Family fun in the freshest air on the Welsh coast
Greener environments give the best backdrops to your holiday photos. There’s nothing fresher than green, natural space and clean sea air; which is exactly why Britain’s holiday parks have been re-landscaped over the years, so families can enjoy wide open grassy areas and explore huge surrounding forests, full of life.
In the last 12 months, Haven reduced its overall carbon footprint by more than 10% through by ‘greening up’ its parks.
“We want to keep our surrounding beaches, woods and countryside as beautiful tomorrow as they are today.”
North Wales is home to three eco-friendly parks and in such a beautiful part of the UK, the green efforts at each will work to preserve some of the most diverse wildlife our island has to offer.
Perched on the edge of Shore Road in Prestatyn, this holiday park comes with direct access to a massive beach. Further inland, there are six Welsh forests to discover; one of which is called ‘Big Pool Wood’ and unsurprisingly, is home to a big pool of fresh water.
The park itself has a newly installed ‘Lazy River’ – heated and maintained in line with Haven’s green ethos, to preserve clean sand on the beaches, clean air in the atmosphere and clean attitudes all-round.
Wildlife to spot here: The freshwater otter
Day out: Welsh Mountain Zoo
Hafan y Môr
Looking out into the Irish Sea in one direction and across acres of green land in the other, Hafan y Môr is flanked by beauty. Protecting its surroundings is a priority for staff at the park…but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun:
Ropeworks, paintball, adventure golf, pottery classes – the list goes on and on when it comes to fun-filled activities here. It is definitely one for big families to look into and everything about the park is green. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re part of a campaign to keep our planet clean, while having the time of your life outdoors.
Wildlife to spot here: Bottlenosed dolphins
Day out: Greenwood Forest Park
The sister park to Hafan y Môr, Greenacres is just a 20 minutes coastal drive down the road. When you reach the park, tucked between Black Rock Sands Beach and Snowdonia, it’s clear to see why its habitat is worth fighting for.
Going green isn’t just an effort to reduce carbon footprints and get a pat on the back – Haven clearly love the locations of their parks and what’s a family holiday without the great outdoors?
The park has its own nature reserve and it’s free to go exploring through the trail. For the rainy days, there’s an all-weather sports court, so you really do get the best of both worlds here. Dogs are welcome too for those bringing their own accommodation and with the whole of Snowdonia to enjoy, it’s definitely worth enquiring about family weekend breaks at Haven.
Wildlife to spot here: Mountain goats
Day out: Go Ape!
The carbon emissions Haven saved in 2012 equated to planting near two million trees. The parks in North Wales are part of an overall campaign to help keep Britain beautiful and perfect for family holidays.
If you want to visit Haven Holidays in Wales and see for yourself what’s going on at the parks, book as early as possible to take advantage of the 2013 discounts. The parks open on March 15th.
My little brother has just returned from a few weeks travelling in Australia and New Zealand and its got me thinking back to my travels. In 1996 at the young age of 19, I flew out to Australia for a year of backpacking. It seems a lifetime ago now and a whole world away. Back then I wasn’t able to update my friends and family through twitter and Facebook like my brother did! I suppose one lovely thing from back then was the letters from my family, we wrote at least once a week to each other and I still have every single letter and card that they sent me stored upstairs in my memories box.
I spent most of my time over there working in Cairns and living in a backpackers hostel. I don’t think I could manage the backpacking anymore and I’d much rather stay in a lovely hotel but I still dream of taking my family back there to experience what I did. This time round I want to sleep in a comfortable bed without worrying about bed bugs and have a nice ensuite bathroom that I won’t have to share with a dozen other people Maybe it’s my age but I like my creature comforts too much nowadays
I might not take them skydiving but I’d love to take them diving on the Great Barrier Reef and out to the red centre to see Uluru and The Olgas. Of course we’d visit Sydney and all the other places that I saw back when I was younger. Realistically I think the kids will need to be a little older to appreciate everything Australia has to offer but that just gives me even more time to plan it Well actually I’ve already started planning it and I’ve been drawing up a wish list of gorgeous hotels There certainly won’t be any standing at pay phones with a phone card trying the “phone trick” to get free calls in the middle of the night to speak to my family this time round
And for now….well back to the real world….
