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Italy is a fantastic destination when it comes to family holidays, with a great mix of sightseeing and relaxation on offer. The whole family can take advantage of Italy’s beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and more. A great region to consider for your next family trip (that we have fallen in love with) is Tuscany. With some impressive cities to visit including Florence and Siena, there’s plenty of breath-taking sites to admire and it’s the perfect place to switch off.

To make the most of your time there here are our tips on how you can plan the Ideal getaway!

Purchase tours and tickets in advance

If you want to make the most of your time, purchasing your tickets in advance can be a great way to skip the queues and plan your time more efficiently. If you are travelling with younger children, eliminating the need to queue for tickets can be a great way to avoid frustrations or meltdowns. Also, having times allocated for visiting attractions allows you to plan your day to maximise your time enjoying the most that Italy has to offer.

Look out for any offers or family tickets, which obviously could save you some money – especially when purchasing online.

Find the ideal Tuscan hideaway

Renting out a villa is a great way to make your time away from home a little more comfortable. You can really make the place feel like a home away from home and it allows you to create a central base for you to go out and explore from. Picking somewhere with a pool or outside space is great if you have kids to entertain, especially if you plan on having a few relaxing days in between sightseeing. If you’re after somewhere special to stay, Abercrombie & Kent have a range of luxury Italian villas that make for the most exemplary escape!

Make the most of train travel

Taking the train is a great way to get a round Italy; they’re well connected and reasonably priced and we used them last year when travelling from Pisa to Rome, so make the most of them to get around and explore more of what’s in your area and those surrounding it. If you’re staying in the countryside and don’t fancy driving into the cities, then opting for train travel is a nice alternative and lets you explore more without having to worry about parking. You can also pre-book your tickets online, so you don’t have to worry about getting them on the day.

Head off the beaten track

When it comes to exploring the Tuscan countryside, some of the smaller more authentic Italian towns allow you to experience something new. You’ll find some of the best food places when you head outside of the typical tourist traps and towards the local side streets. There are also a lot of historical attractions such as cathedrals, so if your family is into history then you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied. The bigger cities, such as Florence and Siena, are packed full of interesting historical sites including iconic bridges and squares. For the adults, there plenty of world-renowned wines on offer, so be sure to make the most of these!

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The weather is suddenly cooler, the house quieter, and everything is pretty much back in order as we have swiftly found ourselves in September and a new school year! There were no tears, no stressing, no worries – just excitement, enthusiasm and crisp new uniforms, as they eagerly made their way up the village green yesterday to embark on years 2 & 3 of their school life.

This year is a little different to previous years, as we have our first male teacher (Ethan is rather excited) and it’s also the year they wanted to try pack ups (except for on a Friday which is the best because it’s “Fish Friday”!)! I am excited to see what work Ethan does now he is Key stage 2, and how different it is having a male influence on a daily basis. I am also pretty sure that in a week or 2 I will be pinning ideas like mad over in pinterest in desperation to be more inventive than the egg or cheese sandwich option accompanied by crisps, fruit, veggie sticks and a baby belle that they skipped off with yesterday in their new lunch boxes.

But for now we are most definitely winning at life and excited for this term.

I will of course miss my little buddies – how could I not? But the timing is right. We have had a wonderful Summer with no regrets and plenty of love and fun, but somehow we woke up yesterday and felt rich in the back to school vibe and looked forward to what learning and knowledge will be coming there way over the coming weeks. We quickly and naturally fell back into the routine and were, much to our amazement, early!

I still often flit between wanting to homeschool them and keeping them in school – I love the idea of having them home and learning together in a less formal way. I like the idea of discovering together and allowing the world to teach us, but for now things feel right and they are settled and happy!

As always I asked them what they want to be when they grow up – I love how it changes year on year, and how funny it always is! This Year Ethan wants to be a DJ and a rockstar. And Megan? Well she wants to work at Mcdonalds of course… I am hopeful that that is whilst she trains to be a vet or Trapeze artist like she has previously expressed interest in, and not just because she loves chicken nuggets! Either way, these 2 little nutters are excited to learn, be with their friends, and start new clubs.

Years 2 & 3 already? Sheesh! Let’s do this!!

