Category Archives: Travel and Vacationing

Planning Ahead for Vacations with Children 

Going on a vacation can be a relaxing and fulfilling experience if everything is properly planned and accounted for. Adversely, without the right preparation and resources, you could find yourself having a lot less fun than you might have expected. This is especially true when you’re bringing along the little ones. As we all know, children can be unpredictable at times (more often than not in fact), so planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your trip without getting lost between tantrums and “I want this and that” urges. With that said, here are three tips you can use to plan a family vacation in advance:

1. Packing the Necessities

If you’re bringing the kids along, whether it be on a hike or a trip to the amusement park, it’s always best to have certain packing list necessities at hand, such as a first aid kit, handy snacks, a few changes of clothes, and accessories like hair brushes, sunglasses, and sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to give each of your kids a cell phone with geo-location features enabled, so you can easily communicate with and locate them in any setting; this is especially helpful for older kids who like to see some of the sights on their own.

2. Scheduling the Fun and Following Through

Most vacations only last between a few days to a month at the most, so you really should be scheduling the sightseeing in advance if you plan to get the most of your time. Children make it hard to stick to any kind of schedule, especially in new and exciting places, so make sure you educate the kids about the thing they’ll be doing for fun when they arrive at the destination. For example, you could hype up the greatness of the local water park you’re going to see. Adhering to a simple schedule and giving the kids events to look forward to will ensure that you don’t have as many unnecessary distractions.

3. Finding a Church in the Area

If you expect your trip to last longer than a few days, or if you’ll be on vacation on days when church is normally observed in your family, don’t be afraid to check out some of the local churches in the town you’re visiting. Staying true to your family values and religious traditions and connecting with local churchgoers while on vacation is a good way to strengthen the family bond and increase the memorability and meaningfulness of the trip overall. Some people shy away from visiting cathedrals and similar orthodox structures due to the negative misconceptions about Catholicism, but in turn they’re losing the opportunity to discover an interesting piece of the place’s cultural history.

One of the best ways to keep children engaged and also help them become more cultured young adults is to emphasize the importance of learning throughout the vacation. There has to be a balance between having carefree fun and actually gaining some insight from the visit.

A Mom’s Guide To Making Vacation Packing Easier

It might be winter, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a vacation. Whether you are toying with the idea of jetting off for some winter sun or hitting the ski slopes, one thing might be putting you off, and that’s packing. Packing for yourself is stressful enough, let alone when you have little ones to pack for as well.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love traveling with my family, but when it comes to packing, I often struggle. It’s not a case of just popping a few bits and bobs in a suitcase, oh no, when you have kids there is so much more to it than that. Luckily, while packing for family trips can be stressful, you can make the process easier for yourself.

trunkiImage source

Start by writing a list

For each family member who you are packing for, start off by writing a list of all the items that you need to pack. This should include everything from underwear and shoes to hair brushes and toiletries. Take your time making the list to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Once you’ve got a list for each child, you can then use it to locate every item that you need to pack. Don’t leave it until a couple of days before the trip to start your packing because the chances are that you’ll have some washing to do.

Focus on clothing first

Once you have the list of items that need packing, the first step is focusing on the clothing side of things. Get all the items together so that you can check what needs washing, and get organized. Aim to get all clothes washed, dry, and packed, at least five days before you are due to travel, to prevent anything from being forgotten.

While most items you can clean yourself, you may have some bits and bobs that require hand or dry cleaning. To make getting these garments cleaned a little easier, hire a dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. By hiring a company to deal with your dry cleaning needs for you, you won’t have to stress about it. You simply have to be in for collection and drop off, and that’s it.

Lay out everything that needs to be packed

Once all clothing is clean and dry, the next step is to lay out everything that needs to be packed. By laying everything out, you can see exactly, what needs to go in each suitcase, and can work out a way to make it all fit.

For many of us, the number one worry when traveling via plane is that our cases will be over the weight limit. To reduce your stress, weigh each case before you go, to ensure that none of them are over the limit. (You’ll feel much less stressed out if you know that your cases won’t incur you extra charges.)

