular highlight. You will find out about the Arctic explorers who have passed through the city. For the ultimate Christmas vacation, there is nowhere better.

Maldives

If your purpose for wanting a Christmas break is because you are in desperate need of some sun (aren’t we all?!), then why not head to the Maldives? The Maldives is drenched in sun at this time of year; there are plenty of resorts that are idyllic and perfect for families. With scrumptious festive packages available, you can embrace the Christmas spirit in a unique environment. Imagine Christmas carols across white sands instead of snow. There are also plenty of themed activities going on too, including festive beachside parties.

A picture of a beautiful empty sandy beach with gorgeous clear blue ocean.

Nuremberg

Nuremberg, in Germany, is a place to behold at Christmas. You will struggle to find somewhere with a better festive spirit. This largely stems from the Christkindlesmarkt, which is known all over the world. This Christmas market sees 180 stalls, so make sure you save a bit of Christmas shopping for when you arrive. You will find everything from gingerbread treats to trinkets and toys.

An image of Christkindlesmarkt
Image from Wikimedia

A bit closer to home

If you don’t want to take a trip abroad, you don’t need to. You can still have a magical Christmas vacation in the UK. There are plenty of stunning places across the country, from Edinburgh to the Cotswolds. No matter where you go, there are bound to be plenty of fun festive places you can visit, many of which are free of charge.

Copenhagen

Finally, we have Denmark’s Copenhagen. This is an affordable and vibrant city, which is small but very welcoming. Pre-Christmas activity is a lot easier to navigate here because people set the pace, rather than cars. The Tivoli Gardens are a highlight, with half a million lights transforming the space.

So there you have it: some of the best places to visit this Christmas if you are planning a last minute trip away. But don’t worry if you can’t book one of these fantastic places this year; there is always next year, and these destinations will be just as fabulous in 2018!

*This is a collaborative post.

Eco Travel: My European Bucketlist 

I admit that many of past travel adventures have not been organised with sustainability in mind. In my younger years, I was far less environmentally minded than I am now, so if I had ever used an eco- friendly company or visited a ‘green’ city it would have been nothing more than a happy accident to be honest! 

However, I do remember with fond memories one trip along the west coast of USA, which included a stay in San Francisco. Whilst I didn’t realise it back then, I know now that this consistently ranks high up in the greenest places within USA. This doesn’t surprise me with its sustainable food choices, a clear emphasis on the environment and clean transport system. Having reflected on the many places I have travelled, I think this is probably the one that was most eco- friendly. I would definitely love to visit again and see how it has progressed even further in the last decade!

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San Francisco, California

Of course times change and these days I am far more mindful of how my actions impact the environment. For future travel, it would definitely be a major factor in our plans. I would love to explore the world in the most eco-friendly way possible, maybe driving around in an electric camper, visiting beautiful scenic spots off the beaten track, as well as lovely environmentally-conscious towns and cities too. I have a long bucketlist of places I would love to visit all over the world, with Galapagos Islands (closely followed by Alaska) at the top of that list. Closer to home though, there are two places within Europe that are also high on my bucket list; Amsterdam (Holland) and Reykjavik (Iceland), both of which are very eco-friendly. 

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Reykjavik, Iceland 
Photo Credit: Beckie Gate

I have heard all about Reykjavik from various friends who have have visited this gorgeous place recently, and I admit that I have spent hours pouring over their stunning photos. As Green Tourist explains, a major source of the city’s power is from the geothermic activity in this area, which makes it very energy-efficient. Cycling and walking are the most popular forms of transportation, plus hydrogen buses are used rather than vehicles that rely on fossil fuels too.

The geography of Iceland is interesting and makes it a wonderfully unique and breathtaking place to explore, with the geysers and beautiful waterfalls, as well as the point where you can walk between two tectonic plates. I would love to stay in one of their glass domes and hopefully maybe even get to see the Northern Lights if we are lucky. That would be incredible!

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Solfar statue (sun voyager) 
Photo Credit: Karen at Tickets, Passport, Kids

The second on my European bucketlist is Amsterdam, Holland. I know a couple of people who have lived here and they have shared many stories about what a brilliant place it is! Most people either walk or cycle around the city, there are very few cars, making it a clean place to visit or live in that sense. Apparently most residential homes and businesses also use, and often generate their own, clean energy too. 