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If you didn’t know already, ZARA is absolutely (without a doubt) one of my favourite shops to buy stuff from for myself! Next to H&M it makes me so happy to browse in, wish for and their jeans fit me the best (along with H&M), out of all of the high street stores (isn’t it funny how different we all are?)! Yes Zara is a huge gorgeous love of mine!

Of course then it’s no surprise that I leap for joy whenever there is a seasonal sale! Their sales are always amazing, with many a bargain to be had on many lovely things, and their recent Spring/Summer 18 Sale was no different.

My budget this year was minimal – like almost non existent! So I stuck to shopping online so that I could be in more control. Money is rather tight at the moment so I had to be very selective, but as I just really wanted a couple of new tops to brighten up my wardrobe, I avoided looking outside of that (and the dresses)!

Red Stripe Top – 

The first thing I added was this cool, retro feel top! I loved the bold colours and stripes, long sleeves for the Autumn, and generally just felt like it was me! It was £3.99 from £17.99 and feels a little bit like an old school football top! It will be great with both boots and pumps!

Crazy Shiny Top – 

Next up is this top, and quite possible my new fave! It is a mix of beautiful colours, with a shine through for added measure and looks great with most of my jeans! I like that it’s comfy but looks a bit posh too. A bargain at £3.99 from £17.99!

The Granny dress! 

I call this my Granny dress and it makes me very happy to own!! I actually picked this one up in store when I went to get a gift for someone last week! It was only £5.99 and I love everything about it – the colour mix, the crazy sleeve details and style, and the fact it’s midi length, modest and perfect for church!

I wore it last sunday with pink heeled sandals and pink tassel earrings for a posho church look, but I know it will also look good with my white pumps or silver mules for a more chilled out look too!

I also bought another yellow dress for £5.99 from £25.99 (which I loved) but unfortunately the fabric causes it to cling in the most awkward of places and it looked dreadful. So yeah, it’s sadly a goodbye to that one!

I love these bonus extras to my wardrobe and love what massive bargains they were too – I look forward to wearing them regularly! I was extra good too as I sent a selection of tops and a dress to the charity shop yesterday so as to avoid a hoarding situation occurring – Mr Smith was most shocked!

Did you find any good Sale pieces this time round? Where do you like to shop?

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I am sad to have come to the end of August, purely because we have had such a wonderful and adventurous month! The Summer holidays have been a real treat and we have made some fabulous memories together (as well as with family and friends). I am going to miss the kids when they go back to school on Tuesday – our relaxed mornings, our plans and days out together, those picnics and mad dashes for the train!

Yes, things will certainly be a lot quieter and less eventful than they have been over this passed month.

In August we have had multiple beach trips, country walks, our first family camping trip and Megan and I finally baked together! We have watched countless movies, had a cinema trip, being rockpooling and the kids have played out on their bikes with their friends. We have had sleepovers at Grandma’s and been twice to one of our favourite museums! We have fully embraced the Summer holidays and it has been both fun and relaxing!

Whilst we haven’t done half of what was on our Summer Bucket list this year, and although Mr Smith spent 2 weeks of August plagued by illness, we have nevertheless had an absolutely wonderful Summer holidays together!

Our Pictures this month are taken on 2 separate occasions over the bank holiday weekend last week. We stayed in a lovely big house on the cliffs of the scottish coast in the Galloway area, along with all of Nathan’s family. It was a lovely getaway and I love these pictures of us all. We do look rather Autumnal (due to the much cooler temperatures we had) but it was one last fabulous adventure as a family before getting ready to go back to school!

We will all miss our casual days and beach days… the taking it easy day to day and not clock watching, but as we head into the changes of September and what has always been a bit of a funny month for our family as we look to celebrate Poppy, we take with us our memories and all that we are grateful for this month.

In August we are grateful for…

The Summer Holidays
A trip to Scotland with family
Having some of our friends from Leeds visit (and stay over)
Lots of trips to the beach
Excellent weather
A great first camping experience and tent adventures
A beach day with our neighbour friends / Lots of days out with them
Eating waffles/Doughnuts on the Harbour
Seeing lots of new lighthouses
Spending time with Cousins
A visit to Chatsworth House
Mummy getting her Level 3 certificate in Counselling
Adventures through the caves
Living in the countryside and having lovely walks

Thank you August – you have given us fabulous adventures, weather and friendships!

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
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