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.

How you can get free tea and coffee 

If there is one thing that we Brits love, it is a cup of tea which we all know makes everything better.  This is why one of the most popular freebies is a free cup of tea or coffee.  This is one of the freebies that people will come back for time and time again.  If the idea of free tea and coffee seems a bit too good to be true, you should consider why a company would offer this to you. 

To Introduce Their Product to You 

Coffee and tea companies want you to try out their products and fall in love with their brand of warm beverage.  They are hoping that if you like the free tea or coffee they offer you, you will come back and buy their product.  This is a good marketing technique because most people will try something if free including samples of tea or coffee.  This offers the business a great method of introducing their products to new customers.   

As there are a lot of different tea companies and coffee shops out there, these companies have to think outside of the box.  Freebies are their way of getting you to try out their brand instead of their competition. Sites like WOW Free Stuff have a free food and drink section you can check to get free tea and coffee. 

To Make You Loyal To Their Shop 

If there is a supermarket which is giving away free tea or coffee, you are going to be more likely to want to do your shopping there.  When tea and coffee are offered as a perk for shopping there, the company is enticing you to want to spend money in their store.  The reason is that they are giving you something extra that you would not get at their competitors.  This means that you should make the most of your grocery shopping and claim a free cup of tea, after all, you deserve it.  

How Can You Get A Free Tea Or Coffee? 

The method of getting your free tea or coffee will vary depending on the place.  However, the most common method is through loyalty cards which you need to sign up for.  Free tea and coffee are on offer by John Lewis, IKEA and Waitrose as part of their membership loyalty bonus.  All you need to do is sign up for their cards and then collect your free tea or coffee when you want.   

 There are other places across the UK where you can get a free hot drink if you do not want to head to the supermarket.  Coffee chains such as Costa and Starbucks as well as certain restaurant chains often announce when they are giving away free drinks.  These announcements will generally be made on their social media pages, so you will have to follow them.  

There are tea companies like Birchall & Redbush and Twinnings that regularly send out free samples.  These samples allow you to test out new flavours before you commit to buying a full pack.   

 Where Can You Get Free Tea Or Coffee Now? 

If you are now ready for your free cup of tea or coffee, you need to know where you can get one.  There are a number of places that are offering free tea and coffee right now. 

 Waitrose 

To get your free hot drink, you will need to sign up to the myWaitrose loyalty scheme.  You will be sent a membership card and then you can start getting your free drinks.  Of course, you will be required to make a purchase in a Waitrose store before you can get your free cup.  However, there is no limit on the value of your purchase.   

When you get your warm drink, you can choose from tea, cappuccino, Americano and latte.  You could even get a hot chocolate if you want.  All you have to do is sign up for the free scheme.  

John Lewis 

The John Lewis freebie offers double the excitement because you get a free hot drink as well as a free slice of cake.  To get this, you will need to register to the My John Lewis membership programme.  You will then receive a voucher at least 3 times each year for a free hot drink and slice of cake from the John Lewis cafe.   

The John Lewis reward programme also helps you make the most of your time spent there as you collect points as well.  As you collect, you will also gain rewards and unexpected treats.  The John Lewis card will be sent to you within 2 weeks of signing up.   

IKEA 

IKEA is a family favourite store and they have joined in with the hot drink freebie fun.  If you are a member of the IKEA Family programme, you will be able to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee anytime you visit the store, but only during the week.  This is ideal because we all know how stressful a trip to IKEA can be.   

A free cup of tea is the perfect end to your IKEA shopping trip, but this is not all that the scheme has to offer.  IKEA Family members also get other extra benefits such as discounted rates on products, free product insurance and an extra 10% off all of the sale items.  These are not bad benefits for a loyalty programme that is free to join.   

PAUL 

When you sign up for the PAUL loyalty card, you will be getting some good freebies.  You will be able to claim a large coffee, a hot chocolate or tea and a pain au chocolate or croissant for free.  All you have to do is pick up a loyalty card and register online.   

If you have never visited Paul for breakfast, you are in for a treat.  You will be able to kick-start your day in the best way possible with an amazing Parisian Breakfast for free when you visit any PAUL store before noon.   

Greggs 

Greggs is everyone’s favourite snack shop on the high street and is also a great place to get a free hot drink.  All you need to do is sign up to the Greggs Rewards App and get your free welcome hot drink.   

The Greggs app is very user-friendly so anyone will be able to claim their free drink.  You will need to download the app and register your account.  You should then swipe through to the rewards section and find your free drink offer.   

Booths 

If you live in the North-West of the country, you can get a free regular hot drink at Booths.  This will be the perfect post-shopping refreshment for people.  All you need to do is sign up to their loyalty programme.  

