TOP FAMILY TRAVELLING DESTINATIONS TO VISIT WITH YOUR KIDS

30 November 2016

Written by Laura Nicholson-Simpson
www.2travellingtots.wordpress.com
for Daily Focal

As a family who loves to travel, we do so as often as we can, to as many different places as we can! We’ve had some pretty amazing trips over the yars and have even more exciting ones to come, fellow parents think we’re either amazing… or nuts!
 The one thing they all ask... ’Where should we go?’


Let us share our Top Travel Destinations with you!
From your first trip abroad with your little one to the more seasoned traveller, we hope there’s some inspiration for everyone!

SHORT HAUL

Barcelona 
Barcelona is a big favourite of ours. It’s a city bursting with history and culture, beautiful beaches, easily accessible transport links, great weather year round and the food… Omg the food! There’s a great Aquarium, plenty of kid friendly museums and the visual feast of flamenco dancers, fire breathers and mime artists that frequent Las Ramblas.
And with an average flight time of only 2 hours, it’s basically on our doorstep!
To find out more about Barcelona for families head over to Lonely Planet…https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/travel-tips-and-articles/1436
The French Alps
 There are so many towns and villages in the French Alps of the jaw hitting the floor beautiful variety that it’s very hard to choose just one. The one we have visited most however is Chamonix. 
It’s not the cheapest of places to visit but oh man is it worth it. From beautiful forest walks, hiking and some great climbing spots in the summer to a fantasy winter wonderland of deep snow, sledging and an ice cave in a glacier it’s the perfect year round destination.
You can even sign your kids up to ski school as soon as they’re old enough, leaving you time to hit the slopes yourselves, or indulge in a vin chaud!  
For more information on all things Chamonix visit: http://www.chamonix.net/

MEDIUM HAUL
                                                                                                                                                       
Egypt 
We’ve visited various different destinations throughout Egypt and have yet to be disappointed. Where you go largely depends on what you’re looking for – Sharm El Sheikh is the place for you if you like a bit more hustle and bustle the ever popular Naama Bay has a Palm tree lined promenade with everything from hand painted papyrus to a Hard Rock CafĂ©. If you are looking for a more laid back all-inclusive hotels kind of atmosphere head to the beautiful resort of Taba Heights on the Sinai Peninsula. From stunning views of Mount Sinai itself to the breath-taking underwater views of the areas dive and snorkel sights, it’s not a bad place to be! Tours can be taken from both destinations to Cairo in order to see the Pyramids and to other history soaked archaeological sites around the country.
Most hotels have kid’s clubs that provide such a range of activities for your kids that they won’t want to leave the hotel at all. The Egyptian culture is very family orientated and trust me when I say your kids will be spoilt rotten by the time they leave. 
If you need to know more, take a wander over to: http://www.egypt.travel/
Dubai 
Dubai is literally an explosion of over excitement waiting to happen. There are so many activities for families here you could be busy for a month. You could take a trip to Kite Beach and watch the kite surfers strut their stuff while the kids play on the play park or visit one of the many waterparks or aquariums. Head indoors to keep cool and visit the ice rink or Sega Republic or spend a few hours in KidZania where your little ones can decide what they want to be when they grow up through interactive play. There’s even the opportunity to get out in to the desert if you want to with many tour operators offering horse riding, camel riding and jeep safaris to name but a few!
Most hotels in Dubai are family friendly are there are good transport links including the metro – although we actually found it more cost effective to hire a car which you can do form as little as £12 a day.
If Dubai is your thing then head over here for more information: http://www.visitdubai.com/en/

