The importance of having travel insurance.

We just got back from our holiday in the Philippines and unfortunately an unexpect thing happened while we were there. We didn’t have travel insurance, since we never thought we would need it.

My father in law has been ill for a while but we never thought that he would pass away so soon. Due to the unexpected circumstances we had to cancel the whole second week of our holiday, we had just landed from an internal flight across the country, so had to arrange a flight back immediately, cancel all our hotel bookings and rebook our flight home so we could attend the funeral. It was all non refundable and etihad airway could only waiver the penalty charge but not give us a discount despite of the reason. Hubby also booked with an agent who was not very helpful and didn’t answer our emails.

We now realise that if we would have had travel insurance, we could have claimed some of our expenses back, since we suffered a death of a family member unexpectedly while we’re on holiday. We’ve learned our lesson and I asked my fellow bloggers for their positive experiences in having travel insurance. They shared how it’s benefited them and that you’ll never know when you need it so it’s safe to always have one before you travel.

Tracey from Pack the pjs said, This didn’t involve me, but my aunt. She was on holiday in Spain when she slipped and fell down a flight of concrete steps. She had a European Health Card as well as travel insurance. When the paramedics arrived they wouldn’t go near her until my uncle had gone to their room to find the insurance papers. My aunt had broken her hip and was in hospital for 10 days before they’d let her fly home. She often talks about how she was left in a heap at the bottom of those stairs, in agony beyond belief, with noone helping until the insurance papers were checked. It makes me wonder what value the European Health Card that we are all advised to carry actually has.

Pete from household money saving said, Rather embarrassingly, I lost my wedding ring on our honeymoon. I’ve never worn jewelry before, so it wasn’t something I was used to. We went swimming off the west coast of Florida, and I was drying myself, I felt something wasn’t quite right. I spent 30 minutes looking in the sea and I’m not really sure why. The sea is a very big place! Anyway, we managed to get the cost of the ring back from the insurance. I do get reminded by my wife when we look through our wedding photos that it isn’t the same one though..

Laura from Mum on a Mission said, My husbands £3000 bike got lost by the airline when we went to Florida. The airline only covered £1000 in compensation and we hadn’t checked our travel insurance would cover it. It didn’t. But luckily the household insurance covered the rest of the money but it’s now increased our house insurance loads so we would have been better off with travel insurance for sure.

Sarah from Digital Motherhood said, My husband got so badly sunburnt this summer that we had to go to a private medical centre in Gran Canaria to get blisters popped and dressed 🙈 £370!!! Claim still going thru insurance at the moment.

Abi from Something about baby said, A story about why you should have travel insurance in place BEFORE you go on holiday…my niece recently came down with chicken pox a week before they were due to go on holiday. Unfortunately she had a bad case and the spots didn’t scab over in time. My sister in law managed to rearrange the holiday for a few weeks later, and because it was more expensive, was able to claim back the extra money on their travel insurance.

Emma from The money whisperer said, I got very sick with pneumonia in the USA and spent a full day in hospital with associated tests. I did have insurance but paid by credit card there and then and then claimed back once home. Beware of exchange rate movements if you do pay then claim after the event – I lost around £700 😫 If i was ever in a similar situation, I would always try and give my insurer’s details to the hospital upfront to invoice to avoid this.

Elizabeth from The Homemakers Journal said, After a bad fall on a Colorado ski slope, the ski patrollers who brought me down the mountain thought I was seriously injured, thus the ambulance trip to the ER, the extra oxygen in high altitude and a CAT scan. Fortunately, I wasn’t as badly injured as they thought, but we didn’t find that out until several hours had passed and we’d racked up more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses.Luckily, I had travel insurance that picked up all those out-of-pocket expenses. I know most families don’t think they need travel insurance, but it really can save the day — and lots of money as costs can run into six figures when someone must be evacuated in a medical emergency.

Gardening · Life

Top 10 inspiring gardening projects in 2017

If you’re looking for inspiration for new gardening projects, you’ve come to the right place! From investing in a polytunnel for indoor gardening to installing a water feature, here are the top 10 exciting outdoor ideas for this year.

1. Create A Walkway

If you have a larger garden, or just want to create an easier and more convenient way to cross from one side to the other, or to get around flowerbeds, why not create a walkway? You can use bricks, flat stones or even cut wooden pallets to create an attractive effect.

2. Invest In A Polytunnel

The Telegraph recommends investing in a polytunnel to extend your growing season, especially if you’re planning on growing vegetables. These flexible tunnels are a great way to grow your own salad all year round and are a perfect choice for organic gardeners.