Packing for a family trip may be stressful, but don’t let it stop you from being excited. Follow the tips above to make packing easier, and you can ensure that your packing, as well as your trip, goes to plan.

How to Get Adventurous with Your Family

My family and I love planning all of the adventures we can have. However, we are at risk of staying indoors all day long due to the dreary winter and cold spring. But there is always plenty to do in and out of the house throughout the winter and well into the spring. Here are a few of my suggestions for things you can do as a family.


Ok, so it is a lot harder to get adventurous in the winter months if you hate the wet weather. However, you can still have indoor adventures…


If you live near a big town or city, you will find at least one museum, if not more. Find out if your local museums are child-friendly and take the whole family out for a day of education. They will be having so much fun, they won’t even notice that they are learning!


So spending your time in the library doesn’t sound like a big adventure, but hear me out. Firstly, it is great way to spend a wet day, if the weather isn’t fantastic. Secondly, it teaches your kids about responsibility – returning books on time takes good planning. And thirdly, many people would argue that reading is an adventure. You can lose yourself in a book and be transported to different worlds. Getting your kids interested in reading at a young age is great for them.


Spring Family Travel
Image by Pixabay


In my mind, the work hiking always conjures up images of scaling a mountain with ropes and pick axes. That doesn’t sound like much fun with a family! However, in reality, hiking is whatever you want it to be as long as you are walking somewhere. If you live in the countryside, you will be lucky enough to probably have some great walking paths around you. If you live in a town however, you may have to look a bit harder, or travel a bit further. Find your hiking spot and made sure that it is appropriate for your children. Kit yourself out with sturdy shoes and lots of water and you will be ready to go. You can make it fun for the kids too by putting them in charge of navigation or spotting wildlife as you walk.

Theme Parks

My family and I love theme park adventures. It is a whole day out filled with fun and excitement. I recommend taking your family to a theme park in the spring. That is the best time for it. It isn’t as busy as the summer when all the kids are on their school holidays. Most theme parks have a good mix of rides for younger and older kids. Therefore, no matter what ages your children are, you should be able to find something everyone will enjoy.  

Get sporty

Signing your kids up to a sports team can be a great way to help them find their competitive side. On top of this, it will also get them fit and active, whilst allowing them to stay social. There are so many sports for children to play, try to find one that suits their personalities. Listen to your child’s suggestions and see what preferences, if any, they have.


With one kid on the hand and luggage on the other, you can surely miss something before a big trip. It can be some small and insignificant things, but it can turn out to be quite important as soon as you begin your trip. To help you out here, bellow you will see a short list of most important stuff you just can’t miss. I really hope it will help you to remember everything and have a pleasant journey with your little ones. Have a great time!

Take your kids to the beach

First aid kit

For some, it might look like a thing which is not so necessary. But in fact, first aid kit is essential during your trips! You will never know when you or your kids can get sick and it might be really hard to find proper medications abroad. So before any trip, pack your own personal first aid kit and pack it firstly. You may won’t use it at all, but it can also be a pretty handy sometimes as well.

Stuff kids can do during the trip

Bored children are the worst thing that can happen to everyone. And not only you! For other people as well. Especially if you are traveling by plane or another kind of public transport. So to keep your kids busy, prepare some activities your kids can do while traveling. It can be everything they love and you can imagine. Books, DVD’s, MP3 players or even table games can work perfectly to keep children happy and busy. Also, don’t forget to pack headphones, so while kids watching movies won’t irritate others around them.

Ear plugs

Ear plugs are probably the best invention for all travelers and especially the ones with kids! It can help everyone in the family relax and just take a rest. Pack a pair of two of it for every member of your gang and definitely don’t forget your children! Ear plugs can help them get through long flights or other noisy environments. Especially if it is their nap time coming. So some ear plugs won’t take too much space in your bag and it really works magically.

Hand sanitizer

If you are really going for a long trip, there might not always be places where kids can wash their hands before meals. And so here comes hand sanitizer! It will kill all microbes instantly and let children enjoy healthy meals without a problem. And it won’t take space in your bag either.


