Monday 30 May 2022

A collage using plastic from the beach

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the plastic that we collected from the beach in Mauritius. I brought back a bag full of pieces of plastic, most of them measuring less than 1cm across. There were a few different colours, but the majority of them were blue, green and white, so I decided to use some of them to make a collage which is the same colours as the sea by which they were found.

Marine and beach plastic collage in blue and green

For the background I used a small canvas 5" x 7" (currently three for £5 in The Works). I painted it with acrylic paints in a variety of different blues, slightly darker at the bottom and lighter at the top. Then when it was dry I stuck down the plastic pieces.

Beach art plastic collage close up

I wasn't sure of the best way to glue them, so I just painted a thick layer of PVA glue onto the canvas and placed them down, having planned out parts of the arrangement on a spare canvas beforehand. I began by placing the larger pieces then filled in with the smaller ones, using tweezers. I had quite a few long thin pieces which I arranged horizontally. I tried to mix up the different shades and textures and include the most interestingly shaped pieces.

Making art using marine plastic collected from the beach

I was inspired to do this by various plastic artworks that I've seen online, particularly on Instagram. I'm planning to share some of my favourite accounts to follow soon. It's just a shame that this artwork has to exist at all. I've become much more conscious of rubbish on the beach lately. Luckily our local beaches aren't too bad, but I can usually find a few pieces to put in the bin when I'm by the sea. Hopefully this collage will remind me to be more conscious of the plastic that I'm using and throwing away.

Friday 27 May 2022

Making plans for my fabric stash

Over the years I seem to have accumulated quite a bit of lovely fabric, even though I'm only at a very basic level when it comes to using a sewing machine. Some of it has come from past blog collaborations and some has just caught my eye when I've seen it on special offer. I now have a large plastic drawer filled with fabric, and I really want to use it for some cool projects.

Pile of different fabrics

There are so many tutorials online and on YouTube that there is really no excuse for not crafting with it. I have a sewing machine which I was given by friend's Mum, I have a huge collection of embroidery silks, I have interfacing and stuffing as well as ribbons and buttons galore. I'm thinking that there are lots of things that I could make without even needing to buy anything extra.

I like the idea of using the red, white and blue London themed fabric for a travel bag, as I'm always looking for storage to help with my packing when we go away. I would love to learn how to make some zippered or drawstring pouches, or perhaps a padded case for electricals.

The anchor fabric would be great to make some things for a cruise gift exchange if we are lucky enough to cruise again, as would the London Underground fabric and the beach huts. I bought some Christmas fabric last year which I want to get crafting with for this year, maybe making some Christmas bunting or tableware. 

I recently made fabric bunting for our garden and there is lots of space to hang some more. I also have many smaller pieces of fabric which would be perfect for some patchwork. I'm thinking about simple patchwork coasters or a case for my phone. I also want to make a cover for the monitor in my study, both to keep it dust free and to keep it out of sight when I'm not using it. 

So I have lots of ideas, I just need to start hunting down some simple tutorials and get started!

Wednesday 25 May 2022

The first residential

Last week Mia went on a four day residential trip with her school. It was a noteworthy event, because it was the first residential trip for either child. At their school the first residential is in Year 6, and Harry's trip was cancelled two years ago due to covid.

The children have been away from us overnight a few times before, even for several nights, but they've always been with grandparents, with each other, and we've been at the other end of the phone. So even though she was very excited, Mia was also quite apprehensive.

Of course it all went well and she had a wonderful time! She did all sorts of activities that we don't do with her, like dry slope skiing and rock climbing, and she also enjoyed the independence of sharing a room with her best friends and taking a bit more responsibility for herself. She did say that she was a bit homesick, but I think that this was outweighed by the positives of the trip.

As for me, I found it really hard while she was away! I missed her of course, and I also missed being in control. Normally I'm in charge of everything that she does - where she goes, what she eats, how she spends her time - and I found it hard to relinquish that. I also felt a bit lost because I was no longer as needed as I usually am. It made me think ahead to when both children are all grown up and have left home - what will I do with myself?! 

