Monday, 18 September 2017

My top 5 safety checks to prepare your car for a long journey // #CarSafetyChecklist

Summer might very almost be over (I'm already in full on autumn mode, I can't lie!) but that doesn't mean all the fun of exploring the UK needs to be over until next year. There is still plenty of time left to squeeze in a few trips, whether they are far away or on your doorstep! We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country and I will never tire of visiting new places and exploring all there is to offer. We certainly have lots to look forwards to over the coming months too and have plenty of car trips planned including the one that will take us to the airport for our upcoming Florida holiday! My husband and I are quite pedantic when it comes to getting the car ready for long journeys and with this in mind, today I thought that I would share with you my top 5 safety checks to prepare your car for a long journey.


You!

First and foremost, are you ready to drive? Before a long journey make sure you have had a good nights sleep and allow time for plenty of breaks along the way for rest, food and to stretch those legs! Also, make sure you have a pack of essentials for the duration of your journey; this could include snacks, drinks, a first aid kit, a blanket, torch, and a fully charged phone. Think about every eventuality as these could become vital, especially if you get stranded somewhere at night! 

Tyres

Your car tyres are the only part of the car that have contact with the actual road so making sure that they are fit for purpose, checking the tyre pressure, tread wear and overall condition is absolutely essential. Make a habit of checking your tyres over frequently and if you have one, don't forget to check your spare tyre too because you never know when you might need it! If anything needs repairing or replacing then do it in advance of your journey. Kwik-fit.com offer a wide range of tyres to suit your driving needs and they also have a handy guide with plenty of information if you're like me and things like tyres deeply confuse you! 

Lights

Making sure that all of your lights are in full working order is essential for safe car travel, especially now that the days are getting shorter. It's something you probably don't give much thought to looking at over the summer months but there's nothing like a bulb giving up on you when you're driving in the dark! Spend some time checking over all of your lights, including brake lights and signals. Also, make sure you know where local garages are located if you need to replace bulbs. 

Clean your car and check the engine levels

Check your engine levels and top them up if needed to prevent any overheating or engine failure on your journey. Also, treat yourself to a good car wash before you depart on a long journey. This will ensure that you have perfect visibility through your windows and that your lights are clean! 

Windscreen wipers

Check your windscreen wipers for wear and tear and replace them if needed. If they become damaged then not being able to see out of your windscreen properly could have a huge impact on the safety of your journey. Inspect your wipers by lifting the arm away from the windscreen and also test that they are working fully by washing the windscreen. If they need replacing then this is something that you can do yourself or a garage will do it for a small fee.

What are your top tips for preparing your car for a long journey? I'd love to hear them so please let me know in a comment below! 

* This is a collaborative post but as always, all words are my own
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Thursday, 14 September 2017

A day out at Blackpool Zoo


A few weeks ago we headed over to Blackpool Zoo for a fun filled family day out. It really is one of my favourite places, not just in Blackpool either! I have such fond memories of visiting as a child and I love that Miss E loves it just as much as I did when I was young too. In a way it's the same and seems so familiar but at the same time everything is up to date, there always seems to be something new to explore or new animals to see every time we visit! 

If you've never been to Blackpool Zoo before then honestly, pop it on the top of your list of things to do next time you're in Blackpool. It's such a lovely day out and far removed from the hustle and bustle of the centre. The zoo is nestled right by the beautiful Stanley Park (also well worth a visit!), just a couple of miles away from the centre. Inside you'll find acres of spacious parkland complete with lakes, waterfalls and traditional English woodland. It's a beautiful setting for the many large, natural enclosures that ensure you can get as close as possible to all of your favourite animals! 

The zoo is home to literally all creatures great and small; from guinea pigs and rabbits to big cats and giraffes. Miss E seems to acquire a new favourite animal each time we visit. She's very much in a gorilla phase at the moment so this time these beautiful creatures were her absolute favourite. I think she could have watched them for hours, they are both majestic and wildly endearing. I love that you can get so close to them yet still remain respectful of their gentle and peaceful nature. I hear that the zoo welcomed an adorable new addition to their gorilla clan very recently too so I am absolutely dying to take Miss E back to see!

Another firm favourite for us at the zoo is the various walkabout areas where you actually enter the enclosure with different animals including lemurs, wallabies, birds and squirrel monkeys. Always good fun, especially if you manage to visit around feeding time!