LONG HAUL

America
Show me someone who doesn’t want to or hasn’t ever dreamt of an American road trip! Speeding along Route 69 in an open top Mustang with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. The land of Hope and Glory.
This vast country, and it is huge, literally has something for everyone! From the sun-soaked beaches of Miami and dizzying lights of Hollywood, to the well-trodden cowboy trials of Texas and of course the ‘big apple’ itself New York, New York.  There is so much to see and do for kids over here that it’s hard to know where to start. Beautiful walks, nature trails and adventures in the national parks like Yellowstone, cycling along Venice Beach for an ice cream and how can we not mention the theme parks. With not one but two Disney Resorts and two Universal Studio Parks you are literally spoilt for choice.
Take a look at the following link to help you decide where is best for you: https://www.takethefamily.com/destinations/north-america/usa
Thailand
Famed for its moon parties, cheap rum served by the bucket and lady boys, you’ll be amazed at what this beautiful country has to offer for families. Why not spend a fortnight in Phuket which not only has beautiful beaches crying out for a sandcastle or two but can also offer Aquariums, jungle parks, water parks, mazes, mountain bikes, horseback riding, and paddle boarding!
If a city escape is more your thing head to Chang Mai, famed for its laid back vibes and cooler than Bangkok weather it’s an enticing blend of both old and new. While there visit the Tiger Park, or Elephant sanctuary where you can be a mahout for the day. Take a bike tour around Chang Mai – suitable for all ages as they have baby and toddler seats. Go Zip lining through the rain forest or take a trek to spend the night under the stars with a local tribe. Your stay in Chang Mai can be as action packed as you want it to be and after all the fun and excitement there’s always one of the super relaxing spa’s to go and chill in.
If you can’t wait to make Thailand, your next destination check this out: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand

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What is top of your to-travel-to list?
and, would you go travelling with your kids?
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7 STRUGGLES OF MOVING OUT

29 November 2016

Written by Fran Page
for Daily Focal

So almost everyone in their lives goes through the ‘oh my goodness I’m moving out’ phase. I have recently just been through this and it’s definitely a big phase in your life, and something you should be prepared for.

I thought I would share with you a few things I found a ‘struggle’ and just general facts and tips about moving out.

Just a note: I did move out when I went to Uni in Bristol, but I came home every holiday and pretty much every other weekend so I don’t count it as properly moving out because I moved straight home afterwards and I knew I was going home eventually!

"Some people won’t even flinch about the thought of leaving home and moving out, for other’s it will be the worst thought in the world!" 
1. Being Independent 
It can come as quite a shock, the first time you are left in your new house alone or with whoever you are living with, that this is real, its happening… you are now independent. You are in charge of this house, you have to pay the bills on time, not annoy the neighbours and remember to put your bins out!

2. Being Organised
I have definitely had to try and become more organised in regards to chores, time management, food shop etc. Lets be honest, you're going to need food in your house… and this time you actually have to do the food shopping! You’re going to want a clean ish house, so you will have to do the cleaning, and you will definitely want time to see your friends and family, so making time for that is also essential. It can become quite overwhelming thinking about how much you have to do now you’ve moved out and you have a ‘home’ to run and look after. In all honesty once you get into a routine or pattern of who’s doing what and when it becomes a whole lot easier.

3. Bills
A scary thought I know.
Not so much the paying them (which is hard to) but actually setting them all up I found slightly stressful. I had no idea what tariff I should be on, how much electricity I would use… and most importantly what wifi to get…priorities. What I found super helpful was asking the previous tenant who they had all their bills with and roughly how much they paid – this way you can work out who you want to be with & what tariffs etc you should go for.

4. Furniture
Y’all gunna need something to sit on and eat from. Personally, I found asking family and friends if they had any spare furniture super handy when we moved out, as it turned out pretty much everyone we knew had enough spare furniture to fill our little house! Definitely go to your local village sales/car boots as people are always getting rid of furniture, and charity shops – they are always a good’n. As it’s your first home, unless you have the money, everything does not have to match! Mismatchiness in your first home is always expected and definitely adds to the character!

5. Who you live with
Now, I’ve put this because you could be moving in by yourself, with a partner, friends, siblings etc. It’s a true test of any relationship living with someone, you see their annoying traits, their lovely traits and their downright silly traits. After a few teething problems I think this is pretty easy to get over. If you are moving in with someone you have never met before – maybe go for drinks first to get to know each other and find out similarities, differences… that kinda thing (plus, a good excuse to visit your local pub/bar). 