3. Create An Outdoor Room

The Royal Horticultural Society suggests turning your garden into an outdoor room by choosing the right garden furniture. By investing in a stylish rattan sofa and chairs, you can have a living space that you can use on warm days and which adds an extra room to your home.

4. Set Up A Tree Swing

Whether you have children, grandchildren, or whether you just like the idea of reliving your childhood, a tree swing is a fun addition to any garden. Decorated with comfortable cushions, you can create a cosy and attractive place to relax in your outdoor environment, but always take care to choose a large and sturdy tree.

5. Make A Vertical Garden

If you despair of ever being able to do anything exciting with your tiny garden, worry no more. A vertical garden is the ideal solution. Build shelving from reclaimed wood and lean it against an outdoor wall or balcony and then add pots of your favourite plants for a beautiful thriving garden.

6. Install A Bird Bath

Nothing is more lovely than watching birds in your garden, and what better way to encourage them than to install a bird bath. Not only is a bird bath a gorgeous water feature that adds visual appeal to your outdoor space but it’ll also delight your local wildlife.

7. Make A Fairy Garden

This cute project is especially good for families with small children and is something that can be worked on all together. Planting a miniature garden in small flower pots, buying toy furniture and fitting fairy doors to trees is an attractive way to add extra interest in your garden and is sure to enthral the kids.

8. Brighten Your Patio

If you have a dull and colourless outdoor space, this year is the time to brighten it up. Simply by investing in a few planters and pots of various shapes and sizes, you can fill them with your favourite flowers to bring colour and vibrancy to your plain patio.

9. Install A Water Feature

Water features come in all shapes and sizes, from traditional ponds to miniature waterfalls, so there’s sure to be one that suits your garden. Listening to the sound of running water is wonderfully relaxing and can also help to distract from road noise if you leave near a busy thoroughfare. Dig your own bespoke pond to your own specifications or buy a ready-made fountain that will bring extra beauty to your garden.

10. Let There Be Light

Bringing more light into your garden is a great project to tackle for 2017, and is simple and easy to achieve. Battery operated or solar powered string lights can be strewn around a trellis or pergola to create a twinkling effect, while solar lanterns at regular intervals around your lawn can add shape and style to a plain garden.

These are just some of the exciting garden projects that could inspire you to get more out of your outdoor space in 2017. Be inspired and use your creativity!

First Tunnels is a leading supplier of high quality polytunnels for both commercial and amateur gardeners. Contact us today and find out more about how our innovative products can help to create a perfect growing environment for you. 

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food · Interests and Hobbies · Life

The Benefits of Cooking More and Eating Out Less

Have you ever thought about eating out less and cooking more of your meals from scratch? It’s something that many health-conscious people regard as the best way forward. It puts you back in control and can change your entire lifestyle for the better. Here are some of the direct benefits you can expect to experience if you decide to push forward with this change too.

You’ll Save a Lot of Money

Eating out costs a lot of money. Over the course of a year, a large part of your income can be spent on eating out if it’s something you do a lot of. That’s not a great situation to find yourself in, and you need to be careful not to push things too far. You’ll be surprised by how much money it’s possible for you to save simply by cooking your own food at home.

Image Source

You’ll Learn New Skills

As you get more into the process of cooking your own meals at home, you will learn new skills that could really serve you well going forward. Being able to cook is something that many people simply can’t do. That’s often because they don’t dedicate the necessary time to learning. The skills you’ll pick up will serve you very well and help you in the future. It’s another string to add to your bow, and that has to be a good thing. Purchase new implements and equipment, such as a stand mixer from VonShef. That way, you can learn how to incorporate new tech into your cooking too.

You’ll Know What You’re Consuming

If you eat out all the time, or buy ready made food from supermarkets, you will miss out on something really important: you won’t know what’s going into your foods. Sure, you could read the label of every option on the shelf. But all those long words and additives don’t mean much by themselves. And even that isn’t an option if you’re ordering off a menu in a restaurant. Someone else is in control of the ingredients that are used to make the food you eat. And you won’t know what’s involved at all. That will be completely reversed if you cook your meals at home.

Your Diet Will Improve

When you know what’s going into your meals, you can also decide what you want to exclude. It puts you back in control of your diet and what you put into your body. That has to be a good thing, and if you’re looking to improve your overall diet and health, this will help you massively with that. Your diet will slowly by steadily improve, and that alone is a pretty big positive that should not be ignored. It’s one of the very best reasons to give this change a change. It could really change things for the better.

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As you now know, there is so much to be gained by cooking more of your own meals and eating out a little less. It’s something to be embraced, so make the most of this positive change.

