Merry Christmas

In response to so many questions asking for a sneak peek of some of the decorations around here, I thought I would share a few photos with you. I def go way overboard for Christmas. I love love the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, so much so, that I watch them all year round, which is why I am not so great about discussing all of the shows that you all binge-watch!!!!! My absolute favorite all-time movie is The Holiday. I can literally watch it every night of the year. So when it comes to decorating…I have to go all out..I mean really all out. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our Holiday and I am wishing every single one of you the most joyous Christmas. Thank you all for showing up for me not only during the holidays but for every single day throughout the year!!! XO Nicole

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Christmas Charcuterie

If you are looking for some festive ideas for your holiday celebrations, we have you covered. Here are some easy adorable charcuterie ideas. I really wanted to make the Christmas Tree Charcuterie but I was already given desserts for Christmas Eve so I was hoping one of you would make it and send me photos!!! I also love the snowman and shrimp wreath ideas. Next year I am claiming appetizers!!! Happy Eve before “THE EVE”! Bon Appetit!

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Preparing for Your First Family Trip Abroad

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Going abroad with our children is an exciting adventure. Some of us do it for the first time when our kids are very young, perhaps even babies. Others decide to wait until they are older. Some, of course, never do it, preferring to enjoy all that their home country has to offer while saving money on much cheaper options. Whenever you do it, a family holiday can be a magical experience, as well as a great way to spend time together away from all other distractions, and while you could argue that there’s something more glorious about seeing somewhere further from home, it’s also safe to say that there’s more stress involved. 

When we go abroad with kids, there’s a lot to think about, whether they are babies or teens. You might worry about keeping them happy and comfortable on the flight, finding food that they’ll enjoy, and keeping them safe. You may also have concerns about buying everything that you might need at your destination. So, here are some tips to help you enjoy your first family trip outside of your home country. 

Choose a Safe Destination

At the moment, finding a safe destination has a whole other range of concerns. You might want to check current Covid-19 infection levels and local restrictions, as well as the likelihood of facing a period in quarantine either when you arrive or when you get home. Many families are choosing to delay trips abroad until next year when the rest of the tips on this list will still be relevant. 

Of course, even without a global pandemic, there are other safety considerations when traveling abroad, and you should always take your time to do some research before booking. Find a safe area, with positive reviews, good access to health and security services, and consider staying in an English-speaking hotel for further support. Checking local news sites is always a good idea if you want to get a feel for how safe a destination is, away from the ever-positive travel guides and adverts.

Make Sure it’s Family Friendly

The accommodation that you choose should be family-friendly. Ideally, it should offer a kid’s club (even if you don’t use it, it’s a sign that they prioritize kid’s needs), a safe pool, a room with an extra bed, or cot and other things that you might need. Make sure your hotel offers food that your children will enjoy, and that there’s plenty for them to do. 

Besides this, check if the location offers you to safeguard your luggage or not. For instance – places like Paris offer you the liberty of securing your luggage with luggage storage Paris services while you enjoy traveling. Seek details about such services from your travel agent in advance.

Think About What You Want from Your Holiday

A holiday with children isn’t the same as a holiday with just your partner or your friends. It isn’t even the same as a trip with family members who have children. It’s different. But that doesn’t mean that all family holidays are the same. Before booking your trip, think about what you want from yours. Do you want to spend a lot of time in the hotel, enjoying the facilities on offer? Do you plan to try local activities, or explore the surrounding area? Do you want plenty of tourist hotspots? Think about the kind of holiday you want and look for a destination that gives you what you need to achieve your family holiday. 

Don’t Expect it to be the Same

Your days of being able to lay by the beach soaking up the sun, drinking cocktails, and reading in peace are over. So are your days exploring local nightlife. Prepare for a very different holiday and you won’t be disappointed. 

Pack Carefully

When you are on your own you might wing it with packing, knowing that you could probably get everything you need or at least something close at your destination. When you’ve got kids, things are different. They might need specific medications or sunscreens. You might also need nappies, creams, and wipes, and they’ll certainly need a sunhat and shades. Think about what your kids need, and make sure you pack them. If there’s no laundrette on site, you might want to take some hand wash detergent to prepare for accidents. Make sure you have all of these Travel Essentials for Family Getaways and you should be fine. 

Take Some Home Comforts

Your kids might need some home comforts to help them to stay comfortable and sleep. Younger children might want a teddy or blanket. Older kids might want a favourite toy, and teens probably just need a phone charger. 

Pay for Insurance

When you travel with kids’ insurance can be essential. Make sure any health needs, unexpected cancelations, or other issues are covered. 

