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  1. My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ (as a family)

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    Last Friday and Saturday we went to UK Vegan Campout which also happened to be on our wedding anniversary!  So a double celebration!  I was very excited to go to this festival and in particular I wanted to eat lots of vegan street food and know that everything was safe for vegans.  It makes things so much easier!  I was probably most excited about the food if I’m honest!

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    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 7

    On the way and excited!

    We took our campervan and although they had sold out of campervan pitches, we were still able to book and just park in the main carpark.  This did mean we weren’t by any toilets so next year I’ll book way in advance, or if I go on my own I might even book a nearby hotel!

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 8

    Why am I thinking of going on my own?

    Although the flyers said kids activities, I think I’d get more out of this event by going by myself.  It’s mainly about the vegan talks and films along with the street food and yoga, which is all right up my street, but not so fun for kids.  They do make it clear it’s not aimed at families, but they do have a kids activity tent and some bouncy castles.  This section was great for the kids, but it was in the family camping section, so far away from the main event.  Not ideal if you want to grab a snack or drink or listen to music at the same time.  So although the kids enjoyed this section we felt we either had to be in the main part of the festival with nothing to do for the kids, or far away from it and not a part of it so as the kids had something to do.  Next year would be amazing if the kids area can be with the main stuff so parents and kids are both together.  I think it’s more important than ever to involve kids as they are the future and to raise them vegan is more important than ever.

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review 1

    Bella loved this slide!

    The festival has loads of talks and film screenings all about veganism, health, plant based food, animal cruelty, activism, zero waste and more.  These are so inspiring and I managed to watch 2.5 talks!  I heard Kerry McCarthy, Neal Bannard and the beginning of Lex Rigby.  We managed to keep the kids settled with iPads during Kerry, I saw Neal on my own and then we left Lex’s talk as we were hungry, but also the kids were a bit bored.  It was better when I went to the talk on my own, but then I felt guilty leaving the family when I knew there wasn’t much to do outside.  I could quite happily have stayed in the talks and films all day long as I find them so liberating and inspiring.  I watch so many of them at home and it’s great to see speakers in person and learn from them or hear a different perspective.

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 2

    Packed out for Neal Barnard!

    I would be much better going by myself next year or with Ben if he wants to, so I can sit in all the talks I desire and then fill the rest of my time with yoga, fitness and of course eating vegan food!  I didn’t go to any more talks as I’d have had to abandon the family pretty much the whole time.  I really wanted to see a film, but it was over two hours long so I felt too bad!  Obviously if we’d have known all this we would have planned a schedule or something, but it was our first visit so we had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t find the schedule until the Saturday lunchtime on their Twitter page as we arrived late Friday and I’d only previously tried to find it on their website, Facebook and Instagram where I couldn’t see it posted.  It was on Twitter, doh!

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 3

    Next time I’ll go by myself, definitely find the schedule beforehand and plan out my two days.  I’ll make sure I go for the full Friday and Saturday.  I’ll probably book the tickets soon so I can get the early bird price and make sure I’m in the proper camping area with the van if Ben comes with!

    The music was also inside one room which meant you couldn’t hear it outside unless you were very close to the music building.  Music outside would be amazing as that’s what I feel festivals are all about.  I guess it was a good idea if raining, but in the lovely sunshine there’s nothing better than hearing the music outside.  Sitting eating vegan food on the grass with live music?  Yes please.  I hope they have an outdoor music stage of some sort next year.

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­

    The festival is only three years old and they say they will improve it for next year, so this is great.  It’s very young and with the massive boom in veganism I bet it will be even more popular next year.  This year they sold out with 5000 tickets.

    My review may seem quite negative, but that’s really from going as a family without knowing what to expect and not having any sort of schedule beforehand.  I am still glad I went as I know what to expect next time and will make the most of the event.  It’s definitely my cup of tea and I can’t wait to go next time.  I’ll be more excited than ever as I know how to plan my time there and will be able to do all the adult things!

    We still had a nice time, but I think it could have been a lot better had we known where to find the schedule beforehand and planned our trip better.  The festival could also have a few improvements to make it more family friendly and to have more entertainment outside in the day.

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ booja booja tuktuk

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ vegan ice cream

    I did adore the food!  Oh my!  I definitely pigged out on way too much vegan junk food, but it was delicious!  Booja Booja were there who are amazing.  We’ve had their ice cream at home as a special treat before and it was great to see their tuktuk set up.  I also tried a jackfruit burger from Biffs Jack Shack which was incredible.  So incredible, I had two!  For breakfast on the Saturday we had hot dogs from Vausages which were also amazing!  So tasty!

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 5

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­ 6

    Vegan street food really is the best, so much flavour and so many unique ideas.  I really wanted to try vegan fish and chips from Battered, but the queue was always insane!  It must taste unbelievable.  There were even people queueing and waiting for them to open half hour before their opening time!  That’s how mad the queue was for them, it was constant.  I must try next year if they are there to see what all the fuss was about!

    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review­vegan hot dog

    Vausages!

    Overall I’ll definitely recommend this festival, but for adults who can make the most of it in the talks and film screenings whilst being kid free.  I’ve already put it in my calendar next year and I know my review next time will be so positive as I’ll be able to make the most of the whole event and not feel like I’m missing out or abandoning people all weekend!

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    A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry
    My Very Honest LEGOLAND Windsor Review
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    My Very Honest UK Vegan Campout Review_ (as a family)

  2. Unique ways to use a Femme Luxe mandala roundie circle beach throw

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    I was very kindly sent these beautiful paisley print and boho style beach ‘towels’ to try from online fashion retailer Femme Luxe.  The prints are absolutely stunning and they are the perfect accessory to take to the pool, beach and in fact a lot of other places as I will share with you below!  Read on to discover some unique ways to use a paisley print circle towel and I have a giveaway.