6. Money
Obviously one of the biggest factors about moving out is ‘can you afford it’. Leaving your parent’s house or house you were brought up in is not cheap at all. You have to pay for most of the things mentioned above, but as long as you’re not silly with it, make sure you have money to cover all the necessities and maybe a spare bit for your savings you will be fine. 

7. Coping with being away from home / change
This is a tricky one. Some people won’t even flinch about the thought of leaving home and moving out, for other’s it will be the worst thought in the world! At the end of the day we pretty much all have to do it at some point. Change is a hard feeling for a lot of people to cope with, I am happy to admit I’m awful with change… I just like things to stay the same regardless. However, eventually you do start to realise (well I did) that this change of moving out has actually been really good for you, made you more independent, stronger and happier… hopefully.

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WHY I WATCH WRESTLING (EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT 10)

28 November 2016

Written by Mike Douglas

for Daily Focal

As you may have gathered, or even correctly guessed, I am not 10 years old. Shocker I know!
In fact I haven't been 10 for, well 20 years now. So why do I enjoy watching wrestling? 

I did watch wrestling in the late 90's when the 'Attitude Era' of the then WWF was on TV. I'd watch a review show on a weekend morning, where all the main points or 'spots' would be covered. I enjoyed the larger than life characters, the one liners, the story lines and the occasional match. For me this was around my time in secondary school and the start of my college life. I guess it's a time when you start to develop your own interests but also a time went your interests can change quickly. It did for me, as a young person the attention to wrestling is obvious. I mean the product is being marketed at me and my age group. 
Like most teens that watch my interest faded as friends, studies and life became more important and wrestling seemed more like a child's thing. 


Is watching wrestling your thing?
Over time I would catch the occasional highlight on YouTube, once the Internet was mainstream (o my gosh, feeling old). Without the web, I wouldn't have watched or been exposed to anything wrestling wise for close to 9 years. 

While in Australia I discovered The SteelCage Podcast, which I started to listen to. Hostels and travelling meant I had the time to sit and listen to people talk and I found listening to the SteelCage Team really interesting. Their passion for wrestling, their annoyance at the product. It got me interested again. It was different now though, sure the characters where still important but I found different things interesting. Now I actually cared about the wrestling, not just the 'spots', the story lines are important as before, but I remember more than 4 weeks back and so get annoyed at the lack of continuity. 
Talking to others about wrestling and listening to podcasts and YouTube channels where wrestling is discussed makes me feel like I'm part of a community. So even the things that are annoying are sometimes acceptable. I feel like I stated to watch in a different way. 

I guess I now watch in the way that many watch traditional soaps, I watch for character development, to see the story lines unfold (usually in the predictable way you expect, just like soaps), for the occasional big moment - OK there's no helicopter crashing into a pub, murder marring your mum or crazy birth scene (let's not talk about Mae Young and the hand!). But I get to see men and women perform exciting moves of agility, power, aggression and flexibility. With the added benefit of a cool storyline going on around that match up. 

This scripted fighting is no different to a soap in many ways. So why is it seen as such  a child's thing? Well, as I said the continuity is probably a big thing for regular fans, but the need for silly acts and ridiculous story lines means WWF, now WWE is often seen as 'for children'. This causes many problems for this organisation in particular because they try to be everywhere doing everything. There's former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar beating people up on the same show as pretty boy Roman Reigns and the Goldpainted Goldust.
WWE tries to be both the child's silly and wacky product as well as a brutal fighting arena adults would watch. That's a hard sell and I think why many don't understand or appreciate the product. 

That being said I enjoy it. I have even found a new wrestling product that I love in Lucha Underground. This Mexican focused TV programme has great story lines, characters and 'spots'. This product embraces its position as a TV show, it doesn't try to be real like WWE do, where you are supposed to think it's all real. Lucha Underground embraces its role as a show. Their performers are actors. This means they can do ridiculous things like have a character with a dragon face and lizard tongue.

Recently I have been pleased to see the role of women on shows like these be...elevated. There are now seen as competitors, athletes and actors. Not as eye candy or a chance to have a toilet break. In fact I write this having just seen Lucha Underground crown a women champion, not of a women's division, she is their Champion! 