The programme also allows you to keep track of you’re shopping with electronic receipts, you can enjoy a discounted Afternoon Tea for Two as well as weekend newspaper discounts.  All you need to do is pick up your free temporary card in store to get started.   

Benugo 

If you are in London, you can claim a free coffee from Benugo by signing up for their newsletter.  Benugo has cafes and restaurants in some of the most beautiful spots in the capital.  So why not sign up to the newsletter the next time you head to the city.   

 It is important to note that the free coffee voucher you get is only valid for a month from the date applied.  This means that you need to plan when you get the voucher to ensure that you get your free drink.  

Costa 

 If you are a Three customer, you will already know about the great freebies and benefits you get with the reward app Wuntu.  Wuntu will often team up with Costa to offer free hot drinks to users.  This means you need to keep an eye on the app.  

Cafe Nero  

O2 Priority customers know that Tuesday is a good day.  If you are an O2 customer, you can get a free drink from Cafe Nero every Tuesday.  You will also be able to collect loyalty Nero stamps at the same time. 

This is a collaborative post.

Tips for building an outbuilding in your garden

If you’re looking for a way to increase the value of your home, your garden is a gold mine. If you’re looking for a place to escape from the family, food missiles being thrown by toddlers, and an incessant noise that you’re convinced is giving you tinnitus, your garden is a gold mine! We all need time to escape from the hub of the home, and an outbuilding is the perfect solution. Not only is it an extra room for your house, but it’s can look stylish for a relatively low cost. But, what do you need to consider when building an outbuilding?

Is It Going To Have Multiple Uses?

The possibilities of an outbuilding are endless, from an entertainment room to a gym, to a place to store all of your garden tools. If it’s going to have multiple users, you need to consider the materials for the building. If it’s going to double up as an art studio, while also a place to store plants in the winter, is it going to be warm enough or cool enough for the purposes? You need to think about the overall practicalities and factor these in when creating a budget for the outbuilding. The floor materials, as well as the internal walls, need to be practical enough, and so if you are working out the polished concrete floor cost, in relation to the interior and exterior walls, but you don’t have enough in your budget, it’s important to go back to the purpose of the building. Because if you want it to be an extra room, but it’s completely uninhabitable in the winter, you’re not going to get much use out of it, and therefore it’s a waste of money.

Does It Need Planning Permission?

This is when it gets into many technicalities. The bottom line is that if you are hoping to make it an extra room used for the purposes of getting five minutes away from everyone, rather than it being an extra bathroom, kitchen, or any other type of accommodation, you don’t need to acquire planning permission. If the outbuilding is within the Permitted Development Rights, you don’t need to get planning permission.

Other Concerns

If you live in a terraced house, you need to consider if building an outbuilding will prove to be annoying for your neighbours. This goes back to the purpose of it, but also, if you plan on setting up the building close to one of the neighbour’s walls, is this going to cause strife further down the line? If it’s a place for the kids to go and play, you need to think about the noise levels. It’s worth bearing all these in mind.

An outbuilding is a great idea to get an extra room, especially if you are all sandwiched together, but there are many things for you to consider. It can be a great place to go and escape to, but if it’s not practical enough, especially when the weather gets cold, are you going to be using it much? In which case, aren’t you just better hiding from everyone in the toilet?

This is a collaborative post.

Tips For Travelling With Young Children

If you want to escape the daily grind so that you can enjoy some sun with your family, you’re not alone. Brits are taking more holidays abroad than ever before; in fact, the number of holidays increased to a peak of over 65 million annual trips in 2015.

However, many parents start to feel a little nervous when they think about spending hours on a flight with young children. Tiredness, travel sickness and boredom can all cause some serious stress on the journey, so it can be useful to plan ahead. After all, you even need to pack for a day out with kids. Here are three simple tips to help you travel with young children.

Plan For The Flight

If you are travelling with young children it is often best to choose one straight flight, rather than multiple flights with breaks between. This is because it will be much easier and less stressful for all of you – and if you’re on a budget, it can also be useful to look for cheaper flights and hotels. After all, the average price of a holiday for a British family of four is £4792! Normally you can kill two birds with one stone by searching for holidays that include flights and hotels as a package, as this tends to be cheaper and it is easy to get direct flights.

Load Up The Tablet

Load up your tablet or phone with educational apps and games for children so that they have something to do during the flight. This will give you a break so you can relax, and it means that your children have a distraction if they dislike flying. Just make sure that you download games that can still be played while the device is on flight mode!

Prepare A Bag

Pack a bag with sickness medication, a blanket and some extra clothing in case your child spills food or has an accident. A comforter is another good idea as it makes it easier for your children to nap as you fly. It can also be useful to buy a mini-suitcase on wheels for them to roll with them, as this lightens the load for you while teaching your child about responsibility.

