Planning a Weekend Trip to London

If you are a regular follower of my blog or social media accounts, you'll know that we live in Northern Ireland. I keep seeing other bloggers and Instagrammers posting about their "staycations" or short UK breaks and it's something that I really want to make sure we do in the near future. Our children are a little bit older now so we do have the option of going as a family or just as a couple's break.



I am visiting Glasgow briefly in March for an overnight stay and would love to do a proper kids holiday like Legoland Windsor with the children while they're still young enough to enjoy that. The very top of my UK bucket list though, is London. I last visited London with my family around 12 years ago when I was 15! I feel like I was completely different person then, I was a child, and now I'm a woman with my own family. I just know that a busy city like London will have changed a lot in that time and I would love to experience it now that the introduction of Instagram and social media has put a lot of places on my radar.

I've compiled a little list of 'must do's' if Chris and I get our London weekend away!



Find somewhere nice for brunch
I am a proper foodie and I'm always thinking about my next meal. Masterchef: The Professionals is one of my favourite TV shows, in fact, any cooking show with a celebrity chef featured. I know a lot of fabulous Michelin starred or very highly rated restaurants are situated in the city of London so I would definitely be hoping to discover the best brunch in London - it has to be brunch too because it's a well known fact that brunch is infinitely better than breakfast or lunch!

Visit the National History Museum
I know this might seem very nerdy but it would definitely be the first port of call for both myself and Chris. On our first date nine years ago, we spent it at a local museum followed by a browse in Waterstones! There is so much on offer to see that appeals to both our interests and I know given half the chance, we'd never leave!

Visit Camden Market
Last time I was in London, I could have spent the entire trip just hanging around Camden. It is completely my scene from the bars to the shops and food. We are massively into that sort of music scene that you'd find in that area and I have never and will never grow out of my "alternative phase".

See a West End show
Okay, this one is probably more my type of thing than Chris's but I truly think I could convince him, depending on the show! It's something I've always wanted to do and I don't think you can visit London without catching a show. It's an activity that you can sit and relax at and take in the wonderful talent of these actors.



Visit the London Dungeon
I am a bit of a scaredy cat and can barely sit through a horror movie without a pillow covering my face but if I'm making Chris go to a West End show, you better believe he won't let us leave London without visiting the London Dungeon. I do like the idea of the recreation of historical events but darkness and loud noises will terrify me. It sounds like a wonderful experience though and definitely appeals to that darker side!



My readers will know that I love entering online competitions and I definitely want to try and incorporate these into my trip planning, so entering for days out in the area when I know I will be there will definitely be something that I'll try to do.  

What would be top of your London itinerary?
This is a collaborative post.

How to Select the Right Car Tyres

I am currently in the midst of learning to drive, and by that I mean, revising the life out of the theory stuff so I can pass the theory test before I even sit in the driver's seat. 

As well as learning the obvious - hazards, speed limits and road signs - I am making sure that I know my stuff when it comes to car maintenance as I know I can't always rely on Chris to help me out like he usually does! 

I am a natural born worrier so I know I'll be constantly checking to make sure that my car is in 100% condition and I’m fully equipped, whether I’m driving on a narrow country road or a busy, bustling city like London. Chris has been driving for around two years now and the one thing he's had problems with the most are his tyres. We've ended up having a flat tyre whilst out visiting family on Christmas Day which needed changing and just last week, we were doing the school run and he said he felt like he needed to just get new tyres altogether. 

Me being me, and wanting to learn as much as I can about cars before getting my own, I am always asking questions about why we do things and Chris is all too happy to indulge me. 

Top Tips for Buying New Tyres:

1. Make sure you are getting the right size for your car and check the measurements. You can find this information in raised lettering on the side of your tyre. This information tells you the width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load rating and speed rating. Making sure you have a tyre with the correct speed rating is very important as if it is wrong, you can invalidate your insurance.
 
2. All tyres on sale are safe to drive and meet the standards required. Opting for a premium, mid-range or budget tyre is a personal choice. Whilst mid-range tyres can drive well and have a long life span, budget ones may not and might not do as well in wintry or wet conditions. Premium tyres will be the one that will last you longer, get you more miles and generally give you a better "feel" when driving. You can purchase all of these types of vehicle tyres at DAT Tyres London.
 
3. Buy for the season. There are no laws against using summer tyres all year round but going for a winter or all-season tyre give a better performance. 

Once you've chosen your tyres, it's really important to keep an eye on them. Change the air pressure when needed and always make sure the tread is okay. No one wants to be driving on bald tyres! 

This is a sponsored post.

 

Hello 2019!

A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I can't believe we are in to 2019 already and I am already hoping that this is going to be one of the best years yet for us. 