Each year at this very same period comes the time to write down new resolutions that we will strive to keep for the year ahead. It is a great way to look back on what we have achieved, or not, over the past 12 months and to set up some new objectives. The chance are that most people will realise that they didn’t keep their last year’s resolutions … so why not start this year with an easy one to warm you up for bigger achievements?
What about sleeping better in 2013, being well-rested all year round in order to better keep all the other resolutions? Whether it is due to a physical condition such as sleep apnea or the sleeping environment in itself, almost half of us confess to not getting a good night’s sleep every night. This is why we have put together 5 easy steps to implement right now that will allow you to get a better sleep:
1- Create a great sleeping environment
In order to create a restful environment when bedtime is getting close you should make sure that your curtains are thick enough to prevent the light outside from keeping you awake. Try also as much as possible to keep the noise down and the room cool. If external factors such as the flashing light of the alarm clock or the inevitable bustle of the night life outside can’t be avoided, the best solution is to wear a sleeping mask and ear plugs!
2- Ensure that your bed, mattress and pillows are supportive and comfy
Once you have made sure that nothing around you can prevent you from getting the beauty sleep you deserve, you should then double check the quality of your bedding, pillows, mattress and bed. Creating a restful sleeping environment is one important thing but if you are sleeping on old mattress that is not supportive enough for your spine and joints the risk is that you will keep tossing and turning at night and wake up as unrefreshed as before.
3- Give in to temptation of luxury
Have you ever dreamed of sleeping on bed sheets made of silk, Egyptian cotton or other luxurious materials? Are you tired of feeling restricted by the size of your double bed? When it comes to sleep, anything is permitted so why not take advantage of the January sales to treat yourself to breathable bed sheets and a luxurious king size mattress to sleep like a King?
4- Set up a sleeping routine
Synchronise your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to get between 7 and 8 hours sleep every night, to go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will help you get up quicker and more refreshed so you can stay attentive all day long.
5- Read a book
Switch off the TV, turn off the electronics and immerse yourself in a good book that will keep your attention up for 15 minutes before you feel the physical need to close up your eyes and drift off to sleep.
Interior design enthusiast and furniture lover, Camille writes on behalf of Wedo-Mattresses.co.uk, an online supplier of beds and mattresses.
I for one should know better as an Accountant but I’m guilty of not having the best pension plan set up myself so I thought I’d share this infographic with you I’d better get my act into gear or I’ll still be busy working when I’m 80
Source: NOW: Pensions
I’ve been thinking recently about the christmas traditions that we’ve started since I met my husband and since we started a family. There is something really comforting about Christmas traditions and I love the feeling that we’ve started something we hope to carry on for many years I thought I’d share a couple of them with you.
1. Stockings, Breakfast, Presents
It has settled into a pattern where we wake up, open our Christmas stockings before having breakfast. Once breakfast is all cleared up we then move onto the main present opening session.
Christmas morning breakfast is pancakes! I don’t know why we decided on pancakes but we did, we wash it down with a glass of bucks fizz after we’ve opened the Christmas Stockings.
3. Christmas Lunch
Being vegetarian doesn’t mean we don’t have a fabulous Christmas lunch. We usually get a veggie celebration roast and have it with all the trimmings. We eat around 2-3pm as we are usually stuffed from breakfast. Dessert is then usually had at around 5pm after lunch has had a chance to settle
4. Christmas Cards
As we live so far from our families, when MissB arrived on the scene we decided it would be nice to make personalised greeting cards with a nice Christmas photograph on them to send to close family and friends. This has now turned into a yearly battle habit, last year MasterB joined MissB on the cards and this year we have tried once more to pull off a lovely photograph. I’m still editing the photographs now as trying to get two toddlers to both face the camera and smile at once (and actually manage to get the photograph in focus) is pretty much near impossible.
This was last years effort for 2011
And finally – well this years is still a work in progress but this is an example of the chaos involved
What Christmas traditions do you have in your family?