Throughout each day at Blackpool Zoo there are always talks, displays and ways to learn about the many different creatures there. We always try and visit a different one each time we visit. This time, we attended the sea lion display which we haven't seen for a few years now. Miss E was fascinated by these beautiful creatures who have a stunning enclosure and dedicated trainers. Sea lions are one of my favourites so I am glad that the sun was shining so we could see this wonderful talk again! 

On our visit we also made use of the playground areas dotted around the zoo, mooched around the Dinosaur Safari learning about all the different dinosaurs, visited the gift shops and of course, tried out the cafes! The Lake View Cafe is the perfect destination if you're looking for a spot of lunch. They serve everything from pre-packed lunch bags for children to hot dinners and ice cream. We like to sit outside as the tables overlook some of the animal enclosures. Friendly peacocks also like to visit the tables outside, much to the delight of Miss E!

Inside the main building at the entrance is also a lovely little coffee shop that serves Starbucks coffee and yummy cake. It also has a soft play area. Literally the perfect place for children to burn off energy if they haven't already worn themselves out at the end of the day! Miss E never stops, I swear. I need me some of that energy.... I don't know where she gets it from! 

Tickets for Blackpool Zoo can be purchased online in advance or at the entrance on the day. If you're planning on visiting more than one attraction in Blackpool then it might be worth looking at the Blackpool Resort Pass Plus too which will gain you entry into all the top attractions for one great price. We have used these before and I can thoroughly recommend them! 

Let's have some photos, shall we?! 















Have you visited Blackpool Zoo before? What is your favourite attraction in Blackpool? Let me know in a comment below!

Thank you for reading x
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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Things I've Loved This Week // 040

Goodness me, it has been a little while since I did one of these posts so here is a little Sunday round-up of some of the things I have been loving this week!

Fresh Converse

Things like this shouldn't make me so happy but honestly, they do! I purchased these beauties from ASOS this week with the sole intention of wearing them when we go to Walt Disney World later this year. A tad indulgent but gotta keep my feet comfy, yes?! You can literally walk countless miles each day there without even realising and having proper shoes can make all the difference. I usually go for black when it comes to Converse so this pristine white pair is quite a change for me. I flippin' love them! 


Lord of the Lost

Frequently included in my weekly round-up posts, my love for this band shows absolutely no signs of dying! I don't think I've ever fallen so hard for a band before, and I fangirl a lot so this is saying something. I just love everything about them. Their sound, their aesthetic, their ability to perfectly reinvent themselves. This week I got to see them live in the UK and it really was a special moment for me. Admittedly emotional. I have everything crossed that their visit here is the first of many now, they are thoroughly exquisite to see live! 


Autumn feels

My favourite season is creeping up on us and I am so excited for all the things that autumn brings! Pumpkin Spice Lattes, getting to layer up, long walks, buying new boots and choosing my winter coat, nights out, darker evenings, lighting all the candles, getting cosy, Halloween in all the shops, hot chocolates.... ahhhhh! There has been a definite chill in the air this week (and an awful lot of rain!) and all I can say is autumn, bring it on!


New Leighton Denny nail products

This week I have been loving two new additions to my nail kit in the form of the Leighton Denny Crystal Finish quick dry top coat and the Leighton Denny "Caught Red Handed" nail polish*. Caught Red Handed is a gorgeous iridescent deep red that is just perfect for autumn. Jewel like and super glossy, I anticipate that i'll be wearing this shade plenty over the coming months. I don't think you could get a more perfect vampy red for Halloween, it's gorgeous!

The Crystal Finish quick dry top coat does its job perfectly too in that I can now apply my polish and not have to wait an eternity for it to dry. Perfect when you're running around after a 3 year old all day! Not only does it help speed up the whole process of applying nail polish, it helps keep your nails chip free for longer. Honestly I applied the red at the beginning of the week and used the top coat and it is still going strong this weekend! I'll be using the top coat every time I apply nail polish from now on, it's exactly what I have been looking for!