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Amsterdam, Holland 
Photo Credit: AF

There are lots of unusual places to visit in Amsterdam, such as the KattenKabinet (cat art gallery) and the Bloemenmarkt (flower market), as well as lovely quaint little cafes and eateries. I am sure visiting Anne Frank’s house would be a truly memorable experience too. Apparently there are also many wonderful outdoor walks to explore, taking in the pretty sites. And I personally would love to stay in one of the fantastic houseboats on the canal, that I have seen in many photos. They look amazing!

Of course there are many other European destinations on my bucketlist, as well as travelling the rest of the world too, but these are two places that particularly capture my attention – and my heart! Happy travels everyone!

Where is top of your travel bucketlist? Or have you been to an absolute dream place? Tell me your story in the comments!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Thank you to the friends who have contributed their wonderful stories and lovely pictures, fuelling my wanderlust further! 

All- Weather Camping: Why You Should Get Outside (in any season!)

We love being outside, whatever the weather. It is a wonderful way to relax, a natural stress reliever; great for mind, body and soul. It feels good to connect and engage with our natural environment, and the fresh air certainly blows the cobwebs away! As this article from The Independent explains, going off-grid i.e. turning off devices and relying on natural light, combined with staying outdoors can really help sleep too. And we all know how enough good quality sleep makes all the difference to everything! So it really is true that any and every season is the perfect time to go on outdoor adventures.

From motorhomes to caravans and log cabins to pop-up tents, there are a huge range of options if you want to plan for a more natural outdoor getaway. Whether you will happily pitch up on any basic available space, or you are more of the glamping type, you will find a selection of sites to choose from throughout the UK (and elsewhere!) open all year round. 

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For example, there are lots of lovely places to camp via Camping and Caravanning Club, such as this wonderful Tavistock site in Dartmoor National Park, Devon – which is somewhere I haven’t been to since I was a child myself, but I would love to return and take Squiggle too. 

More locally, this campsite in Hertford is very popular amongst our local home ed friends! Also closer to home, we really love Aldenham Country Park, which also has camping facilities on-site too. 

Another area we have passed through briefly but would love to stay longer is the New Forest. I spotted this fab place called Setthorns Campsite that has a stripped back, closer to nature feel about it. For somewhere a little more luxurious, Sandy Balls Holiday Park has been recommended to us by various friends numerous times. 

Or check out this eco-friendly campsite, Skyside, set in a gorgeous spot of Penrith, Cumbria. Situated in the valleys of the stunning Lake District, you can use this base to explore (in my opinion anyway!) some of the most scenic parts of the country. It has been years since I last visited this area, but I can assure you it is absolutely beautiful at any time of year! 

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We firmly believe that there is no such thing as the ‘wrong’ weather for spending time outside, all you need is suitable clothing and the right equipment; be prepared with the necessary gear and there is nothing stopping you! Oh and don’t forget to grab yourself some insurance before you head off, such as Camping and Caravanning Club insurance for example. Now, what are you waiting for?!

Do you have any top camping tips? What are your outdoor essentials? Where is your favourite campsite or overnight outdoor spot? Share in the comments, thank you!

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Security Tips For Peace of Mind

It’s that time of year when people are thinking about booking a holiday, and starting to plan ahead for their next trip. As stated on Police.uk homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Therefore if you spend alot of time on days out or travelling, or if you are simply planning  your next holiday, it is important to think about home security. There are many ways to leave your home more secure when unattended. Here are some top tips for home security to leave you feeling reassured while away from home… 

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Simple Measures

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked, including gates.
  • Leave keys and valuables out of sight.
  • Be part of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme or informally agree with neighbours to look out for each others’ properties.
  • Have a visible security system in place, such as this Panasonic outdoor camera.
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Night Security

  • Arrange for curtains to be drawn at night then opened in the morning.
  • Make sure you have good outdoor lighting. Outdoor solar lights are relatively cheap and eco friendly.
  • Put indoor lights on a timer or use an app to control them.
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Holidays/ Travelling

  • Arrange for Royal Mail to hold your post using their keepsafe service. (Or ask a trusted friend/ neighbour to keep it safe for you).
  • Have a neighbour park their vehicle in your driveway.
  • Avoid using pet sitting companies that advertise their services on their vehicle – this also alerts potential thieves that you are away!
  • Avoid talking about specific details of your travel plans publicly or posting about it on social media.
  • Remember all of the simple security measures and night security tips above also apply here too. 

