Summer’s over (already!), which means most of us (myself included) are probably already thinking about the next family holiday – Bring on October half term, I say!

So with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to plan your next family adventure in the UK whilst keeping to a budget:

Think About Where to Go and How Long For

Before you start Googling ‘half-term breaks’ and find yourself lost in an indigestible amount of information and pulled into pricey “offers”, just sit back and think of the areas you’d like to go. Perhaps this will be somewhere you’ve never been to before but have heard good things about. Maybe its a place you have had on your “bucket list”, or maybe it is somewhere you’ve been to and want to explore in more depth or return to as an old family favourite spot – either way think about a specific place and stay focused! If the kids are old enough, you could even have a family vote so everyone feels involved in the decision.

Then, once you’ve settled on a place and how long you’re going to go for, start researching places that tick the boxes.

Research Your Costs

In order to start saving for you next trip, it is important to research further than just how much the accommodation will cost you. Consider what attractions you might visit whilst there, where you might eat at night, or if it will be self catered? Also account for how much it will cost you to get to and from the location in fuel or on public tansport (Family and friends rail cards are a great investment to save money on rail fares!).

Having this budget in mind won’t just help you save, but it will prevent things from getting out of hand (as we all know they often can on family holidays!).

Consider Taking the Grandparents

While holidaying with your parents might not necessarily be at the top of your list of things to do (especially if they are elderly), family trips make for lots of quality time that you’ll all treasure, and this is reason enough for us to be taking Nath’s mum with us on our next trip. 

If they aren’t as active as ours are, and are struggling with mobility, you will need to do some extra planning to make sure the accommodation and activities will cater to them too. And you might even want to consider a road scooter to help them get around with ease, and without feeling like they’re a burden to you. Places like Mobility Solutions are ideal for this.

Book Your Accommodation

Now you know who’s coming with you, it’s time to get your accommodation booked. We always like the flexibility of Air BnB, however, hotels are great for short breaks too and ones where you don’t have to do too much. But if there’s a large group of you going, you may find self-catered cottages or homes offer you the flexibility you need.

Again, if your kids are older, see what everyone would prefer so no ones left moaning that they ‘didn’t want to stay here.’

Plan Your Activities

Finally, to make sure you’re packing as much as possible into the trip, and the right attire into your cases, start planning the activities you’re going to do.

Staying in the UK means the weather is not alway predictable and so it’s a good idea to leave some flexibility with what you’re doing on what day so you can account for those inevitable changes in the weather. Plus, leaving some room in your itinerary will allow for last-minute changes as well as new things you may discover when you get to the location.

Also looking up voucher offers ahead of time for theme parks and touristy places, will be small steps in saving you loads on days out!

Planning family breaks can be stressful but I absolutely love the excitement of it all and bagging some deals too! Allow yourself enough time and stick to a budget so that you can create the ideal UK family holiday and one that’s completely budgeted for.

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This post has been drafted for months and I have never got around to publishing it – sorry! It is a little sneaky peak into our home and a look at what we did with our girls bedroom when we moved in last Summer. I am hoping to show you a few more (as and when we add the finishing touches) but as they are both getting older now, and with Alice soon coming out of a cot and most likely into bunk beds, I wanted to show you (and preserve the memory of) their little girls unicorn bedroom!

A Unicorn Bedroom

The kids rooms were the first to be done, and we got them done quite simply and quickly. Ethan has his own room (which I will post about soon) and the girls share. Megan was adamant when we were moving that their room would be pink and unicorn themed – the rest was up to me! I was sure that it would be simple and classic whilst incorporating the unicorns. I most certainly didn’t want big characters everywhere and we didn’t have time or the energy to faff with wallpaper or anything, and so we painted it all pink (from the olive green it once was), knocked out the fitted wardrobe and built in a make shift one using Ikea units! This way it felt fresher, was a better use of space and was certainly more age appropriate for a 1 year old and then 5 year old!

I decided to put their beds opposite to one another and next to the window. It seemed to use the space well and I also wanted Megan to have a side and Alice to have a side as at times she has been known to whine about sharing a room with “a baby”! Alice’s bedding was the cloud set from Ikea – which I felt went well with the unicorn theme, whilst keeping it classic and baby like for Alice! We then painted an Ikea spice rack above Alice’s cot for her few baby books, and a Kallax unit at the end where we put her toys, nappies/wipes and vests in various baskets!

I bought Megan’s bed spread from Primark for about £12 – I liked it because it had a retro feel to it and the pastel colours toned down the unicorns. Above her Ikea bed (which I bought second hand for £30) we put up 2 white ikea picture rails to display unicorn tat and little bits and bobs. This was her favourite part of the room as it was her special place that Alice was too small to reach and tamper with.

I also made a small “princess dress up” zone between the end of her bed and closet area. It was super simple and easy using a rail from Ikea that cost a couple of pounds and adding a mirror that was from our old room over it.

Since moving in and getting settled, and as they have both grown up a little (and Alice can climb up on things) we have had a little shift around in the girls room recently. We have maintained the unicorn them, but dismantled the hanging area to swap over Megan’s bed to that side of the room. She likes her little nook, and an added unicorn garland (£1 from Hobbycraft)!

The shelves that were over her bed now hold lots of books and Alice’s cot lies at a different angle with us building a hanging space in the corner where her book shelf was!

I expect in the next year or so this room will love very different, as we move Alice from her cot and them both into bunk beds. As they grow and need more space, we will also add in a wardrobe and proper drawers and possibly a small desk too for Megan to do homework at!