It was very quiet while she was away. She's the chatty one who is constantly on the move, and we definitely missed her presence! But I'm so glad that she had this opportunity and I hope that both of them have the chance to do something similar again in the future.

Child with suitcase for first residential trip

Monday 23 May 2022

The Big Jubilee Read

As part of this year's Jubilee celebrations I was really interested to hear about the Big Jubilee Read. It's a reading for pleasure campaign celebrating seventy great reads. Ten books have been chosen from each of the seven decades, with authors from across a range of Commonwealth countries. As well as recognising great books, the campaign is also intended to highlight lesser-known books and authors that deserve to be recognised.

You can find the full list here, sorted by decade, along with a short summary of each - The Big Jubilee Read booklist.

I've encountered many suggested reading lists over the years, and I always enjoy browsing through them. Firstly to see which books I've read, secondly to remind me of books that I've heard of and want to read, and thirdly to find some new books to add to my reading list. 

Of course I'm always happy to find lots of books that I've read on a 'best books' list - it's always enjoyable to think that you are well read - but this list certainly gives me plenty to look for when it comes to finding future reading! 

From the list I have read just twelve of the books:

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Small Island by Andrea Levy

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Girl, Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

I loved reading every single one of these books and in fact two of them are in my personal top three books - The Remains of the Day and The Handmaid's Tale (my third is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier). So despite the fact that the list also includes two books that I started but didn't get along with (Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel) it looks as though there are plenty of books here that would really appeal to me.

I've been through the list and picked three which I liked the sound of. I decided on them because they are fairly recently published, one was a Booker prize winner and one was shortlisted and I find I always enjoy Booker prize winning books, and finally I found them all second hand on my favourite second hand book website Wob, with a 15% discount code when you buy three books in the promotion!

I've ordered The Secret River by Kate Grenville, The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields and The Bone People by Keri Hulme. I'll let you know how I get on with them!

Reading a book
Photo credit Clay Banks via Unsplash

Friday 20 May 2022

Making some new fabric bunting for the garden

A few years ago I made some fabric bunting to hang across the entrance to our vegetable patch area. It was never intended to last forever, and as spring approached it was looking decidedly scruffy so I knew that it was time for an upgrade.

I had some gorgeous beach hut fabric in my fabric stash, and as I'm intending to make it into a seaside themed area I knew that it would be the perfect choice. I alternated the patterned flags with some plain green so as not to be too overwhelming, and it is all sewn to a length of green ribbon for hanging.

Garden fabric bunting with beach huts

This is the third set of bunting that I've now made for the garden, and although my method is a bit rough and ready I'm really pleased with how it looks! I have a cardboard triangle template which I've used before, and I cut out a front and back piece for each flag. Then I turn the good sides together, sew around the long edges and turn them the right way around. I trim across the tops so they are all even and then I just sew them to a length of ribbon.

This time I sewed the flags to the top and bottom of the ribbon to hopefully keep them lying nice and flat and stop them twisting too much. I leave a long length of ribbon at each end for tying to the trellis, and sometimes I secure with a drawing pin or two if they are blowing about too much. They look so bright and colourful, and will hopefully keep looking good for a few more years at least!

Simple fabric bunting for the garden with beach huts

Wednesday 18 May 2022

My life lately - May 2022

I thought I'd do a little life update with some of the things that I've been doing and enjoying lately!


I wrote recently about the books that I read on holiday, and now I'm working through the rest of the free books that I downloaded and didn't get to. Then I have a haul of second hand paperbacks waiting by my bedside table. 

A book that I really enjoyed recently was one of my Amazon First Read selections - The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel. It falls under one of my favourite genres - a woman inherits a house full of secrets - and this book is about a woman who is Indian but was adopted and raised in a white Catholic family and has no knowledge about her heritage. She discovers that an unknown woman has left her an apartment in a block that was purchased by Indian students who moved to the US to study engineering so that they could take their skills back to India. It's now inhabited by their descendants, who introduce her to their culture despite not knowing exactly why she has been left the apartment. I enjoyed reading a new take on a favourite genre.