FastPass Day

Our 60 day mark crept up on us recently meaning that we could make our FastPass bookings for our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. This is the final big bit of planning for us and now I feel like I can finally relax and start counting down the days! We managed to book everything we planned for and I am so excited for all the new experiences we'll have as a family. I am super excited about taking kiddo on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this year as she has finally passed the magic height marker of 97cm. And Peter Pans Flight too because on our past Disney trips we've either not been able to get a FastPass or the standby queues were horrendous. But this year, finally, we got a FastPass! Hurry up, November!


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below! 

 * I received these products to try out but as always, all words and thoughts are my own!
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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Review // Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Compact Duo


Recently I was very kindly sent a Compact Duo from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range to try out and I have been so very impressed with it that I wanted to share it with you today!

Let's be truthful, I am no beauty blogger and I don't often dedicate a full post to a beauty product but honestly, I love this compact duo! If you're a busy mama like me who loves no fuss makeup that lasts through the day then let me tell you a little bit more about this genius product.

The Compact Duo comes in two options, a Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder or the Summer Kiss Bronzing Powder and comes with space for one of the super hydrating, highly pigmented Divine Lips lipsticks. 

Firstly, let's talk about the packaging. It is just gorgeous and so beautifully designed. I love the Art Deco inspired feel, it screams luxury even though it doesn't have the price tag to match. I love the heavy 'click' when you close the compact, I love the gold colour. It's just stunning, am I right?! 

Inside is a good quality mirror, the pressed powder, an applicator and space for a lipstick. It's a lot of product packed into a small space! I received the Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder and a Divine Lips lipstick in the shade "Marilyn", both of which are spot on for everyday wear. 

The Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder is soft and is applied to the face like a dream. It makes my skin feel soft, even and disguises any open pores or shine in an instant. It is skin responsive and suits my relatively pale skin just perfectly.

The "Marilyn" Divine Lip lipstick is potentially one of the best lipsticks I have ever tried. I love a lipstick that feels hydrating and not too heavy and this fits the bill perfectly. And honestly, it lasts. Maybe not all day for a compulsive tea drinker like me. But usually my lipstick is gone within an hour but this one can last me a meal and a few drinks. I'm very, very impressed. The shade is just perfect too, a nice rich tone that suits both day and night. 

The thing I love most about this product though is that I can just close it up and throw it in my bag and it's ready for when I need a quick pat of powder or a sweep of lipstick. I always carry a powder and a lipstick around with me, especially on a night out so it's amazing having these products together with a handy mirror in one compact. It's perfect!

Also, you can switch the lipstick to another shade if you're off out in the evening so it's super easy to change, whatever the outfit or occasion.

It is the ultimate convenience when it comes to touch ups, let that rummaging around in the bottom of your handbag be a thing of the past! 





Have you tried any products from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range before? Let me know in a comment below!

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty is available at the official website, M&S stores nationwide, QVC and Urban Retreat.

* This post contains PR samples that I received in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words are my own.
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Saturday, 2 September 2017

GIVEAWAY // WIN A BEAUTY & THE BEAST MRS POTTS COIN PURSE

It's time for another giveaway!


Beauty & the Beast has really had something of a revival this year all thanks to the stunning live action remake released in 2017. Related merchandise has popped up all over the place but I don't think any store has created such a frenzy (online, at least!) than good old Primark. It's not somewhere I usually shop but I have found myself popping in repeatedly over the past few months hoping to get myself some of the much coveted Beauty & the Beast merchandise (yes, I still want the Beauty & the Beast duvet set!) or to stock up on little bits ready for our next Disney holiday.

Recently I popped into my local store for a browse and spotted a stand of Mrs Potts coin purses by the escalator. Well I just had to have one, didn't I?!

After the success of my Chip coin purse giveaway, I thought I would pick up an extra Mrs Potts too to give away to one lucky reader. I know how hard she has been to get hold of, as well as the rest of the gang!


I just love Mrs Potts and not just because she's mama to my favourite character, Chip!


If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this Mrs Potts coin purse then here are a few things you need to know:

This giveaway is open to UK & European residents only
A winner will be drawn at random on Sunday 01st October, 2017
Please enter this giveaway using the rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!

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Friday, 1 September 2017

Hello September!


Well, hello there September! How did we get here already? August was both a whirlwind and a beautiful blur of circus, theatre and cinema dates, theme parks, seaside trips and countless trips to the park. Our first proper 'summer holiday' is over already, just like that. And I can honestly say I've loved every minute. The later-than-usual nights, the odd lie-in, spending afternoons watching countless Disney movies when the weather wasn't great. It has been so good! 