Our new home is very slowly coming along, and whilst we are not doing any major renovations to it, it is still hard work to put our stamp on it through style and decor. I am full of good ideas and have a colourful home style, however both Mr Smith and I are not that great at DIY and so it never looks as good as I imagine! For now though I am really pleased with this simple unicorn bedroom for our girls and the rooms we have almost finished that feel rather lovely!

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Like everyone else around the UK, this week has been all about frantically getting uniforms, shoes and bags packed in preparation for going back to school. For Ethan and Megs that meant Years 2 & 3 and by some complete miracle (or fluke?) we have made it on time every single day! I cannot believe we are already back to school, but I am glad we are in somewhat of an organised state so far!

We have had a great week getting back into the flow of things, getting organised for the Autumn term and adjusting to the days of just Alice and I again – We have returned to toddler group and done some shopping!

Grateful For

This week I am grateful that school runs have been so much easier and that we have has a great first week back. I am grateful to know the kids have slotted in so easily to their new classrooms and teachers, and are happy in school. I am grateful for hot chocolate with Naths mum and Aunt on Wed and also grateful to have had a lovely lunch and chats with my friend on Thursday for her birthday (and that we both love pizza!).

I am thankful for a great weekend this weekend going to our Temple in Chorley and seeing my family today to celebrate my cousins baby blessing.

Succeeded At

I have to say it again, but this weeks biggest success has most definitely been that of getting to school every day ON TIME! I cannot say enough how great that is, and how good it is to be in time to walk with our friends!

Found Beauty In 

The most beautiful thing this week was seeing the kids in their crisp new uniforms with smiles on their faces. It was lovely to see them so excited to get back into school. It was also beautiful to see Alice trying on my shoes, and hearing her say “wellie Boots” over and over again, with such glee at her new unicorn wellies!

I wasn’t really sure how this week would go, and certainly felt somewhat worried that school might take some getting used to again, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I have loved all of the things Alice and I have been doing whilst Ethan and Megs have enjoyed seeing their friends and scoffing their packed lunches at school! I have a feeling this half term might not be so bad…

 

 

 

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4 years ago when I started blogging I had no idea what SEO was, let alone seeing it as something important to do for every post I wrote. I simply wrote it and shared it! I definitely never imagined back then that a few years down the line I would actually be writing a post on it! But, here we are – we live and learn. And anyone who has a website and shares content online needs to know the basics of SEO if you want your site to perform well and to gain traffic from search engines!

So, in order to assist any newbie bloggers out there, or those who want to get into blogging, or simply bloggers and website owners that want their site to perform better, here are the basics I do on every one of my blog posts to ensure it has good, or even excellent SEO! Here are the basics to SEO in collaboration with https://www.click.co.uk/services/paid-search-ppc/ newest campaign – #SEOYourBlog!

What is SEO and why is it important?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is very important if you want your blog content to rate well on search engines. It refers to the methods used (which I will explain) to increase a sites position on search engines!

People trust search engines and the sites you see at the top of the pages, that contain the key words you have searched for, are the ones most likely to get clicked on, and therefore the ones most likely to have increased traffic. Therefore having good SEO practice on your blog or website, means that you will appear in a better position on a search engine and consequently are more likely to have extra traffic to your blog.

Here’s how to do that…

Word Count

First and foremost is word count. As I am someone who always has a lot to say, this is never an issue for me! But also too many words can be an issue for Google when directing to a landing page with a lot of content!

As a minimum I would say 300+ when creating content, but I always try to stick between 500 to 1500! Some of my posts have been lengthy, but content is often less about how much or little there is, and more so focusing on the core topic and key words within what you are writing.

Key Words 

Once your post is written/as you are writing it, think about the key words of it. If it is about “Family Holiday’s” or “Marriage” do these words appear firstly in the title? In the Snippet review for search engines? The first paragraph? And then periodically elsewhere in the the post?

If the answer is “YES” to theses then the likelihood is that your post is on track to having good SEO!

Alt Text on Images

The Alt Text on images is there first and foremost to improve web accessibility (Visually impaired people using screen readers wont pick up on images, but can pic up on Alt Text to understand what the image is of). I am really rubbish at this part of content creation, but if done well, it will not only help your readers, but will also improve your blog or websites SEO.

When you a apply Alt text to your images, it creates an HTML attribute for it, which means it is a text alternative for search engines to find. This will positively impact your search engine performance.

Internal Linking 

In almost all of my posts I will find key words or “Anchor words” and insert a link to a similar blog post(s) relating to that phrase or word. The reason I do this is because internal linking (or hyperlinking) pointing to other web pages are important for creating a strong internal structure to your blog/website!

Getting links from other sites or linking to other sites, again increases SEO performance too as it helps your blog perform better.

Tagging 

Finally, before publishing a post, I always add Tags to it. Tagging it, again is about focusing on the key words within the content and focusing on the topic of that post.

Here are the tag examples I am using for this one:

  • SEO
  • Blogging
  • Blog
  • Traffic
  • Tagging
  • Key Words
  • Internal Linking
  • ALT Text

Each tag is a key word about what I have written about within that post and they make the post indexable and therefore rankable on a search engine.

Whilst all of this may sound quite baffling to you, stick with it! – #SEOYour blog and I assure you that it will get easier. It is now just habit for me and second nature. The majority of my posts SEO comes out as good or excellent!

*Collaborative Post

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