The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel


We are so behind with our television watching! There are lots of series that I have lined up to watch - Bridgerton, Life After Life, The Time Traveller's Wife, The Essex Serpent...I just need to find the time!

We've just started the new and final season of Better Call Saul which is looking good. I've also discovered a little programme on Netflix called Old Enough which we are enjoying watching, each episode is only about ten minutes long and it follows a small child in Japan who is sent out to run errands and filmed to see how they get on. It's very sweet! Finally we enjoyed watching Moon Knight as a family, the latest Marvel series on Disney+ and definitely one of the better ones.


Lately on the school run I've been enjoying listening to piano music. I have a playlist on Spotify called 'Relaxing Piano' and I do find that it helps me feel calm when driving. I'm enjoying playing the piano too myself and so I like to hear fancier versions of the pieces that I play. In particular I'm enjoying listening to Ludovico Einaudi.


I'm still enjoying Pikmin Bloom on my phone, although I accept that I'm probably one of the only people in the country playing it! It's a simple mobile game that is a little bit like Pokemon Go in that it uses a map and your walking data to play. You collect seedlings which take a certain amount of steps to grow, and when you pluck them they become a Pikmin which is a little character that follows you around and plants flowers. If you collect seeds from certain places then when you have fed them enough nectar they put on a decoration related to where you picked them up, and so you can collect lots of different décor which is where I'm at now in the game. I have lots of beach, café, park and forest Pikmin but I'm still working on lots of the others, like the different shops which include sweet, sushi and clothing. I have it on when I'm out running, and it encourages me to run to different places to try and pick up the ones I'm missing.


I've been working on a cross stitch snowflake piece for Christmas which I'm quite proud of. I've worked up my own pattern for an embroidery hoop design, and I'll be publishing it on the blog as winter approaches.

Snowflake cross stitch in progress

I'm also working on some bits for the garden - I'm planning to make some fresh bunting and paint some plant pots.

Travelling to

Over the Easter holiday we had a wonderful holiday to Mauritius with lots of sunshine, time to relax and sightseeing. Then we managed another trip to Monkey World to see Mia's adopted gibbon and other primate friends.

I've also been up to London twice, having not visited for over two years. The first was a lovely surprise trip for our wedding anniversary. We went to watch Les Misérables, which is my favourite musical, and also went Swingers for some tipsy mini golf! Then last week we went to the Young Voices concert at the O2 to watch Mia perform. It was so strange seeing all the crowds and everyone out and about, it really did feel as though things are now back to normal.

Swingers mini golf club in London

Coming up

I can't believe that the summer term is so short, with the half term holiday in just a couple of weeks! We have booked an Airbnb in Bournemouth for the week which is on the beach and looks lovely. It's Mia's birthday that week, and so there will be at least one trip to Monkey World while we are there.

Then it will just be the countdown to the end of term, and the end of Mia's time at primary school which will be emotional I'm sure. Fingers crossed the weather this summer will be better than last year, I want to enjoy some garden time!

Monday 16 May 2022

Some of my favourite book themes

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

I read widely - newly published books and older classics, female and male authors, historical and contemporary. I flit between easy reads and more complicated texts. However I find that I'm often drawn to the same themes, and here are some that I've been enjoying recently:

The inherited house renovation romance - A woman inherits a house from a distant or unknown relative, usually at a point in her life where she is going through a life change. The house has an idyllic  location in a small town, often by the sea. It's run down and old fashioned but still habitable. While sorting through the possessions left in the house she discovers hidden secrets and learns more about herself and her history. There's usually a romance involving a handsome local man who is helping with the building work or connected to the house in some way.

I've enjoyed lots of books with this theme, two very recent examples are The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel and The Vanishing Tide by Hilary Tailor (both Amazon First Reads and will be published on the 1st June 2022.) I also liked The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson.