Is it just me, or do all little angels suddenly get a whiff of the little devil about them as soon as the ‘bed time’ words are mentioned? In my experience, some children are nocturnal beings, coming alive the more tired mummy and daddy become! It may seem amusing right now, but the funny side soon sours as 9pm becomes 10pm, 11pm and so on. Many youngsters will happily trot off to bedfordshire at the required time, only to trot out again and again. We can’t all have Supernanny on speed dial, so here are a few lessons I have learned that may assist in a decent nights sleep for children and parents alike.
A child’s bedroom is the very first space of their own. They have all their toys and games and books in their room, yet it can still seem daunting, especially for those not long out of their cot, to be spending so much time apart from their parents. Making a big deal right from the start about how grown up they are in their first big bed in a room all of their very own, can help the transition from sleeping near mummy, to being an independent sleeper. Allowing them to have a say in choosing the wallpaper or paint colour, their duvet set and even their bed, will help to make them feel grown up and take a sense of ownership in their bedroom, for a wide choice of beds for the whole family click here. Even if you have a toddler that has no interest whatsoever in helping choose the design of their bedroom, lets face it, for one so young interior design is not really as interesting as Peppa Pig (oink oink), you may still like to suggest they arrange their toys on the shelves, the bed, or on top of the drawers for example. The main aim is to get the message across that this room is theirs, and that means they are very grown up!
Helping a child wind down at the end of the day, but well before bedtime will also help them relax and become a sleepy head as opposed to a mad head! Television, rowdy games, even music can stimulate your child to such a degree that their little minds are not relaxed enough for sleep at bedtime. A quiet hour before they head to bed, with nothing much happening, should make them less keen to stay up past bedtime. The old favourites of a warm drink, a story and a snuggle can work wonders, but do these all before bed, not in bed, this should help the relaxation process.
A regular bedtime and also waking up time, helps a child set their own body clock, try not to disturb this regular pattern if you can help it, that way, the body tells the child it’s sleepy time, not just the parent! This means, no late nights at the weekend. It will only undo any good work that has already been achieved throughout the week, sending their little body clock into overdrive and sending you back to square one!
If at all possible, try sparing a little time before bed to have a quality one to one chat with your child, especially if they are having trouble sleeping and are of school age, it may be that something is troubling them and preventing them from being able to fall asleep. Lots of cuddles while talking can help to get to the bottom of any little problems they may be having that you are unaware of.
When bedtime finally comes around, the milk has been drunk, the last trip to bathroom is over with and the last story has been read, tuck your little person into bed with a kiss and leave the room. Never have bright lights left on overnight, if your child doesn’t like the dark a dim night-light should suffice to banish the monsters that sometimes loom in the corners of the bedroom!
If, or should I say when, your child pops their little face round the living room door, take their hand gently, tell them it is bedtime and take them back to bed, do not get into conversation with them at this point, for the child is a cunning manipulator at this time of night and before you know it you will be in the middle of trying to explain why the sky is blue or why next door’s doggy sometimes licks it’s own…you get the picture!
Each time your child gets up, take their hand and lead them back to bed, no talking! No matter how many times you have to do it, if you are strong enough to ignore the pleas, the cries, the questions and sometimes even the tantrums, and repeatedly return them to their bed, without engaging with them, you should hopefully find that after several nights of this, your child will get the message and begin to spend the whole night in their own bed…which means you get to spend the whole night in yours too!
This is a sponsored guest post from Bedstar
Many people greet the arrival of Christmas with a groan these days; not because they don’t enjoy all the fairy lights, food and fun, but because it can also be a time of Dickensian great expectations – and great expense! That expense seems to be growing year on year, and for mums shopping on a budget it can be a real challenge.
A recent survey of 135 UK-based women, conducted by online retailer Littlewoods.com, sheds some light on our attitude to buying gifts. Children came out as the most expensive group to buy for, with nearly a fifth of women admitting that they would spend between £100 and £200 on toys for their kids, whilst just over a third of women opted for a more modest maximum budget of £50 for toys.
Despite this apparent willingness to spend generously on children’s Christmas presents, those questioned in the survey answered overwhelmingly that they believed children are spoilt at this time of year. Over three quarters of women said they thought children were particularly spoilt nowadays, while just under 2 in 10 agreed that this was no different than in previous generations.