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Health · Health & Beauty · Life · Motherhood

The Mummy cold; hints and tips

Ok we all know about “man flu”, how at the smallest sniffle the guys are meant to lie on the sofa in a grumbling, feeling sorry for themselves mess (which just for the record my hubby doesn’t do this, he is actually pretty female in his reaction to a cold) so let me explain the mummy cold: no staying in bed late, no sitting on the sofa watching to all day and no rest, we have to suck it up and get on with it. The school run must still be done, everyone still needs feeding and the housework will only go a few hours without being done. 

My temperature is well over 38, my nose won’t stop running, my head throbs with every blink and I am exhausted. 

What an amazing time for Coldzyme to send me their product which prevents the common cold (if you start using it soon enough) or shortens the duration of your cold. It is a mouth spray, 2 squirts to the back of the throat (it doesn’t taste terrible actually) which apparently coats the lining of the throat and acts as a barrier preventing the cold virus from being with the human cells. 

Unfortunately I think I got the sample too late to help me with this cold so I’ve asked my fellow blogger how they treat their colds:

  • Sophia from Tattooed Tealady suggests boiled water with ginger, lemon and honey. Which sounds lush to me!
  • Laura from five little doves suggests Vicks on the feet with socks over. I’ve tried this before and it never works for me but does for the kids, weird!
  • Sinead suggests Chai Tea, not something I’ve tried, but apparently is full of cold busting spices. 
  • I love the idea of this Elderberry cough syrup from bluebearwood
  • Alice from Living with a Jude recommends rooibos, peppermint or ginger tea and a steaming bowl with peppermint in to clear the sinuses. 

I shall report back as to whether the Coldzyme helps clear it quickly, but in the mean time I will go rest and recuperate!

*coldzyme was provided free for trial, but I was not required to write about it I chose to of my own doing. 

Gift guide · Life · Motherhood

What to buy a 9 year old girl?!

It is my daughters 9th birthday this week and I never realised quite how difficult it is to shop for her age group!

She does like toys, she still plays with baby dolls and Barbie’s, but since she has played with these for years there is a limited number of additional items she wants to go with these. She has asked for:

    • Steffi vet set

Simba Steffi Love Animal Doctor

    • Barbie date night furniture


    • Steffi newborn set

Steffi Baby World Playset (Styles Vary)

  • Lily super snackin’ baby

BABY ALIVE C09638020 Super Snacks Snacking Noodles

I also decided to buy her some more grown up presents, not just a bunch of toys. So I got her:

    • A personalised unicorn hoodie

[ Kids ] Personalised Unicorn White Glitter Hoodie Choose Your Name and Colour (9-11, Purple)

    • LED flashing trainers (specifically the ones without heelies!)

Santiro Unisex Boys Girl’s Sneaker Casual Shoes for child USB Charging LED Luminous Light SSK006G3-35

  • I also got Bethany a selection of proper make up from the Natural Collection in Boots

With thanks to Laura from Women in Progress, who suggest unicorn snot and got me onto the train of thought of unicorn presents!


Of course the only suitable party for such a grown up young lady is a pamper session, dinner out and a sleep over with her best friend!

Since it is her birthday Sunday 17th September make sure you all keep quiet about her presents 😉

*post contains affiliate links

Life · Motherhood

Chicken pox: early symptoms with photos

My little darlings picked up chicken pox a few years ago and I remember googling early symptoms and photos of the spots so I could work out if it was what they had, I got some good photos and thought it might be helpful to other mamas out there if I was to share them.

Early symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Flu/cold like

Early spots

The first spots tend to appear on the torso, so belly or back, that’s not to say they won’t appear else where first but usually it’s the torso. They appear as red dots initially and after 12-24 hours they will start to blister and look fluid-filled.

They may or may not be itchy at this time, in fact they may not become itchy at all, neither of my children suffered from itchy spots with chicken pox.

Bethany didn’t have many spots, she was poorly the day before spots appeared but after that she was her usual self. Her spots were all up by 2 days in and all healed within 5 days.

Poor jack had lots of spots, and I mean LOTS!

I’ve never known a child have it so bad, it was over his “boy bits”, down his ears, in his mouth, down his throat…he really suffered. He was feverish for the day before spots appeared and fell asleep in the middle of the floor (which isn’t like him), his fever continued for about 5 days and it took 5 days for spots to stop appearing and another 5 days after that for them to start healing over.


  • There are loads of products available over the counter
  • We found bicarbonate of soda and porridge in the bath really helped. But don’t bath them once the spots start healing, this can cause them to scar.
  • Kids paracetamol is best to keep their temp down, not ibruprofen as that can cause the spots to become infected.

I hope the experience of our chicken pox helps a mama out there. Please remember I am not a doctor (or medical professional of any kind) I am just passing on our experience in the hope it helps you.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Did your kids have a nasty case of chicken pox, or did they barely notice it?