#travelwithkids – Paris

Hello and welcome to #travelwithkids, a brand new linky brought to you by the lovely Ickle Pickle and myself.  This linky is for anyone who enjoys family-friendly travelling from days out to road trips to city breaks.  We are very excited to find out about new places to visit all over the UK and beyond and aim to create a rich archive full of interesting finds.  To join in, simply link up a post using the Inlinkz tool at the foot of this post; it doesn’t have to be a new post, it just has to fit the #travelwithkids theme.  It would be lovely if you used our #travelwithkids badge, which can be found below, but this is not essential.  The linky will go live every Wednesday at midnight and run until 8pm on Sundays.  We will leave comments on all posts as well as sharing on Twitter. Enjoy!

This week, I am taking you on a cheeky trip to Paris, at the request of the boy.  I have been to Paris three times now – once with James, when the boy was our secret bump, once with Miss J and my best friend, and once with James and both children.  The latter was my favourite.  We must have spoken about Paris a great deal before we left because Miss J was very excited to see things like the Pompidou Centre and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.

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Both children were very impressed by the view from the top of the tower, and not at all frightened.  The first time I went, I hadn’t been frightened either, but there was something about seeing my babies that far off the ground that freaked me out!

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Pont des Arts was another attraction that caught Miss J’s attention:

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She also loved the Pompidou, having wanted to visit for ages.

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There is so much to do in Paris, particularly with little ones, and it definitely has more to offer than just DisneyLand!  There are parks on every corner, plenty of carousels, and even a chocolate museum!

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Oh, and the cakes.  I can’t write about Paris and not mention the cakes!

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We love Paris.  It’s more like London than Amsterdam.  Dirtier, busier, crazier than Amsterdam.  But with a lot of space and a million things to do.  Have you been?  Would you take your children?

#travelwithkids

Smiles and Trials


My Sunday Photo

I hope I never forget how I felt this evening

Watching my six year old totally immersed in an activity

In Lego

She rarely plays with the stuff

Yet she was brilliant at it

At following the instructions

All 47 pages

And carefully constructing her brother’s new toy

His face when she finished

It lit up

It is his new favourite thing

And Miss J is his favourite person

At the age of six years and almost five months

My daughter built this

Unaided

I don’t think “proud” quite covers it!  

Habits That Can Save You Money

Let’s be honest, summer can be an expensive time of the year.

Not only have you got holidays to save for, but you also have children’s activities and entertainment to plan for when they have weeks off school.

With play dates, trips to the zoo, holidays and all the treats you fork out for when you’re out and about, it can all start to rack up quite quickly.

But before you start panicking, there are a number of habits that can help to make the family and the bank balance much healthier.

I can’t guarantee a beach body but it may certainly go a long way to making everyone feel better.

Eat

When we food shop it can be all too easy to just pick up things as we go along, without really having an idea of what it is we’re buying. In a mad dash to get in and out with the children clinging on our hips we can pick up food that we end up wasting, and spending money on treats that we simply don’t need.

Having a meal plan is the best way to avoid waste and ensure you can get the most out of your money.

Make a note of all the meals you’re going to have from Monday through to Friday, and then once you’ve done this create a shopping list of all the ingredients you need.

If you can, try not to take the children along with you, as their boredom can always end up with you having lots of added extras in your basket simply to keep them happy.

If you need inspiration on money saving meals, there are now a number of helpful resources such as this one that can give you details of tasty recipes that cost very little.

fruit

Move 

It’s true that many of us make the excuse that we don’t have time to exercise. How those YouTube mums do it, I’ll never know!

But you can walk off the extra pounds and save some pennies by using the car less.

It may feel like it won’t make such of a difference, but just changing your habits by walking to the shops instead of driving, or being generally more active as a family, can make everyone get a lot more fresh air.

Local parks are free and many of them are now fitted with clever playground gyms, so everyone can get fit together.

Have Fun 

Of course when you’re saving money and getting healthy there’s no reason not to still go out and enjoy yourself, after all, you only live once!

But cutting down on small social habits can certainly make a difference to both your health and your pocket.

If possible, try not to drink when you’re out, or opt for cheaper drinks that are lower in calories. Likewise if you or your partner are smokers, perhaps try to cut down the amount you spend on cigarettes and choose an e-cigarette like this one. You don’t have to be a social recluse to save money!

Just making small changes to your everyday lifestyle could benefit you and the family in more ways than one. So just try an idea and see what a difference it makes.

Online Gaming – Top Five Games To Play

When it comes to online gaming, my experience is limited, mostly, to games found on Facebook.  Since the early days of Mafia Wars through the phenomenon that was Candy Crush Saga to the more recent Kitchen Scramble, I’m a little obsessed.  Other online games can also be fun, though I don’t often play them quite so much.

Here are my current top five favourites:

Candy Crush Soda Saga:  Like the 2.0 version of its counterpart, the legendary Candy Crush.  Totally addictive!

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Scrabble: Love playing this, however hard I try, I really struggle to win most games, though.

Online bingo: I probably have an addictive personality because I can’t stop playing this either…

Papa Pear Saga: Bouncing pears around is way more fun than it sounds, honestly!

Cyclomaniacs 2: I used to find this game really frustrating but I’m much better at it now.  Practice makes perfect…

I know these games aren’t as exciting or sophisticated as the stuff that is churned out for the PS4 or Xbox One, nor are they educational in the way that traditional board games may be, but there is a place for them – they’re certainly good at whiling away the hours when you should be working… oops.

Do you play online games?  What are your favourites?

 

Saving for a Holiday

As a family pretty obsessed with travel, we are constantly saving for the next holiday.  We’ve recently returned from Amsterdam, are going to Wales in May, Bournemouth in August and are looking at another city break for October or December (planning around school holidays makes it a little more difficult!).  These trips all need financial backing, so putting some funds aside each month is hugely important.

Amsterdam letters

Here are a few tips on saving cash towards holidays:

  • Save loose change in a jar or money box - at the end of the day, I empty my loose change into a money box.  Obviously, this is unlikely to cover the large costs associated with holidays but is definitely a worthwhile way to top up your spending money!
  • Make cut backs and keep what you save – perhaps shop at a market instead of the local Tesco or Morrisons, try a PAYG phone and kill the contract, stop smoking, walk rather than drive and save on petrol… the options are endless and every little helps.
  • Sell unwanted goods on Facebook – as a parent, I am always having to get rid of clothes, shoes and toys that the children have outgrown, and selling on Facebook is really simple.  Most local areas have a selling site and good quality things sell very quickly.
  • D.I.Y. – if something breaks or needs building, try to sort it yourself instead of calling in the professionals. Whilst this will not generate any cash, it will protect anything you have saved so far.
  • Set up a stocks and shares ISA – these may sound a more risky option than the things I’ve mentioned so far, but for £50 a month, it’s possible to gain a lot of money.  If stocks and shares aren’t your bag, perhaps a high-interest savings account would be a better option for your holiday money?
  • Ask yourself – do we really need this? – remembering to ask this simple question before every purchase can help to lower your outgoings significantly.  Humans are pretty simple creatures really; we don’t need a lot to be happy.

So those are my top tips for saving money towards holidays – do you have any to add?