After all, for many adults a large part of the joy that comes with Christmas is tied up in nostalgia and memories of opening presents as children. Of course, as you get older, it’s harder to fill stockings with gifts and still keep your bank account in the black, but most of us still want that sense of joy that opening gifts (or seeing children open them) imparts.
Last Christmas, the Daily Mail reported that 4 out of 10 Brits were planning on slashing their spending on Christmas presents – mainly by strategically cutting people off their Christmas lists – another symptom of the economic downturn that has been afflicting the UK since 2008. Indeed, the recession seems to have acted as something of a wake-up call for Christmas shoppers, who are clearly making efforts to curb overspending.
However, judging by the results from the Littlewoods.com survey, kids won’t have to worry about being strategically ‘pruned’ from the Christmas gift list just yet – as most mums are still willing to stretch the budget to make Christmas extra special for their brood.
*Sponsored guest post on behalf of Littlewoods.Com
Children get sick. It’s practically part of their job description. But there are some diseases that parents need to be aware of. This post is about some illnesses that children are vulnerable to, as well as their symptoms and what to do if you notice them.
Asthma is a relatively common long-term condition that is easily controlled with medication. Over a million children in the UK have asthma. The disease affects the airways, making them hyper sensitive to irritants like dust, smoke, pollen or even just cold air.
The causes of asthma are not completely understood, although it is thought to run in families.
Asthma is dangerous if not treated and managed correctly, every year children die because of it.
When a child with asthma comes into contact with a trigger (which can include exercise or having a cold or the flu) their airways become narrower. This can leave them gasping or wheezing for breathe. Children may also experience tightness in their chest or feel unable to breath.
Asthma is difficult to diagnose because other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Some children with asthma suffer from other conditions such as hay fever and eczema.
What to do
If you’re worried that your child may have asthma, arrange an appointment with your GP. They will ask about your child’s medical history, allergies, symptoms etc. There are also some tests which doctors can carry out to indicate whether a child is suffering from asthma.
If asthma has been diagnosed, ensure that you child uses their brown inhaler regularly (this will help prevent attacks and reduce the severity of your child’s asthma) and their blue inhaler as needed (which relieves the symptoms when your child feels them).
It’s important that children understand the need to use both inhalers to properly manage their illness. Relying too heavily on blue inhalers can lead to tragic consequences as during a severe asthma attack, the airways can clamp down completely, killing in just a few minutes.
Asthmatics should always know where their inhalers are and have immediate access to them when required.
You should inform your child’s school about their asthma so that teachers can take extra precautions.
Babies and toddlers in the UK are routinely vaccinated against whooping cough however a recent outbreak has claimed the lives of many babies.
Whooping cough is cause by a bacterial infection and is highly contagious.
Adults do contract the disease, but the symptoms are much milder than those displayed by young children and it’s often dismissed as a common cold.
In serious cases whooping cough can stop children breathing, which potentially results in brain damage or death. The infection can also cause pneumonia or severe weight loss.
Whooping cough causes a fever and an excess of nasal mucus, but the most recognisable symptom is long periods of coughing fits. These can be distressing to both the child and those caring for them. The coughing is uncontrollable and often violent.
Coughing fits are often followed by wheezy breathing and occasionally vomiting brought on by extended coughing.
The symptoms of whooping cough are often worse at night.
What to do
Make sure that your baby gets their vaccination against whooping cough (usually given at 2, 3 or 4 months, followed by a pre-school booster injection). To combat the current outbreak, women between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant are being offered the vaccine to immunise their baby in the womb.
If your baby or toddler is showing signs of whooping cough, contact your GP. Antibiotics usually successfully cure the infection.
Any child diagnosed with whooping cough should not be allowed contact with other children until a course of antibiotics has been completed.
Meningitis can kill in just a few hours, or potentially leave your child blind, deaf, paralysed, brain damaged. It is many parents’ worst nightmare.
Meningitis itself is a symptom of a number of bacterial, viral or even fungal infections. It is a swelling of the lining of the brain and spinal cord which can very quickly become serious.