At the end of this month, this blog turns SIX years old. I am shocked that I've kept it going so long! In 2018, I didn't blog as much as I wanted to because it felt like too much of a chore - 64 posts in a whole year is awful. I was churning out sponsored posts and reviews which, don't get me wrong, I love because the children enjoy toy reviews and the sponsored posts help pay the bills, but my personal posts got pushed aside and I even stopped writing my What I Won posts altogether. I am planning on bringing those back this year and for anyone who is interested I won a total of 212 prizes worth £5,774 altogether in 2018.

The end of this month also sees mine and Chris's anniversary - we will have been together for nine years - and he turns the big 3-0 in February. Lots of cause for celebration.

I never make New's Years Resolutions because I can't really keep them to be honest but there are a couple of things that I'm eager to do this year. The main one is: learning to drive. I'll be 27 in March so really I should have done this ten years ago. Chris is the driver in our family and I hate having to rely on him or use public transport with two kids in tow. I just need my own freedom. I'm currently almost done with revising the theory and will probably be booking my theory test in the next month. I want to get that passed and out of the way before I start the practical side so I can just focus on that. 


Halfway through 2018 I rediscovered my love of reading. I used to read a lot as a child and teenager but found that I didn't have much time for it after having babies. Now that they are growing up, I'm making time to read and loving it. I'm signed up to Goodreads and have set myself a Reading Challenge of 80 books in 2019. Fingers crossed!
 
Lastly, the biggest thing for us this year is that we are hopefully going to be buying our first house. I will definitely be blogging about all of this and I'm really excited about not renting anymore and finally having our forever home.


Do you have any big plans for 2019 or have you made New Years Resolutions? Let me know!

Best Board Games for People with Disabilities

My six year old son C was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder ten months ago. It's still a massive learning curve for us, we are still learning how to cope day to day as we go along and have been attending workshops to teach us how to best deal with his behaviours.

As much as I still don't even like to admit it, it is a disability, and we do have to make some adjustments for him as he processes things differently. We know what to do and what not to do as we know what will cause a sensory overload and subsequent meltdown. Although we do need to make these adjustments, we also try to treat him as normally as we possibly can because I don't want to use his autism as an excuse for "naughty" behaviour that has nothing to do with the condition. 

C struggles mostly with social situations and empathy and imagining how others are feeling. Taking turns and waiting are hard for him too. He likes to be in control of situations so he knows exactly what is going to happen. He cannot cope with the unknown. Waiting is a struggle because he prefers to physically see how long something is going to take as he can't imagine what five or ten minutes looks like. 

For as long as I can remember, we have had a family game night. It's something that the four of us can do to spend time together and have fun. There are a few that I don't think he could cope with such a Monopoly simply because of the duration of the game - there's no way he'd sit that long! - so we tend to choose games that are short and hold his attention.

C is a typical six year old boy and loves a bit of toilet humour. I know that these types of games will make him laugh and he actually wants to play them because he finds them so funny. Gooey Louie - who knew that a game where you have to pull bogies out of a giant nose would be so fun? Although there is the unknown aspect of when the brain will squeak and pop out, he got used to it quite quickly and anticipates it. We do make a minor adjustment and remove the black coloured one as it frightens him.

Poopyhead is another one that C really enjoys. He is really good at remembering sequences and the aim here is to place cards in order; toilet, poo, wipe, wash hands. The loser has to attach a rubber poo on their head. This game helps his memory, having to remember what card comes next, but adds the funny aspect with the poos.


Pull My Finger is probably C's ultimate favourite. Each player spins and pulls the monkeys finger. It's bottom will expand then fart unexpectedly. Again, he anticipates this and it is a little better as he can physically see the bottom getting bigger and so knows when it is going to happen. This one is great as it is fast paced but also encourages him to take turns and wait for others to have their turn.

Disney Guess The Film is one that is not only great for C but for the whole family. We are massive Disney fans and this game shows a little part of a scene and you need to guess what film it is to win a point. C can recall things very quickly with precision (I feel like he may have an eidetic memory) so he always excels at this one.

5 Second Rule is a fun one that even trips me up! Each player has five seconds to name three things from a category that is chosen such as "3 things you see at the beach". It encourages C to think logically and quickly. Sometimes he does give a bit of a silly answer under pressure but rather than getting annoyed, we've found that he finds it quite funny instead.


Finally, Jenga is a game that I originally thought might be hit or miss. It's a classic so I'm sure it needs no introduction but C takes his time to properly think about the consequence of his move and it proves to work well for him!

As he gets older, I would love to introduce more grown up games to him such as Cluedo or even Chess to see if he enjoys those and how we can adapt them to his capabilities. Board games can be great for people with disabilities and can help with the brain. I have focused here on our experiences with C and ASD but board games can help many people with different types of disability, some of which can be seen on the Bathing Solutions blog.

(This is a sponsored post.)
 
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