Opening a bookshop (see also café, sweetshop) - A woman going through some sort of life change decides to move in a new direction and open up a bookshop or similar. She usually has some sort of help to get started, for example she inherits or is given a lot of books or other relevant supplies. She is greeted with distrust by the locals, including the inevitable eligible bachelor, but she wins everyone over and becomes part of the community. 

Some examples - The Bookshop on the Corner and The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan.

The middle aged woman reinvention story - A mother to older teenagers realises that now her children have grown and no longer need her she has forgotten to live her own life and doesn't know where to start. Sometimes prompted by meeting an old flame. So she does something drastic - often upping and leaving her family, meeting new people and finding new interests.

From my recent reads - Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life by Carmen Reid, Ladder of Years and Back When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler.

Time travel and repeated chances - There are many books with these themes, but I like stories where time travel is used as a device to see the same story from different viewpoints, or to see how something might have turned out differently.

Some older reads - The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (both of which have recently been dramatised for television). Also Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver which explores various different results caused by one decision.

On a similar note, immortality or having a second chance to try something - for example How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, Meet me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey.

Pile of books opened pages
Photo credit Gülfer ERGİN via Unsplash

These are just some of the books I've been enjoying. If you've read any books similar to those mentioned above then I would love to hear your recommendations!

Friday 13 May 2022

I love paper books but I wouldn't be without my Kindle

Recently I wrote all about my love for paper books, and it is true that when it comes to reading I do much prefer a physical book that I can hold in my hand and enjoy the reading experience. 

But I also love my faithful Kindle, and it definitely has an important part to play in my reading life. In particular I get a lot of use out of my Kindle when we go away on holiday. I love the fact that I can bring along a huge selection of my books including old favourites, easy reads and non fiction so I always have something to read to suit every mood.

I always have a lovely time the week before a holiday browsing through the free Kindle books on Amazon and looking through the Amazon Prime Reading selection to line up some holiday reading. I very rarely buy a Kindle book as I'd rather spend the money on a physical book, and yet I never seem to run out of Kindle books to read as there are so many free ones available, especially if you are a Prime member. You just need to keep checking through the free Kindle books or hunt down classic books which are out of copyright. I never get through all the books that I download, so I have plenty left for my return!

The Kindle is so small and light that it's easy to take out and about with me in my handbag, and I can read it while I'm doing things around the house - stirring dinner, brushing my teeth, even eating. Because my Kindle is getting quite old now I'm not too worried about leaving it unattended in a beach bag if I'm in the water, or in the car while I'm collecting the children. I also enjoy the privacy aspect - people can't judge me on my book choice if I'm reading in public!

Person reading a Kindle on the beach
Photo credit Maarten van den Heuvel via Unsplash

It might not be the same experience for me as reading a physical book but I do love all the benefits!

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Plastic on the beach

I feel very lucky when it comes to plastic rubbish on my local beaches here in West Sussex. When I'm on the beach I very rarely see any rubbish. I mainly see pieces of rope and twine that I assume are linked to the fishing industry, or recent rubbish like bottles and cups that have been dropped by visitors. I think that locals and the council are very good at keeping the beaches clean. 

So I was sad on our recent holiday to Mauritius to see just how much plastic there was on the beach. It wasn't larger items like plastic bottles, as these were cleared away regularly by the resort staff. But buried in the sand and caught up in the clumps of seaweed there were hundreds of pieces of coloured plastic, some of them very tiny. It was mainly on the upper beach area rather than in the sea itself but it had clearly come from the sea and looked as though it had been there for some time.

Plastic collected from the beach

I couldn't stop myself from picking up as much as I could while walking along the beach, and Mia helped as well, roaming about with a discarded paper cup and collecting everything that she could find. It felt like a never ending job, although I did feel that by the end of our stay there was less plastic to be found. Nonetheless it was still an overwhelming feeling to think that I could collect so much plastic in just a few hours on a very small stretch of coastline.

Some of the larger plastic pieces I put in the bin, but I did bring a collection of small pieces back with me with the intention of creating some sort of art work with them. I've been inspired by similar things that I've seen online - have a look at my Pinterest board at the bottom of the post to see the sort of thing that I mean. 