Viral meningitis is more common, but is usually less severe than bacterial meningitis, which is always a perilous condition.
The speed at which meningitis can develop is what makes it so deadly. A child can seem perfectly well one moment and in just a few hours become extremely ill with the disease.
Also, the symptoms of meningitis can easily be missed, or misdiagnosed as other illnesses, even by experienced doctors.
Someone suffering with meningitis may not show any of the symptoms mentioned in this article. It’s also important to remember that these symptoms can appear in any order.
The most infamous symptom of meningitis is a rash that looks like small red pinpricks which grow into purple/red blotches. The rash doesn’t fade under pressure – you can test this by rolling a glass over the area.
In babies and very young children meningitis can cause a tense or bulging fontanel (soft spot on top of baby’s heads), vomiting, a fever, or a high-pitched/moaning cry.
Babies could also refuse to eat, develop blotchy or pale skin, rapid breathing, and have either a floppy or stiff body.
Older children and adults may get severe headaches, a stiff or painful neck and develop an aversion to bright lights as well as fever and vomiting. Those with meningitis can feel drowsy or fall unconscious.
Other early warning signs of meningitis in children include cold hands and feet, strange skin colour (pale, bluish or mottled), and leg pains. These symptoms often show themselves hours before the more recognisable symptoms, like a rash and an aversion to bright light.
What to do
As a parent you know your child better than anyone else. If you suspect there is cause for concern and your baby is showing any of the symptoms listed above, do not hesitate to seek medical help. Take your child straight to a hospital and tell them what you’re worried about. Meningitis is a potentially lethal condition and requires immediate medical attention.
Author Bio: James Armstrong is an experienced journalist, currently writing about health for Dr Thom the online doctor service.
I have awful teeth and it’s made me really paranoid about making sure MissB and MasterB grow up brushing their teeth properly so they don’t end up with as many fillings as I have. Rather alarmingly Aquafresh conducted research of 1,500 mums of children aged 2-12 that revealed that more than one million under-fives in the UK have at least two fillings. Some other findings from the research include:
• One in six (17 per cent) mums say their child has at least 3 fillings
• 13 per cent of mums have children who have at least one filling by the time they start school (aged 3)
• Almost one in four (24 per cent) mums say their children only brush their teeth once a day and one in fifty say they don’t brush at all
• The research showed that almost half (47 per cent) of kids under 12 have been told they have dental decay, one of the most preventable diseases in the UK
• Over half of mothers (53 per cent) admit to finding getting their kids to brush their teeth stressful – potentially leading to arguments in over 2.5 million families
• One in fifty mums even admitted that their kids never brush their teeth.
I personally find these shocking statistics but having a 2 year old and a 1 year old, I understand just how hard it can be to get children brushing their teeth properly from an early age. Aquafresh have produced the video below which shows some handy tips on how to make brushing teeth more enjoyable.
For more information, or to sign up to The Club for fun tips on how to get kids brushing or for a free sample of Aquafresh Fresh & Minty, please visit http://www.aquafreshclub.co.uk
If your lounge looks a little incomplete, all it usually takes to correct that is make one small addition to help transform its appearance. Many lounges often have a rug to add a little colour, depth or warmth to its décor, and with good reason. A lounge without a rug doesn’t seem quite right, but the vast range of traditional modern rugs available to buy today means that, if you’re looking for one, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of styles, designs and materials used.
Traditional rugs can still be bought, and are made with modern, resistant and easy-to-clean material such as sisal. If you want your home to have a classical, sophisticated look, then traditional rugs are the way to go. Whether they have light, cream colours with faint, simplistic patterns or something a little richer and bolder, a traditional rug will help to add plenty to the look of your lounge, or any other room you feel it will work in.
When buying a traditional rug, there are a number of things to consider. Would you like the material to be soft and comfortable to sit on or something more durable and long-lasting? Would it fit in with the design scheme of your room? You should also think about where in your room it will look at its best, and whether it should act as another soft furnishing or as a focal point for every other item of furniture. When buying modern rugs, you should take your time and choose one that you know will be right for you and your home and that you’re getting good value for money.