Honestly, I was kinda worried about how I'd entertain my 3 year old for almost 7 weeks but we've filled our days perfectly. Just perfectly.

So, as the arrival of September is well and truly here and kiddo is back to nursery next week I have been making plans to make this month count. And to catch up on all the work and admin I've not been able to squeeze in time to do, of course! 

I have such a backlog of things to sell on eBay so this is going to be my absolute main objective this month. Clearing out and making money. We have a lot of things to save for at the moment (everything always breaks or needs replacing at once, doesn't it?!) so I'm going to try and cram in as much as possible. Lots of photographing products and endless listing on the horizon, for sure! 

We have trips planned and also this month is a lot of planning. Birthday planning (how on earth does my child turn 4 next month?!), holiday planning, life planning (oh boy, this one is crucial!) and the big one... school planning.

Yes, this month we have to fill in our school applications for next year! 

Eek! 

Hugely nervous about this one, please wish us luck! 

So, September. I am ready for you. Let's do this! But let me grab my first PSL of the year first, right?!

Do you have any exciting plans for this month? Are you looking forwards to the arrival of autumn? Let me know in a comment below!
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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach With a Young Child

There is no denying that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is renowned for it's huge range of experiences for thrill-seekers. As the UK's most ride intensive theme park, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to legendary rides such as The Big One and Valhalla and absolute classics such as The Grand National and the Big Dipper. It truly is my all time favourite theme park in the UK and now we have a family of our own, i'm pleased to say that a day out at the Pleasure Beach is just as exciting for young children too!


If you are currently planning a trip to the Pleasure Beach and you're wondering if there will be enough to do for little ones then today I hope that I can put your mind at rest because there is literally SO MUCH.... honestly, I don't know where to start! From opportunities to meet favourite characters to riding a roller-coaster for the first time; a day out at the Pleasure Beach is something that truly the whole family can enjoy.


Today I wanted to share five reasons that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a perfect day out for a toddler or preschooler! Here we go....

Rides galore!

We have visited the Pleasure Beach with kiddo numerous times now and we have always been consistently impressed with the amount of rides and attractions that we can access as a family, even when Miss E was a baby. Children under the age of two visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach can get a free Pleasure Beach Pass for park entry and this includes unlimited access to the Pleasure Beach Express (a lovely little steam locomotive ride that transports you around the park on a 21 inch gauge track), the Chinese Puzzle Maze, Bradley & Bella's Learning Garden and the spectacular Dancing Water Show. Although the Pleasure Beach Pass does not gain you access to any rides, you still have access to character meets, park entertainment and all facilities. Not bad for free! Using one of these passes will get small children used to the sights and sounds of a theme park too!


Once your child reaches the age of two, they can get their own ride wristband and this is where the real fun begins! There are a whopping 17 rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach that have no height restrictions and are accessible to young children as long as they meet a few criteria (IE, they can walk unaided). There are also plenty of rides that children can ride with an adult, as long as they meet the height requirements! Every time we visit we find that there are even more rides we can go on together as a family. Kiddo loves pushing herself to try out new things and here is where she rode her first roller coaster.... the Blue Flyer. This fun little coaster is now one of her favourites!


Nickelodeon Land is one of our favourite areas in the park. Home to 12 amazing themed rides, you'll have so much fun exploring and meeting your child's favourite Nickelodeon characters! Dora's World Voyage is a firm favourite with Miss E. It's a peaceful boat ride which reminds me of Disney's It's a Small World complete with Dora the Explorer who visits various countries across the world teaching you how to say "hello" in different languages along the way! I think she would happily ride it all day if we let her!


Nickelodeon Land is packed full of rides in a relatively small area that all offer a different experience so it won't be hard to find something here that your child really loves! From the Rugrats Lost River which is a perfect first log flume to the faster-than-it-looks Backyardigan's Pirate Treasure, you'll find yourself riding some of these over and over as they are so good. I promise!

Outside of Nickelodeon Land you'll find a huge mix rides suitable for young children dotted across the park. Our absolute favourite is the Alice Ride which remains mostly unchanged since my own childhood. It's a bonkers fluorescent dark ride adventure through Wonderland complete with a gorgeous sickly-sweet scent, moving animals and smiling flowers that you get to view whilst riding in an oversized Cheshire cat. It's brilliant!