    Happy travels everyone! Do you have any top tips to share?

    This is a sponsored post. It also contains an affiliate link. 

    Littlesea Haven Holiday Park, Weymouth, Dorset

    Last month we went to Weymouth for a mid week short break to Littlesea Haven Holiday Park. This was our second trip to Littlesea and, given it was one of our favourite Haven sites, we were very keen to return! It certainly did not disappoint.

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Pretty scenic views at Littlesea Haven Holiday Park

    Littlesea is a lovely site, with scenic views and nice little ‘Tiger Trail’ nature walks. Squiggle really enjoyed following the Rory footprints on our map, so good for developing her map reading skills too!

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Tiger Trail on-site nature walks

    There are also several playgrounds on-site, with a variety of equipment suitable for a range of ages. It is great that there are different play areas dotted around the park, as it encouraged us to explore further to find them all!

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Playground outside main entertainment complex
    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    The playground in the campsite section of Littlesea
    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    A lovely little natural playground

    The holiday park is set next to Fleet Lagoon nature reserve, with pretty nature walks and coastal paths. We did find that some of the paths were abit too overgrown (and that is baring in mind we often explore wild overgrown areas!) and it was not always clear where to walk next, so better signage might be useful. However, I am not sure how much of this belonged to Haven, as it wasn’t clear at what point we left the site. Regardless, we had fun exploring and enjoyed a wonderful walk to Chesil beach.

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Beautiful nature walks overlooking Fleet Lagoon
    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Exploring Fleet Lagoon

    The caravan itself was clean and spacious, with everything we would need for our stay. We were also very kindly upgraded, which meant the quiet but central location of the caravan suited our needs perfectly. (A quiet area of the park is absolutely essential for Squiggle).

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Caravan at Littlesea Haven site

    There is a good range of on-site amenities and facilities including; a Spar shop, gift shop, coffee shop, take aways, restaurant, bar, arcades, soft play, pool, golf, sports courts, entertainment venue and multiple play areas, as mentioned.

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, environment
    View of golf
    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Arcade

    The swimming pool was newly refurbished last year and is lovely, with fun water features that Squiggle loves. Both indoors and outdoors there are shallow paddling pools, as well as the deeper family swimming pools. The changing rooms are quite small but adequate. There is also a separate pool for water sports and activities, for an additional charge, which we didn’t personally take part in but they do seem to be well recommended by others who have, and having a separate area dedicated to this is a great idea.

    The showbar has been refurbished even more recently, just this year. It is a spacious venue with a good size stage and dance floor. The entertainment held in the showbar is a fun mix of discos, shows and competitions. Squiggle adores the Seaside Squad shows and she loves to meet them for cuddles; this is one of her highlights of Haven Holidays. Because of the nature of her needs, it is important that she feels unhurried during these meetings (otherwise it triggers her severe anxiety and OCD), which can be difficult during busier times or with certain members of staff present (and is difficult for me because I can’t mention it around her, as that also makes it much worse!) However, the majority of the team seem very understanding of SEND in many ways, and do a wonderful job generally. And Squiggle had a fantastic time meeting several of the characters!

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Meeting some of the Seaside Squad

     

    The characters also give some great positive messages through their songs, shows and activities, for example about exercise, healthy eating and taking care of our environment. Squiggle often sings lines from Greedy’s songs such as ‘pick up all the rubbish and put it in the bin’ and dances around to keep fit like Rory. These are great role- models for children!

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, healthy eating, health, environment
    Seaside Squad showtimes

    This emphasis on healthy lifestyle and environment etc… runs throughout many of the daytime activities on offer too; with plenty of sports and games, and outdoor activities such as den building, exploring nature and wildlife spotting. I also really liked the information displayed in the corridor between Reception and the entertainment complex too.

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, nature, wildife, outdoors, environment
    Display in main complex
    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, wildlife, nature, environment
    Bug Hotel

    Overall, this was an absolutely wonderful holiday and we would highly recommend it. Thank you Haven for another brilliant time!

    Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
    Littlesea Haven Holiday Park

    (Photos of our previous trip to Weymouth are here).