On a related note a few companies have come to my attention recently that I thought I would mention, as they are all doing great things with recycled beach plastic waste.

Wyatt and Jack collect old and damaged inflatables and turn them into colourful upcycled bags as well as whole range of other products including purses and planters. They used to accept donations of old inflatable materials but it looks as though they have had to pause that for the time being as they were overwhelmed. I've got my eyes on one of the cosmetic pouches or purses.

Children love plastic beach toys for the beach but they are a huge source of plastic rubbish. Dantoy have created a new range called Blue Marine Toys which are made from recycled maritime materials. I love this range of sand and water toys, and although mine are getting a big older now I think that a set would make a great gift for new parents that haven't yet started a collection of beach toys.

Recycled beach toys from Dantoy
Photo credit 

Finally this company keeps popping up on my Facebook - Waterhaul. They make some lovely glasses, sunglasses and other equipment from recycled ocean plastic products. You can get the glasses made up to your prescription and they seem quite reasonably priced, although it's been a while since I needed new glasses so I'm a bit out of touch with the process!

Here's my Beach Plastic Art Pinterest board of beach art using plastic that I'm hoping will inspire me to make something beautiful with the plastic that I have collected.

Monday 9 May 2022

Young Voices 2022 at the O2 Arena

Last week we made our third trip to London to watch the Young Voices choir perform at the O2. In 2018 we watched Harry perform, in 2020 both children sang in a concert that they managed to sneak in just before the lockdown, and this year we took Harry along to watch while Mia performed with the choir.

This year marked the 25th Young Voices concert after the show was cancelled last year. This show had already been postponed twice from earlier in the year, so it was quite a relief to see it finally take place.

We arrived at the O2 early, so we took the tube over to Stratford for a walk around the Olympic Park and had dinner in the shopping centre. Then we joined the crowds of proud parents, relatives and friends, and made our way into the arena and found our seats. Our school was on the opposite side and we weren't able to get close enough to talk to Mia, but we could just about see her. We waved frantically and were pretty sure that she was waving back.

Young Voices Concert at the O2 Arena 2022

It was a great show as always. There was a stunning opening moment when the lights went out and you could see all the children waving little lights in the dark, before the show started with O Fortuna. The choir was accompanied by dancers, singers and musicians. The arena lighting was amazing and really complemented the performances, and when all the singers joined in with synchronised dance movement it looked fantastic across the arena. 

It amused me that most of the parents there were fully making the most of a night out without their children. There was constant traffic from the audience seats to the bar, people were coming back to their seats carrying trays of beer and full bottles of wine. The glass of wine that I had beforehand definitely helped my moves in the audience participation rave segment!

We had another brilliant night out watching the concert, and I'm quite sad that my children won't be taking part again as they move to the senior school. If your child ever has the chance to take part in a Young Voices concert then I'd absolutely recommend it, it's a brilliant experience for them.

Saturday 7 May 2022

The books that I read on holiday

When I'm packing for a holiday I always spend a lot of time deciding which books I'm going to take with me. Different types of holiday require different reading material, and on our recent beach holiday, bookended with twelve hour flights, I knew that I would want to take lots of easy light reading with me.

So today I'm sharing all the books that I read on holiday in case you are looking for some summer reading inspiration. I've included links to the Kindle versions of the books, because at the time I downloaded them all of these books were either free or part of the Amazon Prime Reading library.

The Saturday Morning Park Run - Jules Wake

I've only actually ever run a Parkrun once but I love the concept, and so this book stood out to me immediately. It's the story of Claire who lives for her job, but after she is signed off work with stress she discovers that there is much more to life. She befriends an active older lady and a handsome young man who has recently lost his own stressful job. They work together with the local community to set up a new park run in their area, and it's a really lovely story about finding the things that are really important, forming new and unexpected relationships with others, and creating a positive work life balance.

