Bjorn To Travel? Try Scandinavia!

Do you ever get bored with travelling to the same Balearic every year for your annual fix of sun, sea, and sand? While a package holiday is often the simplest and most convenient means of travel with a brood in tow, it is rarely the most exciting. More recently, parents are choosing to shun the traditional package holiday for something more authentic, if a little more tricky to organise. If you have plenty of time to do your research, enjoy making plans and want to immerse your little darlings into a culture rather than allowing them to see a hotel pool and holiday complex for a fortnight, then a jaunt to a lesser trodden land might be just what you’re looking for.

 

It is not set in stone that you need to take your annual vacation during the summer months. Instead, you could choose to take a winter break with your rabble. This can often allow you to secure cheaper prices for flights and accommodation when heading away off-season and you could face less tourist crowds. If you fancy hot-footing it abroad for a snow-filled holiday, take a look at why Scandinavia could be the ideal family holiday destination.

Geological Wonders For The Entire Family

 

When you think about Scandinavia, thoughts of Vikings, blizzards, Hans Christian Anderson, and Fjords may come into your mind. The joy of this northern region of Europe is the sheer variety of interest and activities it has to offer.

 

Take a jaunt to Iceland on your travels, and you could find yourself enjoying the vista of a geological spectacle every day of your trip. You might fancy whisking your brood away for a night time hunt for the Northern Lights. Many specialist tour companies know the best spots on the island from which to try and spy the natural phenomenon. Before you know it, you could be witnessing the solar flares lighting up the darkened skies with green and pink laser light shows.

 

During the day, you might want to explore the delights of a glacier or two. You could take your family on a snowshoeing trek across a glacier, or a hike up a dormant volcano or even a dog sled ride across the snow covered lunar landscape. The geysers and geothermal springs on the island mean you could take a bathing break in the spa-like Blue Lagoon or traverse Pingvellir National Park with its methane filled walkways while straddling two tectonic plates. If your little cherubs are curious and love the great outdoors, Iceland in the winter could be your perfect holiday destination.

Getting Back To Nature And Wildlife

 

It isn’t just Iceland that offers up some amazing opportunities to get closer to nature and explore the outdoors. Spending some of your winter in Finland would allow you to head to Ranua to feed a pack of elusive polar bears, head off on a whale watching tour to try and spot minke and humpback in their natural habitat or hot-foot it to a reserve to spend some quality time with a troupe of reindeer. If your kids adore animals, but you aren’t keen on the zoo, a trip to Finland could be a perfect way for your children to see conservation in action.

 

You might want to extend your trip with a jaunt to Norway to venture even further off the beaten track. The Lofoten Islands is the prime location from which to see killer whales and the Norwegian Svalbard offers the perfect vista in which to see walrus, arctic foxes, and lynx. Even if your kids aren’t into wildlife before a trip to Scandinavia, when they return home, they’ll be keen to make it as the next Sir David Attenborough.

Cosmopolitan Cities

It’s not all snow, ice-capped mountains, freezing temperatures and volcanic vistas. Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark all have their fair share of cosmopolitan cities that are well worth a visit.

 

The beautiful city of Reykjavik is renowned for its friendliness and down to Earth ethos, stunning architecture and exquisite cuisine. You could while away your days sampling Skyr in the cafes near the harbour in the morning, experiencing the joys of pickled herring and fermented shark for dinner, and stop off at some achingly cool vegetarian eateries for a snack or two. With a full belly, you might be keen to explore the iconic Hallgrimskirkja, the incredible cathedral in the centre of the city. You can scale the tower to view the city vista from the stained glass windows. The outside is just as spectacular as the interior with a unique spaceship style architecture.

 

Oslo feels a tad more traditional, with Victorian red brick style buildings adorning the city. The most special thing about the Norwegian capital is the stunning inner city fjord. For the more active family, this offers up plenty of chances to have a go at kayaking, canoeing, fishing or sailing. For those who fancy a more relaxed pace for their holidays, a fjord beach might be more appealing.

 

If you fancy a more coastal capital, Helsinki might be more up your street. The kids could enjoy the beach, paddling in the sea and having a kickabout in one of the many green spaces throughout the city. The pastel hued buildings are picturesque, and the whole city has a very laid back, and hipster sort of vibe. If you do venture here in the winter, you may find yourself cross-country skiing with the locals when traversing the city. Finland natives commute to work on their skis and will often pick up their salopettes rather than their car keys making this a green, eco-friendly and special metropolis.