Forget about taking pictures with your smartphones! Cameras are the ones which should do that for you, not your iPhones! A great camera can capture the most beautiful moments perfectly good and it would be a pleasure to watch it after the trip as well. You can also pack some Polaroid for kids to make them contribute taking pictures too. It can be quite a fun way to occupy kids and it will be a lot of fun to go through pictures afterward.

Final word

Since now you have a list of the stuff you just can’t forget, I can recommend you to check these coupons I got at It will let you, as well as your little bunches of joy travel everywhere in the world a lot cheaper and stay there a lot cheaper too. So use this amazing opportunity and gift your kids the best gift ever – the whole wide world.


Le Méridien Chicago Neiman Marcus Shopping Package

The Le Meridien Chicago- Oakbrook Center has partnered with Neiman Marcus to offer an exclusive Neiman Marcus Shopping Package.   This exclusive package is prices at just $1059 and encompasses all things luxury!

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With this package you will receive a one-night stay in one of the Le Méridien‘s chic rooms, private access to the Executive Club and Club Lounge, a $1000 Neiman Marcus Gift Card, and you will also enjoy a personalized experience with a stylist and Beauty Insider.

With the access to Executive Club and Club Lounge, you will receive a free breakfast and access to the snack bar.  So if you are hungry at night, you can stop up for a refreshing beverage or snack.  There is also a very nice lounge to work in if you want to get some work done, but don’t want to stay in your hotel room.

Neiman Marcus Store

Oh- but the fun and luxury doesn’t stop there!  You will be hungry from all the shopping, so you can stop in to the her NM Cafe for lunch for two.

NM Cafe

I had the opportunity to stay at the Le Méridien.  It is VERY luxurious and I only hope I have the opportunity to stay again and enjoy another fabulous day.  You can read about my experience, complete with a review of the Le Méridien hotel here.

Disclosure:  I had to opportunity to stay at Le Meridien and enjoy some of the services mentioned.  All opinions are my own, honest opinions.  This is not a paid post.  

Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center is a great place to stay and shop

I had the pleasure of staying at the Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center when my family made a trip over to Chicago last month.  This was a great place for us to stay, relax, and shop before our big day in Chicago.

Le Méridien is right off the main highway, very easy to get to and about 20-30 minutes outside Chicago, so close enough that we took a cab and far enough that we weren’t in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

NM CafeThe day we got there we had a luxurious lunch at NM Cafe.  If there is one thing I could get used to- that is delicious food and elegant taste.  Everything down to the presentation is perfect and the service was exceptional.  My favorite thing was the bread and strawberry butter, I was a little apprehensive about it, but it was delicious.  Colton said his peanut butter and jelly was the best peanut butter and jelly he ever ate.


After the delicious lunch, I had a beauty consultation with Make Up Artist Ashley from Kevyn Aucoin.  Ashley is a true artist and the Kevyn Aucoin makeup helped this tired mom feel human again.  I think this was my favorite part of the whole trip.  To have just a half hour to focus on me and after Ashley was done, I felt like a million dollars.  The Kevyn Aucoin make up made my skin feel absolutely amazing too.  A little skin care goes a long way!



And I am sure you want to see my after photo, right :-)
Kevyn Aucoin

The Le Méridien room was a luxurious place to call home for the night.  When you walk in, it is beautiful, tastefully decorated, and very modern.  Since I stay in hotels a lot, the comfort of the bed is really important for me and I can give the Le Méridien a 10 out of 10 for comfort of the bed.  There is a firm pillow and a soft pillow for each person and when we got back after the big day in Chicago, I slept very well!

Le Meridian

At the Le Méridien Oakbrook there is also a spa and many other amenities.  If you are club level you have access to a free breakfast and a snack and beverage lounge.  The snack and beverage lounge was really nice, especially since we were traveling with kids, we stopped and got drinks and apples so that was a really nice thing for us.

I would love to go back to the Le Méridien to spend a day there, no kids, by myself to enjoy the spa and do some shopping at the mall that is right behind the hotel.

Disclosure: I stayed one night complimentary at the Le Méridien.  All opinions are my own, honest opinions.  This is not a paid post.  


Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic Review

“I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities.”
This week I had the opportunity to head over to Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt! It was an amazing show and i am so excited to share some of the new things that are offered with this year’s show. The show definitely had some new additions as well as a few of the timeless favorites.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic Review
At the beginning of the show be ready to get up and get active with a little bit of dancing. Because the show is presented by Sontyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt there is a short intro about being the healthiest you that you can be. What better way to exercise than with a fun dance number introduced by Mickey and Minnie? I watched as many kids stood up and had a blast dancing before the show.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic Review Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic Review
If you love Princesses you will not be disappointed. In the show we get to spend a few minutes with each princess remembering all the wonderful things that brought her to her prince.
Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic ReviewI bet you can guess which princess and queen steal the show though. That’s right. You will get a wonderful part of the show where Anna and Else relive their wonderful story. I was so happy to see Olaf and celebrate summer with him one more time. Don’t be surprised when the famous song, “Let it go” comes on. Just do like the kids sitting next to me did, and sing along.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic ReviewBecause we are celebrating 100 years of magic we get to see some of our Disney friends who don’t typically visit the show. Be ready to grab shell because the one and only Crush makes his way on to the ice to help Marlin find Nemo. This part of the show was so much fun and I really loved seeing Squirt show off some of his best moves on the E.A.C. with all of his friends.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic ReviewDon’t expect it be just skaters on the ice. What would Mulan be without a larger than life Mushu on the stage Pumba even makes his way on to the ice as well as one of our favorite space rangers and his cowboy pal.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic ReviewDisney on Ice still keeps to some of the amazing tricks we have come to love. With moves like the one pictured above your children and sure to be wowed and amazed.

Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic ReviewIf you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you are missing out. Find a Disney on Ice show near you and enjoy  years of Disney magic.





Top Tips For Keeping The Kids Happy While On The Move

We all need a holiday during the summer just to take the edge off everyday life. Home can begin to get the better of us and start to become suffocating if we let it, so a holiday is a perfect antidote. Sun, sea and a couple of cocktails on the beach sounds like my idea of paradise! What isn’t paradise is trying to keep the kids happy while we are on the move. In fact, that is the part of vacationing that I hate because it can be incredibly difficult. Luckily, I’ve found a few tricks in my time that make it that little bit easier, and I’m going to share them with you.

Family on Planesource

Book Sensibly
Keep the children in mind when you are booking your holiday. Not that you are not thinking about your kids all of the time, but sometimes we get excited and make impulse buys. The biggest factor you need to consider is traveling time. Taking them to Disney Land will be the perfect experience for all the family, but can they handle the travel time? Driving or flying for hours on end are not easy for young kids.

Don’t Let Them Get Bored
Even though you want them to be quiet, that is not a good sign. It is like the quiet before the storm! Silence is a good indicator of boredom, and as soon as they are bored you will know about it. Soon, the silence will be replaced with moaning, whingeing and a lot of whining. Kids are easily amused, and it doesn’t take much to keep them ticking over. I always carry a pack of their favourite playing cards and travel board games in my purse and let them go crazy. I cannot tell you how many times a Pokémon card has saved my life!

Comfort is a big part of travelling. You know yourself that the more comfortable you are, the better the flight or the drive or whatever mode of transport you use. Kids are no different. I like to keep a travel pillow and a blanket handy at all times just in case they do nod off, which isn’t likely! Also, try and regulate the temperature and keep the air con high if the sun is cracking the flags outside. Finally, take regular breaks. Kids are not able to deal with long journeys like we are, so a break is a great way to keep them refreshed.

Hope They Sleep!
With any luck, they will get their head down, and they will get some sleep. Sleep is the best way to make the journey go quicker. Once you close your eyes, you could wake up hours later and nearly be at your destination. Kids are not good at sleeping while travelling and they need to learn. If they do manage to fall asleep, however, do your best not to wake them!

Once you get to your destination, you can start to relax and have a great time with the family. Until that time, though, your job doesn’t stop!

