This fortnight it's my turn to host the Britmums Carnival, and I'm really thrilled to be able to showcase such a fantastic collection of blog posts, on such a diverse range of topics. There is plenty to read, so do settle down and enjoy!
Firstly, travelling with the family. I love to travel, but it's not always easy travelling with young children, especially if your journey involves a flight. This fantastic crowd sourced post by Angie from Cakes Photos Life is packed full of brilliant tips for flying with children. Leyla at Motherhood Diaries has also put together her Top Ten Tips for Travelling with Tiring Toddlers, with some more great advice and tips.
If you are planning on exploring London with your toddler you will find plenty of inspiration in this post from A Baby on Board with Things to do in London When You're Two - definitely some suggestions there that I'll be remembering next time we attempt a family trip there! And somewhat further afield, Lucy from Lulastic and the Hippyshake has recently relocated to the other side of the world with her young family, and in this beautiful post she writes about their first few days in New Zealand and a little piece of home.
Blogs can be a fantastic source of travel information if you are planning a holiday. Claire from Life, Ninja Killer Cat and Everything Else has put together a great resource if you are travelling to Florida. Her Ultimate Orlando Holiday Planner is packed full of useful tips. Mel from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover also shares her recent experience of a Christmas break in Prague, with tips for places to visit and the best things to see.
I really enjoy reading other people's travel stories for some travel inspiration, and I love this beautiful account from Over 40 and a Mum to One as she remembers a wonderful trip to Sri Lanka, learning about how tea is grown and produced. Gretta shares an account of an enjoyable and relaxing weekend break in the City of London, and gorgeous photos accompany this account from HPMCq of coastal walks in Cornwall. Tigerlilly Quinn also shares some wonderful photographs of the British coastline, sharing her post about West Bay - Our Week in Pictures.
There are also plenty of lovely images in this post from Rollercoaster Mum with an account of a visit to RHS Wisley. I also love this post from Gingerlillytea - Let's Decorate a Lonely Tree - as Keri-Anne tells the story of her daughter's Christmas adventure in the woods.
Hellie's Corner brought back some holiday memories for me with her account of her US Road Trip (link no longer available) and I am definitely inspired for a future holiday by reading about Husky Dog Sledding in Finnish Lapland by Globalmouse Travels (link no longer available). Zagreb is another city that I would love to visit one day and this post from Chasing the Donkey with some Zagreb Highlights has made me think that it would be a great city break to enjoy with our young family.
Spending time living in a different country is a fantastic experience, and allows you a very different perspective. Oana at Mama's Haven has written about Greece: A Country of Dichotomies, having seen the country as a resident and not just a visitor. Aisha discusses the expat experience in her post Expats are Born Not Made: Discuss, with some really interesting thoughts and points for a discussion which is continued in the comments on the post.
I love crafting with the children, and at this time of year there are lots of special celebrations which you can learn about through craft. The Chinese New Year will begin on the 31st January, and Eileen at ET Speaks from Home has created a fantastic Pinterest board, with links to a whole series of her posts about crafts, food and culture. I particularly like her 3D paper cutting Chinese New Year craft. Lizzie at Me and My Shadow has the instructions for a brilliant firecracker decoration by junk modelling and over at In the Playroom you can find instructions for some sweet Chinese New Year cherry blossom fans.
It's also not long until Valentine's Day, and Helen at Kiddy Charts has shared her first ever craft post - a little love bird card. Ali has also been crafting for Valentine's Day, with some gorgeous heart cutouts made from handprints. At The Gingerbread House you can find a lovely toddler friendly Valentine's Day heart and wool craft, and at Treading on Lego, Jenny has shared some colourful Valentine's Day sun catchers. Another beautiful Valentine's Day craft is these simple tissue paper cards from Mummy Alarm. Red Ted Art has a simple video tutorial for some paper heart Valentine's Day decorations and Peakle Pie has shared a lovely Valentine's pasta heart hanging decoration. Citrus Spice and All Things Nice has made some gorgeous felt hearts which would make a perfect gift for a loved one, and her post contains a felt heart tutorial video.
It's pretty cold and wintry out there at the moment, and if you don't fancy going outdoors why not create your own snowy landscape indoors. Rebecca has made a fantastic Winter Olympics small world play scene, complete with a little video of it in action! Another winter themed craft is these lovely snowy sight word discovery bottles from The Fairy and the Frog, a great way to help children with those tricky new words. For an indoor activity for babies and younger toddlers, Emma from The Egyptian Mummy shares some ideas for filling sensory bottles, something that I remember having a lot of fun making when mine were younger.
Playing with coloured rice is another great indoor activity for this time of year, and Tami from Mummy of Two has shared some fun in their tuff spot with Coloured Rice Sensory Play. We also spend a lot of time reading when it's too cold to play outside. Crafting is a great way to bring a book to life, and I love these Percy the Park Keeper woodland animals that Kirsty at Damson Lane has made to act out the story of One Snowy Night.