 

Forget the sun-filled balmy days reading the latest bestseller by the side of a kidney-shaped pool on a Costa. Instead, opt for something different for your annual vacation, embrace the snow, the ice and the colder conditions and venture a little off the beaten track. If you fancy a winter break for your next family holiday be sure not to overlook the joys of Scandinavia.

 

This is a collaborative post.

12 home decor secrets for a Pinterest worthy place

Have you ever looked at a picture of somebody’s decor on Pinterest and wondered why it looks so fantastic? Usually, the pictures on Pinterest are just pictures that normal people have taken of rooms they are proud of – so why do they look so good?!

There are a few things you can do to get your very own Pinterest worthy place. Not all spaces have the following in common, but if you pick the ones that suit you and your space, you should end up with a place that wouldn’t look out of place on somebody’s ‘home decor’ board. 

 

Display Items On Shelves

Shelves can be a very practical addition to any home. They can be a great way of maximising floor space and storing certain items. However, on Pinterest you’ll usually see something called ‘curated shelves’. These are shelves that are being used as storage but have been styled carefully to look good.

 

Whether you have a bookshelf or a number of shelves on your wall, consider carefully how you’ll make this look put together. You can use books, CDs, and even and few well chosen accessories to create a look that is lived in but works well. Consider only displaying the ones you’re super proud of to add to the cool factor of a room!

 

Have A Curated Coffee Table

Another thing you’ll notice on Pinterest is that the coffee table is usually never empty. It’s usually carefully styled, too. You could have a couple of your favorite books on the table, or just books that you think look good. You can include plants, magazines, a journal – anything that you feel will add a bit of a lived in edge while looking great. There are no rules, so have fun with it!

 

Always Include Fresh Flowers And Plants

Always include fresh flowers and plants in your place. The great thing about these is that they not only look fantastic, they have numerous benefits. They bring in color, they smell great, and studies have shown that they make us happier just by looking at them.

 

You don’t have to have fresh flowers in every room, as those bills would quickly add up. They usually look better in the lounge or even the hall, so consider that. Plants, however, are a different ball game altogether. Plants can be used in abundance to bring the outdoors inside, add texture, and create a bit of an eclectic look. If you don’t want to use real plants, that’s fine too – realistic looking fake plants will work just as well, although they won’t purify the air like their real counterparts.

 

Create Your Very Own Unique Gallery Wall

A gallery wall can look amazing, whether you want to do something that looks tidy with your favorite pictures all in a row, or you want to make it look more ‘organic’ by using frames of different shapes and sizes to show off various pieces of art and pictures that you like. You can also use hanging accessories, plants, and mirrors to create the gallery wall of your dreams.

 

However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t rush your gallery wall, or expect it to be complete within one day. It takes time; you want to slowly collect the pieces for the wall, and only choose pieces that you absolutely love. Think of it as a special project that will simply take as long as it takes.

 

Once you have your pieces, you can practice how you want them to look by lying them out on the floor. Do this before you put any holes in your wall.

 

Make Everything Look As Plush And Cosy As Possible

Who wouldn’t love to just dive on some of the sofas and beds that you can see on Pinterest? They look super plush and comfortable, don’t they?

 

To make yours look the same, you have to focus on dressing them properly. This means investing in throws and cushions that make them look amazing. Using cushions of different sizes and textures can help.

 

Get The Texture Balance Right

Although you want to include a lot of texture in your space to bring it to life and stop it from looking dull, you don’t want to use too much. Too much texture can be just as bad as not enough texture – plus, it can harbour dust and germs, making allergies and illnesses worse in the home.

 

Make sure you work hard to find the right balance and it’ll make a massive difference.

 

Don’t Feel Pressured To Have All Of Your Furniture Matching

Having matching furniture in every room, or any room, can quickly make that space look dated. You can purchase separate pieces that you really love and easily bring them together, providing there is one unifying element, such as a color, pattern, or similar style. It can take a little practice to get right, but mixing up your furniture often looks way more interesting than matching it, even if you’re not looking to have a super eclectic decor. It looks better in just about any decor.

 

Invest In Great Lighting

Great lighting is key to a Pinterest worthy space. Even in spaces that use, dark, rich colors, you never get a feel that they are ‘dark’. This is usually because of the great lighting. As well as the right type of lighting for the room, invest in fixtures and fittings that look great and will stand the test of time. For example, chrome or metallic light fittings can look great in an industrial style home decor.