Wrestling as a show will always have down sides, occasionally the bests fans will have times when they question if they still want to watch. 
The reason we watch may change, the product we watch may change. 
But I'm pleased to say I have products/programmes I enjoy watching and a big part of those are wrestling. 


We'd love to know...
What are your thoughts on wrestling?
Tell us how wrestling is for kids and why Roman sucks?
(because he does!) 
[Leave a comment] 

WHAT TO BUY THE KIDS | CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

27 November 2016

Written by Laura Nicholson-Simpson
www.2travellingtots.wordpress.com
for Daily Focal

It’s nearly that time of year again, a time filled with holiday spirit, fir trees, decorations, present shopping, a time to get totally over excited and spend far too much money on your kids… just me?
Yep, you’ve guessed it... It’s Christmas!

Now I don’t know about you but we are Big Christmas fans in our house and I’ve already bought half of my kids presents. I’m actually trying to be more sensible this year. I wonder how long it’ll last!

Here are a few of our top picks on what to treat your kids to this Christmas!
Disclaimer – All items were chosen with the help and approval of a very over excited 3 year old.
A little something for the girls:

Colour Changing Owl Umbrella - £9.95 | Wicked Uncle
Now I don’t know about you but I want one of these! Cute, fun and practical too.
Buy Here
This just sounds too delicious to pass up on. It’s a great way to get creative with a difference too!
Buy Here 
Hours of fun and creativity! What a lovely way to let your little one’s imagination run wild…
Buy Here


This looks like so much fun….I wonder if they do them in my size…
Buy Here


Newborn in the family?
If this doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will…
Buy Here


A little something for the boys:

For the green fingered little monster in your life – my monsters love to be outdoors!
Buy Here
Who doesn’t love a good Dinosaur? Let your little ones light up the night with this fab gift.
Buy Here
The names Bond….Baby Bond.
Buy Here
This nifty scooter goes up to 10mph, how cool it that?

This is definitely the cutest little Christmas outfit ever, right?
Buy Here
A little something for everyone….

How amazing is this? Not only can you personalise this to fit your child, what better way than to spend some quality time with your little cutie than cuddled up with a good book?
Buy Here
Fun and educational! Colour in the countries you’ve been to and the ones that are on your wish list!
For the gadget crazy teen in your life. These seem to be all the rave at the moment, and this is a very budget friendly option for those tricky to buy for teens. I’ve yet to try one of these but how can it not be fun?!
Buy Here
Your child’s very own pet to love and cherish… and you won’t even have to walk or feed them.
Buy Here
Have you seen the John Lewis advert? How could this not be on our list?! 
Buy Here
So there are my top recommendations for what to buy the kiddywinks this Christmas with something for everyone and all kinds of budgets!

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What's on the top of your childs Christmas list?
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DAIRY FREE ADVENT CALENDARS

26 November 2016

Written by Nafisha Atcha
for Daily Focal

As someone who has a dairy intolerance along with making the transition to veganism my mind has been opened to the vast amounts of vegan and dairy free chocolate brands there are on the high streets. With the chocolate Advent Calendar season fast approaching, I wanted to share the Advent Calenders available by some of my favourite chocolate brand. 

Check out our list of Dairy Free Advent Calendar's for you to enjoy this Christmas!

A huge favourite of mine in general, I literally squealed when I found out my favourite Chocolate Brand Montezuma had released a Vegan friendly Advent Calendar. For just £9:99 you get some of the most delicious smooth dark chocolate you could have dreamt off.
Buy Here


This year Holland & Barratts have released their own Advent Calendar which will go down a treat. The health food store was my first go to as I transitioned in to a dairy free/ vegan lifestyle so I am glad to see they have created this box of chocolate treats. 
Buy Here
I tried a Moo Free Easter Egg earlier this year and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was so I am excited to see what their advent calendar has in store. 
Buy Here
Plamil as a chocolate brand which I have come across in Holland and Barretts. I have yet to dig in to the range but this is a good option if you find dark chocolate too bitter. 
Buy Here
Or, Customise Your Own Advent Calander
Some of the best gifts are the ones that are personal to you. If you know someone who is Vegan or Dairy Free, why not gather up 24 treat sizes of their favourite treats and place them in boxes to be opened each day. Montezuma and Hotel Chocolat do a fantastic range which can help you do this. 