The House on Blackberry Hill - Donna Alward

This book forms part of one of my favourite easy reading genres which I call the "inherited house renovation romance". I'll soon be sharing a few of my recent reads with this theme - a young woman at a crossroads in her life unexpectedly inherits an old house in an idyllic location from an unknown relative. She arrives to prepare it for sale, meets a handsome young man who helps with the building works and in the process uncovers all sorts of family secrets. This book also features a paranormal twist, and although it was fairly predictable it was also an enjoyable light read. 

The Easy Life in Kamusari - Shion Miura

I really enjoyed this short book about Yuki Hirano, who has just left high school when his parents enrol him against his will in a forestry training programme in a remote mountain village. At first he feels like an outcast and attempts to run away back to the city, but after a short while he finds himself deeply connected to the community and the forests. It's a fairy tale story with a healthy dose of magic realism, a tale about living in harmony with nature and a really charming read. It's also has some really interesting information about the work of a forester and how forests are maintained.

The Story of Our Secrets - Shari Low

I've read a few books by Shari Low and always find then nice, easy reads with interesting characters and stories. This book switches between Colm who is dying of a brain tumour, and Shauna his wife several years after his death, as she and her close group of friends come to terms with his loss and their own complicated relationships. The characters have messy lives and I found them a bit difficult to relate to, but I enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded and how situations resolved themselves.

Dopamine Detox - Thibaut Meurisse

I'm very interested in the topic of dopamine addiction and how smartphones, social media and so on are designed to keep us hooked, overstimulating us and generally destroying our ability to focus. This short guide isn't particularly ground breaking, but it's a really good introduction to the topic and has some great tips for completing a successful dopamine detox, whether that's removing all distractions for a short period or just focussing on one or two areas of your life for the longer term. I like to read books like this from time to time to remind me that there is much more to life than scrolling, and that will hopefully give me a nudge in the right direction!

Thursday 5 May 2022

The stars in the Southern Hemisphere

Back in 2007 my husband and I travelled around Australia as part of an amazing honeymoon. It was our first visit to the Southern Hemisphere, and I thought that the only difference was that the seasons were reversed. We did notice that our view of the stars was amazing and quite different to the view that we had from home, but because I wasn't so knowledgeable about astronomy back then I thought that it was because we were visiting areas with low light pollution and so we could see more stars.

It's only more recently that I've learned more about how the sky looks different from the Southern Hemisphere. Although the lower levels of light pollution do make for a better view, from this part of the world there are more stars to see, including a much clearer view of the Milky Way as it sweeps across the sky.

We have recently returned from a week in Mauritius, and this time I was more prepared to make the most of any stargazing opportunities. It's a little disorientating at first when you look up to the sky. Even if you aren't that familiar with the stars at home I think that you still have a vague idea of where they are, and to look up and see a different sky can feel a little strange!

One of the most famous constellations that is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere, or sometimes in very southern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, is the Southern Cross, or Crux.

Southern Cross constellation with palm trees

The Southern Cross constellation is quite a small constellation, and it's the constellation represented by the stars on the Australian flag. I managed to capture it in this photo above, although the fifth star is quite faint. Tilt your head slightly to the left and it's just to the right of the centre.

Another difference in the Southern Hemisphere is that the view of the moon appears upside down from what we are used to in the Northern Hemisphere. There's a really good explanation of why here - Does the moon look upside down in the Southern Hemisphere? I would have loved to have seen this, however unfortunately during our stay there was a new moon which didn't rise until much later in the night, and we never actually saw it! 

We looked out for the Southern Cross every night of our holiday, and this photo was taken on our last night as we said goodbye to it. I would love to see it again soon!

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Travelling with older children

I've always loved to travel, and the children have been joining us on our travels around the world since they were very small. Obviously our travel abroad has been somewhat curtailed over the last couple of years, and we've just returned from our first long haul holiday in a long time - a wonderful week in Mauritius.

Something that I really noticed on this holiday was how much easier things have become now that the children are older.

When it comes to packing I just give them a list of clothes and they gather the items together for me. They pack their own toiletries (with a few reminders!) along with all the other things that need to join us - books, pencil cases, fidget toys and so on. This time I even got them to organise their own hand luggage and snacks - it's a long time since I had to prepare busy bags and little tubs filled with raisins!