Prepare for the Journey

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Travelling with children can be stressful, and you’ll definitely need your holiday by the time you arrive. You might decide to drive, but most people fly, in which case, these tips might help. 

Hand Luggage

Your hand luggage is very important when you’ve got kids. Make sure passports, tickets, and other documents are easy to find, that you have the cash to hand, and plenty of snacks for the journey. You’ll also want some activities to keep the kids happy, and any nappies and toiletries that you might need, and a spare set of clothes, just in case. Remember, if you are paying for a seat for your child, they also get their own hand luggage allowance. 

Plan 20 Minute Activities

Kids have very short attention spans, add that to the excitement of a flight, anxiety, and any nerves that they may have, and keeping them calm might be difficult. So, plan activities in 20-minute blocks. Pack books and games, as well as electronic devices to keep them occupied. 

Carefully Consider Snacks

Snacks are a very useful tool when it comes to keeping kids happy. But, think about it carefully. You don’t want anything too sticky, too smelly, or too likely to make them hyper or sick. 

Don’t Stress

If you stress and worry, everything will be worse. Keep calm, take it as it comes, and try to enjoy yourself. 

Get on the Plane Last

Many airlines will let passengers with young children get on the plane first. This can be a mistake. Let them burn energy running around the airport for as long as you can before they have to sit still. 

Know the Rules

Make sure you know what you are allowed to take on the flight, and what has to go in the cabin bag. Check with the airline before leaving home if you have any doubts. 

Don’t Strive for Perfection

Your holiday is unlikely to be perfect. Things will go wrong, there will be stress and the kids will get upset. This doesn’t mean that the whole holiday is ruined. Forget perfection and let yourself enjoy the adventure.

Last-Minute Gifts

Here is a round-up of some of the best last-minute gifts. These should all arrive by Christmas via Amazon prime. If you cannot get them in time..they are that good that you should just wrap a photo and wait for them to me…4 days to go…

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1. I never thought I would see the day that people got so excited about receiving power cords but honestly this is a good one. Great for travel and you can plug in many devices at once.

2. This bamboo flatware is so beautiful. I had been looking for a set for a while and am so glad that I found these. I receive so many requests from people looking for bamboo flatware so needless to say, I think it will be very well received!

3. Ruby Red glasses are also a reader’s favorite. What a beautiful Christmas gift these would be

4. I love Illy coffee. I just order this espresso maker for my parents. I cannot wait to hear how much they love it!

5. These magnetic lashes are THE BEST!!!

6. I recently bought this steamer and am obsessed. It’s amazing!!

7. How beautiful is this cake plate. I love the Blue Willow pattern.

8. This portable charger is amazing. The plug and all cords are attached so it’s all in one. It is probably one of the best purchases that I made in 2021. I take it with me everywhere.

9. These metallic clogs are the best looking.

10. This is such a fun family game!!

11. This dazzle lip gloss is fabulous!

12. How beautiful is this statement ring?

The Health Benefits of Endurance Cycling

Endurance cycling has been gaining a lot of popularity lately, and it seems as though many people have started to wake up to the huge health benefits that it holds. It’s not as difficult as it might seem to get started, and it doesn’t take a lot of experience to make those first miles. After you’ve gained some momentum, it can easily become your favorite way to stay in shape. There are many positive health effects to endurance cycling, some of which you definitely shouldn’t ignore if you’re entering the later stages of your life.

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Great Cardio

Everyone needs regular cardio training. It can be annoying, but it’s important for your health, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle in general. Running is not an attractive option for many people who dislike cardio in general, but cycling is a different story. It’s not that hard to get started with endurance cycling, and it can be a great way to keep your heart (and overall body) in great shape. A good thing about endurance cycling for cardio training is that you can easily vary the difficulty by adjusting the terrain, unlike running which usually requires you to pause for a longer period before making that switch.

Improved Stamina

As the name implies, endurance cycling is also great for improving your endurance. Stamina is an important factor for adults, especially those with young kids. If you don’t have the strength to run after your kids all day long, you won’t be able to spend as much quality time with them as you might wish. Plus, this will give you a better opportunity to apply some proper parenting when they get rowdy – can you imagine if you are physically unable to catch them in the first place? Unfortunately, many people are in that boat, and don’t even put any effort into improving their situations. Avoiding that mistake is one of the best gifts you can give to your future self, so start on that track as early as possible.

