Venues! Everything You Should Know When Choosing and Booking


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When you start planning a wedding there are so many different things to organise that it can become easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. Don’t worry, it’s completely natural. Many people believe that it may be a good idea to ease into preparations by sorting out the small details. These are often fun and quaint, for example, wedding favours and table arrangements. But instead of focusing early efforts on the little details, you should get the big things out of the way first. Perhaps the most important part of your organising process? Booking a venue. After all, without a venue, you will have nowhere to say your vows and celebrate. So, here’s a quick run through of everything you need to know about choosing and booking the perfect venue for your big day.


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Have an Idea of Your Ideal Venue

There are so many different places that you can get married that you’re not going to have time to look at them all. So have a vague idea of the type of venue that you prefer. Some people will opt for their local church. Others would like a traditional country manor, like Clevedon Hall. You might be interested in something a little more quirky, like a small scale cinema or an event in a forest. Whatever your interests, there will be something out there to suit you perfectly.

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Start Looking Early

Even if you’re planning on having a long engagement, it’s essential that you start scouting out places well in advance of the date. Why? Popular wedding venues tend to have huge waiting lists, often being fully booked up for months in advance. Start your search online or by flicking through glossy wedding magazines. Try not to set your heart on a specific place from the start, as it may not be available or able to accommodate your wedding party. You want all of your loved ones to be there, so it’s not worth cutting attendee numbers just for the sake of a particular venue. Remember, the presence of people is much more important than the quality of the pictures that you will take away from the ceremony. Choose a few different venues, so that you can always fall back on a different one if your favourite isn’t quite right.

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Book Viewings

As we are all well aware in the modern world, pictures can be altered and edited to make the subject look a lot more attractive than it might be in real life. So, to save disappointment on your big day, make sure that you book a tour of the wedding venue that you have in mind. Seeing the location in real life could confirm your wishes to get married there, or it could make you realise that this is definitely not the place that you thought it was. If possible, request to be shown around by someone. They will be able to show you all areas of the building and its grounds and may even have little bits of historical information that add to the atmosphere of the place.

When you’ve viewed a place and you’re absolutely certain that this is the venue of your dreams, place your deposit! This will secure the space and allow you to move onto organising other aspects of the event.


Keeping Children Happy When Travelling

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Travelling can be stressful at the best of the times but if you are taking your whole family along for the ride too, it can get even more stressful. It is so important to keep your children happy when travelling otherwise it can ruin the whole journey!

We haven’t yet travelled abroad with Olivia – the furthest we’ve got is Great Yarmouth! – but we have with Jack – to Italy in 2012. But you can travel both abroad and within the country, can’t you? Holiday Gems have asked me to share my top travel tips when travelling with children.

Pack A Bag Full Of Interesting Things

Books, card games, iPad. Whatever you know will keep your children happy, pack it. Jack was just a baby when we went to Rome so slept most of the travel time but on our long car journeys, it is very easy for him to get bored. We always ensure we have the iPad with us so he can watch movies or play games and we also pack some books, toys and card games so he can keep himself amused in the back with his sister and whoever else happens to be travelling with us (usually my mum).

Bring Some Snacks

Children are always hungry (well, they say they are) so it is important to make sure you have some snacks packed for your journey. Fruit, crisps, cooked meat – these are all perfect to put in your handbag and pull out when the inevitable ‘I’m hungry’ whine permeates your eardrums.

Think Ahead

If travelling abroad, make sure you think ahead – book seats together, check flight check in times and things you can do whilst waiting for your flight. The last thing you want is a bored child complaining before you have even got on the plane.

Consider Them

The final tip I have is to consider them – consider them in ALL aspects of your holiday. Make sure the place where you are going is somewhere they will be happy, consider their thoughts and feelings during the actual travelling process and make sure they are kept occupied and not bored.

These are my top travelling tips – what are yours? Have you checked out the top tips for flying with children on the Holiday Gems website?

Now we all love travelling and now you’ve got a chance to win a Trunki travel pillow. Just fill in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is UK only and ends at 23.59pm on the 28th of September 2017. Good luck.

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The Supermum Myth | Book Review

We were sent a copy of The Supermum Myth for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Have you ever felt as a mum that you aren’t good enough? Do you strive to be a supermum and often feel that you are falling short? Anya Hayes and Dr Rachel Andrew, the authors of this book, wants us to have more confidence in our parenting. #

I know I have struggled with confidence since having my children. I started to regain some confidence after having Jack but then got pregnant with Olivia, put loads of weight on and lost confidence in myself – and my parenting skills.

I want to dwell on the good stuff rather than the bad and make happy memories without feeling rubbish about myself. This book serves to help us parents using CBT, mindfulness and other established therapies to help us rebuild our confidence. This book helps walk you through your parenting, giving you solutions to any problems you may have.

With this in mind, I took my time reading through the book, taking on board what the authors had to say. I am the queen of negative thinking so needed something that could help me become a little more positive in my thoughts. Every mother thinks they need to be supermum – perfect with endless patience but that isn’t the case at all – it is a complete and utter myth. We are acing it in our own way – but we do become slightly frazzled along the way and may rely on freezer food a little more often than we care to admit.

This is such a handy resource for me to have when I am feeling a little down about myself as a person and as a mother. I simply need to take notice of the different techniques given and I am able to feel a little bit better about myself. This is a great book to help us parents when we are struggling to keep our confidence – it happens to us all and we get caught up with the whole ‘Keeping Up With The Jones’ thing – thinking we need to be perfect constantly. This isn’t the case – we should just be who we are and keep ourselves positive.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who sometimes struggles with their confidence – you can pick up a copy from Amazon here on Kindle and in paperback {affiliate link}. I’m going to be keeping this to hand for whenever I feel my confidence start to dip.