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Which one takes your fancy?
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FUN & CRAZY GIRLY CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

25 November 2016

Written by Lauren Francis

for Daily Focal

Christmas is the time where unique and fun gifts really do come into their own. Don’t you just love gifts that aren't boring, and seriously? Where would we be without them. Especially for those loved ones who literally have everything, and you haven’t a clue what to buy them.
So without further ado lets get wacky!

Do you love the weird, the fluffy and the wonderful? Then this is going to be your dream Christmas list.
For the unicorn lovers out there this is a must have!
Not only is it super cute, it is oh so soft and suitable for the youngsters as well as us grown-up folk. Yes, I am biased because I own it and I love it.
Unicorn Hot Water Bottle - £5.00 | Primark | Buy Here
Ever since The Little Mermaid we have dreamed of the mermaid way.
Well prayers have been answered with this Mermaid Tail Blanket from New Look, and it will keep you nice and toasty too!
Bright Pink Mermaid Tail Blanket - £27.99 | New Look | Buy Here
Keep your jewels and trinkets safe in this sweet and stylish pineapple pot.
Gold and pineapple shaped, what's cooler than that?
Pineapple Trinket Pot - £24.00 | JOY | Buy Here
Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons with these amazing 3D slippers that will take right back to your childhood with this crazy fun design.
Flamingo Princess Slippers - £16.00 | ASOS | Buy Here
Dorothy has got nothing on these red glitter shoes.
Channel your inner Dorothy or Alice in Wonderland in these kitch pumps.
Pink Glitter Bunny Ear Loafers - £255.00 | ASOS | Buy Here
Fact:
Chocolate and Christmas go hand in hand.
Handmade and turning this superfood into something I want to eat, someone pass me this avo.
Chocolate Avocado - £12.00 | Not on the High Street | Buy Here
Why were pencil cases not this cool when we were younger?
You'll stationery addict friends would love this little cutie.
Skinnydip Cactus Pencil Case - £14.00 | Urban Outfitters | Buy Here
A sure way to get the party started. Make those Christmas photos memorable with this pack of wacky affordable props.
Photo Booth Kit - £8.00 | M&S | Buy Here
We may not have a giraffe emoji, why I don't know but we can snuggle up in this super soft fleecy number. Go on, embrace the onesie. 
Giraffe Onesie - £45.00 | Boux Avenue | Buy Here
Googley eyes plus cactus makes for one fun phone cover.
How totally cute is this?
Cactus Print Phone Case - £8.99 | Etsy | Buy Here
Remember those gel pens? Lets face it they are what got us through the school day weren't they.
Well now make your colouring books smell equally as edible with these fruity pencils.
Sketch & Sniff Pencils - £5.00 | Urban Outfitters | Buy Here
Instantly perk up your room, garden, kitchen, really anywhere in the house with these flamingo string lights.
Flamingo Sting Lights - £9.95 | PrezzyBox.com | Buy Here
Dreams do come true, now you can be a unicorn too, even if it is just in the shower.
Unicorn Shower Cap - £3.99 | Flamingo Gifts | Buy Here

A pineapple light is literally the top of my wish list, I cannot even pinpoint why I love them so much other than it makes me smile just looking at them.
Pineapple Table Lamp - £20.00 | George at ASDA | Buy Here
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
If you love quirky accessories and a cheeky shot, then this is the bag for you!
Tequila Cross Body Bag - £30.00 | Skinnydip | Buy Here
I am literally obsessed with this turkey tea cosy.
He is the perfect festive table friend, how cute?
Turkey Teacosy - £24.00 | Cath Kidston | Buy Here
They're out top gifts for the fun loving wacky gal in your life!

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Which one of these would you like to pull out of your stocking this Christmas?
[Leave a comment]

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