 

Add Character With Artwork You Love

Every home should incorporate artwork, so add character with pieces that you love. You don’t have to go overboard here, and they definitely don’t have to be expensive. You can get a local artist to commission you a painting if you have a small budget, or you can buy a copy of one and simply frame it. You could even create your own.

 

Make Sure Your Lay Out Makes Sense

Your lay out must make sense – are people bumping into things as they make their way around? Is getting around unnecessarily difficult? It should look great, but function well too. Focusing on the balance and symmetrical aspects of a room will stop it from looking crazy most of the time, even if you’ve gone for eclectic pieces.

 

You can use pieces of software and even free apps to input your measurements and get a feel for what will work in your room better. You might find that the lay out you have now isn’t as great as you thought.

 

Do Something Unusual With An Unexpected Item

Why not get creative and do something unusual with an unexpected item? This could be making a bed frame out of old crates, or even using vintage suitcases stacked up as a side table. Use your imagination – fruit crates can also become shelves, or even bedside tables. This will bring a quirky look to your home, and quirkiness is something that Pinterest isn’t short on!

 

Keep It Clean And Tidy

Finally, make sure you keep your place clean and tidy. It’s the only way to keep your space light and bright with a true Pinterest feel. Make sure you focus on your windows, as you want to let as much natural light in as possible.

 

Which of these ideas will you use for your Pinterest worthy place?

 

This is a collaborative post.

 

5 things for kids to do in Bristol this summer

The summer holidays are nigh! And whether the prospect of 6 weeks with the kids at home fills you with dread or excitement (or a strange mix of both), I’m sharing a few suggestions of things for the kiddos to do over the summer, in and around the Bristol area.

1 – Gromit Unleashed 2 Trail

It’s back – the ever-popular Gromit trail! This time with over 60 giant sculptures, designed by high-profile artists, featuring 3 of Nick Park’s characters; Gromit, Wallace and Feathers McGraw.  You’ll explore some of the city’s most iconic locations whilst you seek them all out!

To find out the locations of the sculptures, download the Detect-O-Gromit 2 app or, if you’d prefer, pick up a good ol’ fashioned paper map from the following locations:

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway (in the GU store), Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, M Shed, Tourist Information Centre, Aerospace Bristol and the Gromit Unleashed HQ on Upper Maudlin Street.

Happy searching!

Visit https://www.grandappeal.org.uk/trails-exhibitions/gromit-unleashed/ for more info.

2 – Kids’ Club at Clifton College (for 3-13 Years Old)

This summer, Clifton College in Bristol are hosting their popular kids’ clubs, with a group suitable for all ages between 3-13 years of age. Each club includes a wide variety of activities all with the aim that your children enjoy themselves and learn different skills on the way. The Mini’s Kids’ Club (3-4) focuses on personal development and interaction with others, while the Junior Club (5-7) focuses on encouraging children to pursue their interests and develop their skills through their own choice of activity. The oldest club, the Kids’ Club (8-13) promotes self-expression, confidence building, offering complete flexibility and choice of involvement. Of course, all three groups offer FUN, with activities such as arts and crafts, outdoor play and even afternoon swim sessions (Kids’ Club and Junior’s Club). 

Price for all clubs start from £22 for half a day and £44 for a full day. The Mini’s Club starts from 6 July 2018 while the Kids’ Club and the Junior’s Club starts from 9 July 2018. For more information, please visit www.cliftoncollege.com

3 – Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2018 

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. Made possible last year by Bristol Energy, the Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, there will be a large number of trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

For more information about the Fiesta visit: http://www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk/

4 – Visit Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The cost of days out during the school holidays can soon add up, so why not check out some of Bristol’s free family attractions. Let your littles explore the collections of art, nature and history on display in a beautiful building. Find out about the last billion years of Earth’s history, explore the region’s natural wonders and discover more about peoples’ lives, past and present. You’ll not be disappointed!

For opening times visit: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/opening-times/

5 – Visit Bristol Zoo… at Twilight!

This summer you can experience Bristol Zoo as the sun sets with their Friday Twilights ticket entry (£5 per ticket or £4 for members).

You’ll be able to enjoy the following…

• Live music throughout the evening.

• Exclusive Friday Twilight animal talks.

• Explore the award-winning gardens.

• Enjoy a delicious treat at the immersive restaurant.

• Transform into an animal with our fantastic face painting!

Buy tickets online here: https://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/whats-on/friday-twilights (hurry – they’re selling out fast!)

Jenna xxx

This is a collaborative post.