How to Quickly Bridge Any Gaps in Your Finances

None of us can predict the future and it is nigh on impossible to predict when some seismic event beyond our control will completely turn our world upside down. It is not uncommon in such scenarios for us to find ourselves with gaps in our finances.

Oftentimes, a small burst of cash is all we need to see ourselves through a particularly difficult period. Whether you find yourself in need of cash to cover your personal debts or to get a business off the ground, when it comes to finding a reliable way of obtaining a modest amount of money, options are limited.

For those seeking big loans, it’s as easy as walking into a bank with a proposal. For many of us, however, those of us who don’t require such large advances of cash, there are fewer options. There are still some providers of the kind of short-term, cash loan that we need, as well as a number of ways we can raise some or all of the money by ourselves.

Easy Savings

For those who don’t need the money right this second but who are simply looking for ways to make some very rapid savings, there are numerous options open to you. Saving money is mostly a matter of common sense and planning. People who seem to have an unnatural gift for managing money are usually those that like to keep their lives organised to what many of us would consider an excessive degree anyway. It is demonstrably true, however, that better organisational skills lead to more refined decision making, and in the case of managing one’s personal finances, there really is no such thing as too much management.

Simple things, both at home and at work, are often the biggest money savers. Lots of small savings will quickly add up, meaning that one only needs to take a multitude of small, easy steps rather than radically readjusting their lifestyle for the sake of their finances. One of the most prominent examples of this is electronic devices.

We often stop thinking entirely about the fact that electronic devices cost money to run. A games console or television, even a light or a ceiling fan, that are left on when not in use are costing you money! You can invest in a remote-control plug that will allow you to switch everything off at the wall with the press of a button; this is perfect for ensuring that all electronic devices are switched off when they are not needed.

Another easy way to help you save and manage your money is to use an app that tracks your expenditure. You can find a few suitable options here.

Sell Unused Items

Many of us are sitting on absolute treasure troves without ever realising it. Do you have a cupboard overstuffed with DVDs that you haven’t watched in as long as you can remember? If so, it might be time to box it all up and sell it on. Again, you are unlikely to get much money for any individual DVD as they are incredibly cheap and common, but if you have a large collection, those pennies can add up. The money you make won’t be life changing, but it can go some way to helping you clear any current debts and begin to pay off any outstanding balances.

Short Term Loans

Short term loans are for smaller amounts of money than the type of loan normally given out by a bank or similar institution. Short term loans are usually for amounts between £1,000 and £5,000 and are given for only a short term, usually a matter of months rather than years. The advantage of such a loan is that it is almost instantaneous, meaning the money is available virtually straight away.

Before committing to any kind of loan it is important to have a good understanding of one’s own finances. Establish exactly what your regular income and outgoings are and use a loan calculator to work out how much you can afford to borrow and repay each month. An easy-to-use loan calculator that you can try out can be found at:

By not using a loan calculator you increase the chance of errors being made in your calculations and when it comes to your finances you want to be certain about any steps you take. As such you should check, double check, and triple check, everything to be certain that you can afford to take any steps that you are considering.

Needless to say, loans eventually need to be paid back and while one might expect short term loans to be seen as safer bets than big loans by lenders, the interest rates charged do not always reflect this. Be certain that the terms of any loan you take out are ones that you won’t have any trouble sticking to, as problems repaying a loan can snowball and create a more serious situation. A loan calculator is a good way of minimising the chances of this happening.

When looking to bridge any gaps in your finances, there are a number of options open to you, depending on how much money you need and how quickly you need it. Never take on more debt than you are sure you can repay.


The Birthday Thief | A Book Review

We were sent a copy of The Birthday Thief for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

We have previously reviewed the The Kingdom Of You and Lost My Name books from the team at Wonderbly and we were recently asked to review their latest offering, The Birthday Thief. This is the latest release and yet again can be personalised to suit the person you are buying it for.  Wonderbly used to be known as Lost My Name but with the extension of their products has come the extension of their brand and so a new name was needed – and I think it is great, don’t you? They have even got an exciting collaboration going on with the Roald Dahl estate this September where you can get a My Golden Ticket book – I’ll definitely have to pick one up for Jack.

The Birthday Thief is a personalised story that changes based on the birth date of the child it belongs to. When their birthday is stolen, our protagonist follows a mysterious trail to find it. This is a book designed for a child’s birthday that will show them how special they really are, on this day and beyond.

As always, I was given a code to order my book so I could personalise it perfectly to suit Jack. You simply start by adding their name and whether they are a boy or girl (choosing a illustration that best suits the person you are buying for) and click preview. You then add in their birth date and Wonderbly do the rest – you can even add in a personalised note at the beginning! So what did we think of our book?

As always, the illustrations are fantastic – really helping to tell the story. As the title probably suggests, the story tells of a birthday thief who steals all of Jack’s birthday away. Cake, candles, presents, everything is gone – and Jack has to go searching for the thief to get it all back.

The story is very twisty and turny; you never quite know if Jack will manage to get his birthday back on track – but he does and he teaches the thief a valuable lesson too. Jack, as always, has loved this book as he has all previous Wonderbly books and can’t wait to see the books they have to offer in the future.

If you want to grab a personalised copy of The Birthday Thief for just £16.99, all you need to do is head over to Wonderbly here and put the required details in. It is perfect for a gift; it shows a lot of thought has been put into it and will be a unique gift that they won’t receive off of anyone else.

Have you ever read any of the other Wonderbly titles?