Going On Holiday? Here’s How I Keep My Little Man Safe Abroad


I love my little man like mad, but sometimes we both need a break! There is nothing like getting away for a bit of sun, sea and relaxation for a week or two. But, with children you always have to keep their safety in mind. It is difficult enough to keep them safe at home, never mind abroad with an array of foreign issues. These are a few of the things I like to consider to keep everyone safe while we are on holiday.

Location, location, location. The location is incredibly important for many reasons, none more so than your health and safety. If you and your family are in a family environment, the chances of problems occurring are much lower.

Never Let Them Leave Your Sight
I don’t want to be one of those pushy mums, but I won’t apologise for keeping my son close. He is only little after all, and he cannot be expected to look after himself. Even if he goes to the toilet, I always like to keep an eye on him and watch out for him coming back. Giving children independence is important, but when you are away from home you cannot take any risks. Just one lapse of concentration could be disastrous.

Give Them Information
If children do get lost, they need the information to find you again. Make sure they know the name of the accommodation where you are staying and the name of the town. Any other info could help reunite you and your child. Also let them know who to trust if they do get lost. For example, if they see a police officer, ask them for help.

Or, you can put a band on their arm that has all the information written down, so they don’t have to remember.

Get Vaccinated
If you holiday in exotic climates, there are plenty of diseases to be aware of that can be fatal. After you research the area, take the relevant steps to secure your safety. That means getting the right vaccinations. Some won’t be necessary because the disease might not exist, but there are some generic ones that are all over the world. For example, malaria exists in any place where it is hot and damp, so visit your nearest London Travel Clinic for medication.

Invest In Insurance
The odds that something goes wrong are in your favour, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. If you or your family need to seek emergency help, travel insurance is a lifesaver. Most countries will make you pay for medical assistance, and the cost can be huge. The insurance company will pay out if that ever happens so you won’t get stuck in a foreign country with massive medical bills.

Secure Your Accommodation
Lock all the doors and windows at night and during the day if you are sleeping or relaxing. You cannot watch them all the time, but you can do your best to make sure they are safe.

Travelling with kids can be stressful. But, with these tips, there is a lot less stress and a lot more enjoyment, and that’s exactly how a holiday should be.

Things To Consider When Buying A Summer Home

If you are getting tired of the stress of planning a holiday each year, you may be looking for a more permanent solution. I have been thinking about this problem recently and decided to look in purchasing a summer home in a desirable area. It definitely has the advantage of feeling at home even when you are away. Unlike a hotel, you can make a house you own in another country feel like home. But there is a lot to think about, and here are some of the things I have been taking into consideration.

Summer Home
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Location, Location, Location
If you are looking to buy a house to spend the summer in, you probably want to buy it in a place that is hot and tropical. But you also may need to think about a location your kids will enjoy exploring. Orlando is a popular choice for parents who are thinking about buying a second home in America. You should pick a place that you would want to go every year or perhaps just every other year. It should be your dream holiday location because this is going to be a big expense, and you want it to be worth it.

A Desirable Spot
You must remember that although you are buying this home for you, you may also rent it out. This is a good way to pay for the home when you are not using it. But, this will only work if the house is desirable, not just to you but a stranger. For instance, if you are buying a second home in Orlando, Florida you want it to be a reasonable driving distance away from Disney World. You should also think about looking for a place with HOA management. An HOA management company such as Cedar Management look after the street or community where your summer home resides. You will have to pay a little more each month towards the upkeep, but it will make the property more desirable to renters.

Can You Afford It?
This brings me to the next important question that I had to ask myself. Can I afford a second home? You will have to ask yourself the same question. You may be able to pay the price to acquire the home, but you have to take other issues into consideration. The house will need upkeep, and we have already mentioned one possible additional cost. You have to consider the fact the house may eventually need a big repair job. If you do not have the money in your budget for these unpredictable emergencies, you should not buy a second home.

But, as already mentioned, you can pay a lot of the bills for your home by renting it out. You should not expect to make a profit, but you can break even by doing this. That means the home will not be taking a chunk out of your original income.

One final tip I would suggest is to research thoroughly and find the dream summer house that will fit you and your family. Good luck.