Effectively childproofing your home

Any parent will be able to tell you that kids can be a real handful at times. Their minds wander and, as soon as they can walk, the world is their oyster. So, you really do need to keep an eye on them at all times. Now, you may think that your home is the safest space for your child to spend time, but it can also hold a lot of potential for accidents. So, to help to maintain your peace of mind, here are a few different ways to effectively childproof your home for your littel ones’ safety.

The Kitchen

The kitchen holds a lot of potential hazards for little ones, so it’s generally best that they are kept outside of this space whenever possible. However, there are extra steps that you can take to ensure that the room is safe should your little ones manage to wander in. Invest in safety locks for cupboards and cabinets, which will keep plastic bags and cleaning products off-limits.

The Lounge

Now, the lounge generally seems like a relatively safe space for children. It doesn’t have all of the immediate threats that lie in other rooms like the kitchen or bathroom. So, your priorities might want to take another turn – protecting the room from your child. Kids are inquisitive and playful and there’s always bound to be some sort of incident in the process of them growing up. Generally speaking, the television tends to take the brunt of many children’s curiosity. Avoid having magnets attached to the screen or the screen smashed by investing in wooden TV stands with doors. These are sturdy and can be closed to keep hands, magnets, and balls at bay.

The Garden

With summer finally making its way into our lives, chances are that your little ones are going to want to spend a little more time outdoors than usual. However, your garden has probably experienced some wear and tear since the last time you set foot in it. Winter winds can wreak havoc with fencing, causing breaks, splits and holes in the panels. Check the perimeter of your garden for any damage to the fencing. You don’t want little ones to escape or hurt themselves on any fractured or exposed woodwork. If you do find any damage, call in a professional fencing service to repair or replace the panel. Next, ensure that your ground is level. Uneven paving slabs can pose a serious trip hazard. Nobody wants their little ones falling over while they’re running about playing games. Finally, make sure that there isn’t any animal mess lying about. Even if you don’t have pets of your own, neighbours pets or wild animals could have used your garden as a litter tray at some point, so scour the floor and pick up any questionable matter with plastic gloves and dispose of it appropriately.

These are just a few different spaces that you might want to focus on. Just remember to always tackle any potential hazards head on and keep your child safe at all times!

 

This is a collaborative post.

You don’t need to go far for your first family holiday…

Working out the logistics of one family holiday seriously is hard. The more you try and plan it, the more you realise that the list of things that you have to consider just grows and grows. How long will the flight time be? Does the hotel have kids facilities? It’s going to be too hot? Is it going to be too cold? These are all things that you’ll now have to consider, which if we carried on listing, would seem like one big ball of stress. So, how do you think you would go about your first family holiday then? Well, we know you wouldn’t have to go far. In fact, you can have some great family holidays, right from the comfort of our beautiful country. All you need to do is pack a bag, pack the car, and go on a little adventure not too far from where you live. If you want a cracking first family holiday, here are some of the ways that you can make the most of it, without having the leave the country.

 

The Perfect Location

The perfect location does exist in the UK. In fact, there are so many different locations that we would class as perfect, it just depends on what you’re looking for. If we’re talking a family holiday, you need to go somewhere with plenty to do. So your first option is to go to a beach destination, such as the likes of Devon. Devon attracts so many tourists, and not just families either! There are plenty of holiday parks in Devon for you and your family to go, that will cater for a range of different ages in terms of activities. If you want a real family adventure, then you should go for a caravan or camping holiday, rather than sticking to a hotel. Plus, you’ll save a hell of a lot of money doing it this way! If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, you might want a city break. However, it’ll still have to be somewhere with plenty to do for children of all ages, so somewhere like London might be the place for you.

 

Relaxation & Fun

Just because you’re staying in the UK, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a taste of relaxation in the sun, especially with the weather we’re having at the minute! If you want to relax with your family, the best way to do this is to go to the local nature reserve, wherever you may be staying, and go for a picnic. Your children can play, and you can relax in the sun with some lovely food. If you’re looking for fun, you’re definitely going to have to hit a family attraction such as the zoo, or a theme park.

 

Trying Something New

Having a holiday is all about trying something new, and the UK has plenty of that for you. There are destinations in Wales where you can go into caves and do fun underground assault courses, or you might have a go at one of the Go Ape centers. It’s all about giving your children new experiences, without having to pay the prices of a holiday abroad.

So, we hope the destination that you choose is the UK. Besides, with the amazing weather we’re having at the minute, it’ll feel like you’re in the Costa Del Sol anyway!

This is a collaborative post.