Flying with children doesn’t have to be expensive and stressful. There are lots of ways to lower the overall costs of the trip, and if you pack the right stuff the flight can be fun and educational, rather than tiresome and frustrating.

This is a collaborative post.

A Quick Guide to Understanding Stone And Gravel Types for Garden Setup 

Everyone loves a garden or outdoor landscape that has a dash of stone and gravel. Gravel and stone can make even the simplest outdoor landscape look classy and upscale. What most people aren’t aware of is that there are several different kinds of stones and gravels available in the market. They are available in different textures, colors and more. If you’re looking to install some stone and gravel in your landscape, it’s essential that you know about the many varieties available. Today we have put together some details of the various kinds of stones available and some ideas you can incorporate into your landscape:  

Decomposed Granite 

One of the most popularly used materials in the outdoor landscape is decomposed granite. Decomposed granite is typically used by landscape artists for patios and pathways. This material gives the landscape a very rustic and rugged vibe. Decomposed granite comes in a tan color that almost borderlines on red and over the years with exposure to the sun the red fades away. The best part about using decomposed granite in your landscape is that it is very affordably priced and also easily available everywhere. Decomposed granite is best applied in layers that are very thin. A lot of people even add a little bit of stabilizer to the decomposed granite to prevent it from getting ruined during extreme weather conditions and excessive traffic.  

Pea Gravel  

The name of this gravel pretty much speaks for itself. The shapes and sizes of the rocks of this gravel resemble peas. You will find this gravel in a range of white, grey, tan and brown shades. A large number of people use pea gravel as filler stones. You can also use this gravel for your pathways and patios. The pea gravel is also very reasonably priced and can be sourced with equal ease. If you’re planning on installing pea gravel, it is advised that you have a proper barrier to ensure that the pea gravel is always in place. This gravel tends to get all over the place if it isn’t kept within in a proper barrier.  

River Rock  

This type of gravel is relatively larger in size than the pea gravel. It is used by people to create dry creek beds. The river rock gravel is easily available. You can even place it in a low flowing water stream or an artificial water body. These rocks are affordably priced and easily available. However, if you’re planning on installing this rock, you need to ensure that you are on top of weeding. Weeding through this rock can prove the be an absolute nightmare.  

Crushed Granite Gravel  

While this gravel is the cousin of decomposed granite, it has a few differences. The crushed granite gravel has particles that are larger than the particles of the decomposed granite. This gravel is ideal for patios and walkways. Finding crushed granite gravel is not as easy to find as decomposed granite. It may be a little priced than decomposed granite too.  

 Mexican Beach Pebbles  

These are gorgeous black pebbles that look fabulous when placed in waterbodies and all outdoor landscapes. They can be used as decorative rocks too. The Mexican beach pebbles are slightly on the expensive side. Finding these pebbles in rural areas can be a bit of a hassle. If you’re planning on giving your outdoor landscape a very Zen vibe, then these pebbles are the perfect options for you. If you’re planning on installing these pebbles, make sure that maintenance is in the area is done regularly. Make sure that dead leaves and other fallen foliage are cleared out from the rock bed on a regular basis. Also, ensure that the weeds are taken out regularly.  

Gravel And Faux Plants  

If you’re looking to decorate your outdoor areas breathtakingly and fabulously, you can mix up a few artificial trees and faux plants along with these fabulous pebbles or gravels. You can use the larger rocks like the Mexican beach pebbles to decorate the silk tree options. The finer gravel can be placed in pots of the artificial plants and so on. You can also use some gorgeous and vibrant artificial flowers and hanging baskets in the outdoor landscape areas. Using this mix and match combo will make your commercial and residential landscapes stand out like stars in a dark night’s sky.  

Gravel Is Fire Retardant And Protects Your Landscape  

While most people only look at the beauty aspect of any landscape, they don’t realize how important it is to ensure that the landscape is also fire retardant. While there are several things one can do to make sure that the landscape is fire retardant, the installation of stones, rocks, and gravel can also help. Stones and rocks are by nature fire resistant. In the event that a fire is to break out, these rocks can break the fire and prevent it from spreading further. The rocks and stones can also be used to keep a distance between the trees and prevent the landscape from becoming overly crowded. Landscapes that are cluttered have more chances of catching fires than those that have plants that are evenly spaced out and separated by rock or stone markers.  

The best part about installing gravel and stones in your landscape is that irrespective of weather conditions, the gravel will not really spoil. Further, the gravel can enhance the character of the overall landscape and can also have played a major role in ensuring that your landscape is fire retardant and the people working in the premises or the people living in the premises are safe from harm. Gravel is mostly inexpensive and can be purchased for landscapes that are massive in size too.  

For all of you out there who have always wondered about the various available options of stone and gravel, this is the best guide for you. Most of these materials are available globally and can enhance your landscape from simple and plain to upscale and classy!  

This is a collaborative post.