Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ambling into Autumn- Powis Castle

I would always describe myself as a Summer baby, 100%, but seeing as the Summer is usually a wash out in the UK (excuse the pun) I'm starting to love the Autumn much more. You know where you are with Autumn, you can get your knits out but it's still warm enough to go for a walk through the crunchy leaves, spotting the beautiful Autumn colours. There's usually the promise of a warming roast once a week and I always get a hankering for some crumble or sticky toffee pudding. Not to mention the build up to Christmas. Yes I think Autumn is my favourite.

It's no secret that I love the National Trust. As a teen I believed that it was solely for pensioners and anorak wearers. I failed to see the joy in visiting a Trust site. How wrong I was, I now love nothing better than pulling on my anorak (yes I have one now) and trudging off to one of our nearby National Trust sites. I'm a self confessed history geek and love nothing more than a cream tea so combine the two together and I'm in heaven.

Powis Castle has been on my must visit list for a while now and seeing as the weather has been beautiful this week I decided that today would be the day. Ava and I invited along my auntie who is a fellow National Trust appreciator (& one of my most favourite people).

We honestly could not have chosen a better day, the weather was just perfect.

Taking photographs inside the castle is not permitted so you'll just have to imagine the dark oak panelled rooms, huge oil paintings, four poster beds and taxidermy. It was like another world.

The gardens were, as always, my favourite part. They're always so vast and manicured. I can imagine it would have been wonderful as a child living there, a huge playground just for you, with secret passage ways and hidey holes at every turn.

We found a secluded area with amazing deckchairs and a fountain that Ava was obsessed with. A few people had bought picnics which we thought was a great idea.

We stopped for an obligatory cream tea too!

We're heading back during half term week for the pumpkin trail! I can't wait to go back already.

Do you have any National Trust sites near you?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

How to get your blogging mojo back

I have been blogging for around 3 years now and during that period I have stopped and started more times than a rusty old car. Truth is, life just gets in the way sometimes. I'm also terrible for looking at other people's content and thinking "urghh my blog is nowhere near as good as theirs" or "what I have to say won't be of interest to anyone". I'm slowly learning that comparing my blog to others will get me nowhere and to instead draw inspiration from them instead of picking out comparisons

I'm slowly trying to get back into the swing of things and have come up with some tips to try and get my passion for blogging back up and running. It can be really hard trying to get that love for blogging (and everything that goes with it) back after a break but I hope the tips below will help you a little. I'd also love to know if you have any tips of your own for getting over a "blogger's block".

Find inspiration from other bloggers:

 Having a break from blogging is the perfect opportunity to discover new blogs and gain some inspiration. What are other people blogging about? Could it be something that you've experienced yourself? There are so many wonderful blogs around, some of them may give you a new way of thinking (and blogging)!

Join some linkys:

Linkys are a brilliant way to not only discover some great blogs but also to promote your own. They're fab if you don't know what to blog about as they all happen on set days and follow themes. I must admit I'm pretty useless at this (something that I always pledge to get better at) but some of my favourites are:

Little Loves
Ordinary Moments
Share with me
Me & Mine
Wicked Wednesdays

Build relationships:

And that goes for bloggers and PRs alike. During my blogging break I've taken some time to work on my media kit and have been building my relationships with PRs. Twitter is also a brilliant place to do both of these. I've met some great people through blogging and it's mostly been down to twitter! I find Instagram a great place to build relationships too as it's all very visual and it's easy to connect with others. Increase your followers by finding users who posts similar things to yourself and use hashtags!

Work on other aspects of your blog:

Instagram is my favourite social media platform, you can find me here, and I've managed to increase my followers during my break from blogging. If you can't find the inspiration to write on your blog focus on another side of it. Media kit, social media platforms, YouTube videos, even a blog makeover could give you the boost you need to get back into it.

Plan a day out, and take your camera:

 If I'm ever really stuck I'll take Ava for a day out and snap away some pictures. Even if you don't have a post in mind it's always handy to have stock photographs for any generic blog posts you may want to write. I love going to the National Trust sites as they have some gorgeous backdrops for photographs.

Write about something different:

Sometimes exploring a different avenue can lead to inspiration. Maybe a recipe post or an outfit post, if you're too shy to post pictures of yourself posing there's always the kids, or the dog. Children's outfit posts always go down well!

Let me know if you've found any of these tips helpful. Happy blogging!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Our holiday to Cyprus

As I type this post, the rain is hammering outside and I'm nursing a hot cup of tea. Quite a contrast to this time last week when I was baking in 30 degree heat and wondering if my legs looked like hot dogs against the cloudless blue sky.

Nath's parents have a time share in Cyprus and last week we went on our long awaited holiday. This wasn't our first time, Ava's first holiday was spent in Cyprus when she was 6 months old and we were so excited to return. We bought Ava a Trunki which is such  fantastic invention. I managed to cram so much in for the plane journey, I was so surprised at how deceptively roomy it was, like a cow patterned Mary Poppin's suitcase! She loved zipping around the airport on it and I'd highly recommend them for fellow parents.

Our holiday was made all the more special as we were joined by Nath's sister, her boyfriend and their 7 month old son. It was his first holiday and Ava absolutely adores him. It was so lovely watching them both together and getting to spend some quality time with him.

The apartment is situated in Paphos which has some amazing restaurants. We returned to some favourites, Samisen which is a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, the chef cooks the food on a grill in front of you and puts on a bit of a show, which he gets you to join in with. We have so much fun when we visit and the food is delicious, some of the best sushi I've ever had. We also returned to The Lodge which is a South African restaurant. I've love the whole vibe in there, the d├ęcor is beautiful and the South African dishes and cocktails are amazing. I had these incredible, huge mussels for my main and a couple of Sloe-jitos which are cranberry mojitos, so good!

I must admit that Ava ate terribly all week! Chocolate ice cream most days with lots of pizza and pasta! Not an ideal diet,! I've been making meals from scratch since we've been home.

In typical toddler fashion, Ava was obsessed with the water. Due to the time of year, Ava and our nephew Cole were the only children using the pool, which we had to ourselves most of the time. Nath and I truly believed that she would develop fins by the end of the holiday. She grew in confidence in the water, her float jacket definitely helped, and it was so wonderful to see. She has no fear at all!

We did take her to the beach once but I must admit that I'm not a huge fan and neither is Nath. The whole de-sanding afterwards is a nightmare!

The week whizzed by so quickly. I caught myself watching Ava a few times, laughing and having fun. Reminding myself to keep these memories safe because she's growing up at a ridiculous speed. Unfortunately she's come home with a terrible cold, the downside to air-con!

I'm not sure where our next holiday will be, it's Nath's 30th next February and I'd love to take him somewhere special.

Have you been on holiday this year?
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