Other favourites include River Caves, a classic boat ride which takes you through the tunnel of love on a journey through time, the traditional Thompson Carousel, the faster paced Derby Racer and, of course, Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic. If you visited the park before 2013 then you'll remember this ride fondly as the Gold Mine. It was one of my favourites as a child, for sure! I love that this ride has been completely revamped for the modern visitor yet still retains the charm of the original ride. This is something I really love about the Pleasure Beach, they cling on to that nostalgia and magic like no other park in the UK. Their mix of new and old across the park gives me hints of my own childhood yet there's always something new to try each time we visit. Honestly, it's magic like no other!


Small queues and a compact park

If you are planning on visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach with a child under 5 and can take advantage of visiting on a weekday or in a quieter period then do it! We find that if you do this then you will most likely be able to walk straight onto any ride, meaning you can cover the whole park with time to spare. September weekdays are brilliant as older children have all gone back to school, we did this in previous years and did the whole park a few times over before lunch. Super if you need to schedule your day around nap times.


Saying this though, if you need to visit in the holidays then I still think you will be pleasantly surprised by queue times. We recently visited on one of the hottest and busiest days in August and we didn't have to wait more than 20 minutes for anything, even the bigger rides!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of those theme parks that is packed into a relatively small space. It's super for small children who have legs that tire easily as all of the rides are close to each other. We like making use of the Pleasure Beach Express for down time when kiddo gets tired, it also has a couple of stops meaning you can use it to get from one part of the park to another. Super!


Meeting Characters


Miss E loves meeting her favourite characters and Blackpool Pleasure Beach certainly has plenty to choose from, especially in Nickelodeon Land. From Paw Patrol favourites to Spongebob Squarepants, there's always someone out ready to meet and greet visitors! There are plenty of photo opportunities dotted across the park too so don't miss out on them!



Shows and entertainment

As well as boasting more rides than you can shake a stick at, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also home to a whole range of incredible entertainment suitable for the whole family! Depending on what time of year you visit, there'll always be something on!


This August we took Miss E to Hot Ice for the first time and my goodness, she loved it more than I could have ever hoped for! This show runs twice daily through the summer months and is well worth seeing. Also worth knowing is you can buy tickets for this separately, you don't need a ride wristband as the arena can be accessed from the side of the park.

Miss E is 3 years old and for her the highlights were the beautiful costumes, the music, the interaction with the performers (she got plenty of high fives, kisses blown and waves from the skaters!), getting to meet one of the beautiful performers, getting to stay up late (the evening show starts at 7pm) and having sweet treats in the interval. Hot Ice was one of our favourite experiences of our most recent trip and we will definitely make sure this something we do every year from now on, just as I did when I was little!


Accommodation

Finally, let's talk about accommodation. Blackpool Pleasure Beach has it's own hotel, the 4 star Big Blue Hotel and honestly it is my favourite hotel for so many reasons but mostly because it is perfectly family friendly. We wouldn't stay anywhere else for our Blackpool visits, we love all the little touches that make all the difference to a family holiday. From bunk beds and children's entertainment areas in bedrooms complete with games, tv's and Playstation consoles to perfectly designed creative children's menu's, no detail has been left out.


Everything is spotless, the food is incredible, the views from the bedrooms are unbeatable (make sure you request a Pleasure Beach view if you want to see the rides whizzing past your window!).... ah, we love it there!



What's more, guests of the Big Blue Hotel are able to access the Pleasure Beach through a VIP entrance at the side of the hotel. You can also pick up your ride wristbands and show tickets at the hotel reception meaning no queues in the morning. Pretty much straight out of the hotel and onto the rides! Perfect if you are visiting with small children!


Have you visited Blackpool Pleasure Beach before with a young child? Let me know what their favourite rides or experiences are in the comments below! 

If you'd like to find out more about Blackpool Pleasure Beach then pop over to the Visit Blackpool website for more information and plenty more ideas for things to do in Blackpool! Also, if you're visiting more than one attraction in Blackpool then it might we worth looking at the Blackpool Resort Pass which will gain you entry into all the top attractions for one great price! We have used these before and I highly recommend them if you're staying for a few days!
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