A craft that you do either for or with your child, these Potato Print T-shirts from Wild and Grizzly are simple to make and would make a lovely, personalised keepsake. Sharing some other craft projects with fabric, Kate at Crafts on Sea has made this lovely Cloud Cushion, and has put together a tutorial, it's simple with a fantastic finished product! There is also a lovely post from BuddyBlanQuilts about this wonderful carnival themed quilt which has a beautiful story behind it.
I love crafting with washi tape myself, and this DIY Washi Tape Desk from Hollybobs looks amazing, what a great feature for a room. And Amanda at the Family Patch has set herself a crafting challenge, she is spending nine months making time each day crocheting items to sell at a charity auction. In this Nine Months of Crochet Video Update (no longer available) she shares some of the beautiful projects that she has completed so far, so inspiring!
Writing a blog is a great way to keep a record of those milestones in life. Sarah at Boo, Roo and Tigger Too writes about her son starting pre-school, a big change in their household. Watching your little ones growing up can be an emotional time. Pippa at Red Rose Mummy writes poignantly about The End of Breastfeeding and Bex at The Mummy Adventure shares a lovely post about seeing her son grow up and yet remembering that he is still Just a Little Boy.
Becky from A Beautiful Space has written about her Moments that Mattered in 2013 (link no longer available), a great way to reflect on the the best things about the year that has gone. Ellen at In a Bun Dance also reflects on the season that has just passed, and writes poignantly about holidays when you have children that spend their time between different members of the family . And finally, a huge milestone is moving house. Sarah at Mum of Three World has recently moved, and with all that painting she has learned plenty of lessons in decorating!
If you are looking to save some money then have a read of this article from Frugal Family, with tips on how to save get a better deal on insurance with a little bit of research. Another way to save money is to make your own beauty products, and the wonderful thrifty blog Wonderthrift has the recipe for a zingy DIY New Body body scrub which is good enough to eat! Finally, another way to make sure that you get the most from your pennies is to not simply throw away food that is past its best, and Maggy at Life at the Zoo shows us that even brown bananas can be used to make a delicious berry smoothie.
A blog is a great way to share advice and things that you have learned with others. Michelle at Mummy From the Heart has put together a crowd sourced post on What Makes a Good Marriage, where bloggers share their tips for a successful marriage. In her follow-up post How to Have a Strong Christian Marriage she shares advice from Christian bloggers, with lots more thoughtful advice. Over at Mum on a Mission for a Better Life, Denise shares The Key to Happy Mornings, with some suggestions that I could certainly do with implementing!
If you are looking to learn more about how your children think and feel, Actually Mummy's daughter has started a new feature on the blog called Ask GG. If you have any questions that you would like to put to a 9 year old girl then do ask away, the answers are sure to be entertaining and insightful!
If you are looking for a way to shake things up in your family, then a screen free day is a great idea to help your children discover and rediscover some different interests. Suzanne at 3 Children and It writes about the results of their Screen Free Day, which was a really positive experience for them. One way to get away from the screens is to spend some time outdoors, and even though it's winter it's still important to exercise outdoors. Healthier Mummy has written about How Much Exercise do Children need in Winter (no longer available), and has some great ideas for encouraging children to boost their fitness. You don't need to do anything too extravagant or expensive to make some changes, and I love this post from Baby Budgeting with some Simple Ideas for a Rich Life in January, part of a monthly feature on the blog. Mama and More! has also made a resolution to simplify after writing about How my daughter's messy room taught me a lesson.
It's important to stop and appreciate the little things in life, and Swazi at Chocolate is Not The Only Fruit shares all the small things that make her smile, a lovely record to keep. Louisa at More Than a Momma writes on her 40th birthday I am 40 hear me roar (no longer available), with a positive post about her achievements and how writing her blog helps her to share her highs and lows.
Writing a blog also gives you the opportunity to raise awareness about issues that are important to you. Liz from The Mum Blog visited the HQ of Kids Company. In Humbled by Camila Batmanghelidjh she writes about what she has learned about the very important work that the charity does.
Last but not least, since I started reading blogs I have been inspired to try so much more cooking and baking, and the blogosphere is full of ideas for some delicious things to try. Mummy Mishaps has made some Chocolate Caramel Ritz Creams, and although salty crackers and chocolate might not seem an obvious combination, I can imagine that they are really tasty!
This homemade healthy pot noodle from The Crazy Kitchen looks delicious, and would be great to make in advance for a quick lunch at home or work. Another healthy snack is these lovely Cranberry Flapjacks from Mari's World, I can see myself enjoying one of these as a mid-afternoon treat.
I want to say thank you so much to all these bloggers for submitting their posts. I've really enjoyed reading through all the articles and seeing the amazing variety and talent that is out there in our blogging community.
I do hope that you will take the time to read through and comment on some of these wonderful posts. If you'd like to join in with a future Britmums Carnival you can see the upcoming schedule here, or perhaps even apply to host it for yourself one month.