We had good flight times for this holiday - two long night flights. Both children took themselves off to sleep when they were tired and slept almost the whole way, meaning that us adults could sleep too. I didn't even mind the babies that cried the whole way there and back as I was so grateful that they weren't mine to worry about!

Older children sitting in outdoor bar on holiday

I found that I could relax much more without having to constantly entertain the children. We sat by the pool or on the beach, and I could read my book while the children read or played on their tablets. They took themselves to the toilet if they needed it, and rinsed the sand off their own feet. They applied their own sun cream in the morning and washed their own hair in the evening.

We did a couple of sightseeing trips by taxi, and it was so nice not to have to worry about car seats. We also spent time snorkelling in the sea, and it was much more enjoyable now that the children can swim as well as I can. I was able to appreciate the fish myself instead of being constantly on alert!

We usually choose holiday destinations with a buffet meal setup as it works best for us. This was the first time that the children were confident enough to go up and help themselves to food, meaning that we could sit and enjoy our own dinner without having to constantly jump up and down to get them things. Then after dinner we were able to enjoy a drink in one of the bars, and we had some great family time chatting together. When they got restless we sent them off with a phone, and they amused themselves by taking videos of each other while still within our sight. 

These are all changes that have happened gradually, but it hasn't been until now that I've really noticed how all these things added up and what a positive difference it made to our holiday. I did love travelling with the children when they were smaller but it does make holidays much less stressful now that they are a bit older!

Monday 2 May 2022

Daily wellbeing: What to do when stress strikes

This is a collaborative post

Stress is something that everyone must face during their daily routine. Each person will react to stress differently, and this reaction is what separates those that know how to deal with it correctly and those who do not. Therefore, the key to managing stress is not avoiding it completely but learning how to deal with it correctly.

A build-up of stress in your system can make you ill. That is why this article will offer advice on how to reduce stress for those that struggle when stress strikes.

Make A Stress Journal

The hardest part of dealing with stress is that it can slowly build. By the time you realise that something is wrong, the initial stressors are long gone. That is why you may benefit from keeping a stress journal. All it requires you to do is write down any times you feel stressed and what you were doing during that time. 

After a while, you should be able to find a common link between situations or people that you feel stressed around. Only then can you take the steps to avoid these situations or deal with them in a different way.

Pink journal and pen
Photo credit Jess Bailey via Unsplash

Remove Yourself From The Stressor

Stress can come from any direction. You may be stressed in the face of work, traffic, or even a family member. Unfortunately, stress is a sensation that can cause us to act irrationally, and this behaviour can sometimes make the situation worse. 

Therefore, it might be necessary to remove yourself from the situation if you start to feel stressed. Taking yourself away for a few minutes gives you the chance to recover and think rationally once again. This means that you will be in a better frame of mind to tackle whatever is stressing you out.

Make A Healthy Change

As a human in the 21st century, it is impossible to stay away from every unhealthy life choice. Some of us are prone to a poor diet, a lack of exercise, alcohol use, or smoking, and these behaviours only get worse when you are stressed. While it may be impossible to cut out every bad habit, you may find it useful to attempt to remove at least one from your life. The positive outcome from the lack of something like alcohol will do your stress the world of good.

However, you may also find it beneficial to replace a negative habit with some more positive. Exercise or CBD from Greenhaus are two safer options than smoking or junk food for relieving stress, so why not make a positive switch to help relax.

Man running in countryside
Photo credit Jenny Hill via Unsplash

Stay Off Social Media

Social media sites are full of information. Some of this data may make you feel positive; however, some of it can cause stress. If you have had a particularly stressful day, try staying away from social media until you feel like you have calmed down. Scrolling through posts is only going to exacerbate your mood, so make sure you keep it at arm’s length until you have dealt with your stress.


There are a lot of practices out there to help you reduce stress over time. However, if you want quicker relief, try out one of the solutions above.