Clear Up Your Head

There’s a lot to be said about the link between regular exercise and mental wellbeing too. Many people work out simply because it helps them clear their head and works wonders for keeping their mood in check. This goes double for endurance cycling. You’re not only keeping your body active, but you’re constantly passing through various attractive landscapes, keeping your mind fresh and excited. Then there are some auxiliary benefits that people don’t even realize too often. For example, endurance cycling can predispose you to much better hydration. Monitoring your sweat rate and cycling hydration is crucial for attaining peak performance, and this will help you improve your mental wellbeing in general. Take a look at what Velosurance has to say on the subject – if you’ve never paid attention to the importance of your sweat rate and cycling hydration, you might be interested in the opinion of qualified experts like them.

Bone Health

Your bones are another part of your body that will benefit greatly from endurance cycling, especially if you try to push yourself a bit more here and there. Endurance cycling has been known for quite a while to promote good bone health and improved resilience of the body as a whole. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should be reckless about crashing your bike and potentially breaking something. But after cycling for a long time, you’re going to start noticing certain effects on your bones and overall strength. You’ll feel less rigid and livelier, and this will continue the more you keep on cycling.

A Great Workout for All Ages

Endurance cycling also works well for people of all ages. You don’t have to be at the peak of your youth to take advantage of it. In fact, it’s a popular hobby among many older folks who want to stay in shape without exposing their bodies to too much risk. Since you’re in full control over the stress level of your workout, you can easily adjust it as you grow older and keep things a bit toned down. That said, you might be amazed by how far some people are pushing their bodies at that age, especially those who’ve grown up cycling heavily.

Getting started with endurance cycling is not difficult either. You don’t need an expensive bike for a start (although you’ll definitely want to invest in a good one as you continue), and you should be able to find plenty of information on workout routines online. The only important thing is that you stay persistent and keep pushing forward. Once you’ve gained some momentum, it will be much easier to keep going, and you’ll never want to go back to living your life without getting on your bike a few times a week and exploring the area around you.

8 Key Pieces of Advice You Need to Know as a New Mom

Motherhood is undoubtedly a life-changing event that is both thrilling and scary. You now have this frail bundle of joy that depends on you for everything. New mothers receive all sorts of advice, even the unsolicited ones that feel a bit invasive. However, smart advice from experts and real mothers who have gone down that road can be insightful. This article will discuss key pieces of advice you need to know as a new mom. 

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Take lots of pictures 

Well, there is no such thing as too many pictures! Your baby will only be a certain age once, and it is important to capture the memories and milestones as they happen. You will also be able to see how far your child has come and helped them through rough patches in the future. 

Ignore the pressure to bounce back 

New mothers fall victim to comparing themselves to celebrities or fellow friends, who shrunk back to their pre-baby bodies. Remember that you just grew a baby and that you should pressure yourself to look like a goddess twelve weeks after giving birth. Even when given the go-ahead to exercise, ensure you keep your fitness goals realistic. 

Keep yourself grounded 

Many mothers assume that they always have to do the most for their children. Remember that your child needs a happy mother who is self-aware, grounded, and ready to take care of herself to be there for her kids. Let others help you where they can. 

Know when to wean your child

Weaning will be one decision you will need to make as a mum. It is more or less a personal decision depending on your situation. That said, it is recommended that the baby gets 6 months of breastfeed milk. You can then start weaning the child after a year as long as it suits both of you. You should also know when should babies stop using pacifiers to avoid physical dependency. Be wary though of listening to unsolicited advice will have you questioning things like or when to stop breastfeeding. Learn to ignore unwanted advice and do what is best for your child. 

Nourish your body 

Your baby needs nutrients from breast milk to stay nourished. Not only do you rely on good nutrition to produce breast milk, but you also need food to fuel your body. Avoid starving yourself and consume nutrient-packed foods rich in zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6.

Find a mother’s group 

It is important to get in touch with other adults, preferably mothers in the same boat as you. Being locked up in the house with a crying baby will do you no good, especially if you were used to being out of the house. 

Trust your instincts 

If you have a bad gut feeling about anything to do with your child, do not hesitate to contact a doctor, no matter what anyone else says. You are your child’s mother, and you know what they might need at any point in time. 

Disconnect nursing from sleeping 

Establish a soothing bedtime routine for your child, such as running a warm bath, offering a bottle of milk then reading them a book. This routine will help you get your little one to sleep without having to nurse. 

Final remarks

We hope that this article has provided some wisdom if you are a mum wondering if you are doing it right. As a rule of thumb, don’t be hard on yourself, and be sure to trust your instincts as you move along in the motherhood journey.