    The first thing to note is that these are not made from towelling.  Though they are called ‘towel’ they are actually a thin, lightweight silky material.  This makes them the perfect beach accessory and they fold up ever so small to be able to carry around easily, but they will not replace your actual beach towel for being able to dry you!  Because they are not actually towel material means they have lots more uses than just sitting on. And, of course, they’re also perfect for beautiful summer Instagram photos!

    Blog Giveaway – Win a beautiful paisley print circle towel by Femme Luxe

    Femme Luxe Blue Paisley Circle Towel

    Here are some of the many ways you can use one of these beautiful circle towels:

    On the beach

    These will be great for stopping you getting covered in sand; something beautiful to sit on at the beach if, like me, you hate getting sandy bits, especially if you won’t be hopping in the sea that day.

    For a picnic

    The prettiest picnic around!  Perfect for sitting on, but also a beautiful way to display and lay out the picnic food.

    At a festival

    I’ll be off to a festival this weekend and I’ll be carrying both in my bag!  Perfect for when we want to take a break and sit down, but don’t want to sit on the grass.  These will be so great for any situation where we need to sit on a floor or grass but want something a little protective to sit on.

    To pretty up your bed

    These make an excellent addition to a bedspread, as a sort of throw over the top, which will add more interesting textile and pattern to your bedroom.

    As table decoration

    Yep, forget dull or uninspiring table cloths and use this as a beautiful centrepiece for your dining table.

    I bet there are so many more ways I haven’t even thought of, but these pretty towels will be a staple piece in my handbag throughout the summer for sitting on at parks and festivals.

    Blog Giveaway – Win a beautiful paisley print circle towel by Femme Luxe pu

    Femme Luxe Purple Paisley Towel

    Giveaway – win a purple paisley print for yourself!

    I also have two to giveaway!  Today I’ll be giving away the beautiful purple colour and pop back to my giveaway section next week for a chance to win the blue version too! 

    Don’t bin it!

    I really hope you’ll love your new towel for years to come, but if you ever get bored of it, please don’t throw it away.  Landfills are too full of things that can be reused, reworn and recycled.  For inspiration on what to do with your worn out or unwanted clothes and textiles, please read my blog post: 13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

    Enter here:

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    Suggestions of my blog posts to read for one of the entry options:

    The top 3 ways I made money from home in 2017
    Get paid to test websites from home (£5 per 20 minutes)
    Get paid doing simple tasks from your phone with Streetbees
    I’ve made £300 tax free cash from home in 2 weeks and you can too

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the purple paisley print circle towel
    • The prize must be claimed within 28 days of the first winner's notification email being sent.
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only

     

     

     

  3. AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review

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    I’m back today with my second review of an AuCuTee sound machine product.  Not long ago I was sent a sleep therapy white noise machine which seemed predominantly aimed at adults, but today I have their soothing sounds machine which is aimed at babies and small children.  Whilst I no longer have a baby, I do have a three year old and six year old.  My six year old daughter, Bella, still soothes herself to sleep with music.  Quite often she is able to fall asleep without aid, but she usually wakes at least once per night and I hear her turn her comforting music on to drift back off again.  I thought this product could be perfect for her so was happy to review.  In this blog post I will review the AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine.

    Related AuCuTee S5 Sleep Therapy White Noise Machine Review and Discount Code

    AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review

    AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review - photos

    I’ve been using the soothing sound machine yesterday and today since it arrived to test it out and gather my thoughts and first impressions.  As I sit here typing this, I have it sat on my desk playing lullabies so I can test out the voice activation feature.

    It has many great functions that I’ll share with you here:

    Minimal packaging

    The packaging for the product itself is simple and modern.  This product arrived in a small box with a transparent sleeve so it could be seen.  I immediately thought this would make it a great present for someone who has just had a baby. 

    Baby safe design

    I love the bright orange colour which makes it suitable for a boy or girl and is fun for children.  The design is very slick.  It’s simple, but perfect for a baby.  There are no knobs or buttons – simply twist the top for the volume and twist the bottom to choose a sound.  This makes it easy for a young child to use by themselves and also prevents a baby from being able to chew any buttons.  In fact it is specially made for babies to have chew-safe materials and a round body.

    AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review

    Six perfect sounds

    The unit has six sounds which may not sound like a lot at first, but it has everything you need from lullabies to white noise.  The options are lullaby, shush, heartbeat, rain, white noise and wave.  With my children I’ve found they develop a favourite and this becomes their soothing sound, so I’m sure one of these sounds will be suitable.  As babies my children preferred white noise, but as they’ve grown they like lullabies more.

    Easily portable

    It’s very small and lightweight with a built-in rechargeable battery so it can be used on the go and for travel.  It has a handy clip so it can be attached to a pram, car seat, handle or cot – wherever baby is sleeping or needs soothing.

    Sound sensor

    The lullabies or white noise sound will play for 30 minutes and then stop.  The machine will not turn off, but instead go into a sleep mode in case baby wakes up.  If it detects a sound that indicates baby has woken then it will begin to play again automatically.  I tested this by simply saying googoo(!) at a normal level when it ran out and it began to play instantly.  This is a great function as it will comfort the baby until you arrive or even send them back to sleep.

    AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review - photo

    Straightforward to use

    I can be a bit terrible at reading instructions unless absolutely necessary and so I just took this out of the box and didn’t read them at all.  There’s no need to though as it’s so simple to use.  It comes with a charging cable so I first plugged it in until the light on the back was green instead of red.  Then it was obvious to twist the bottom to move the arrow to the desired sound symbol.  For a second I wondered where the on switch was, but quickly realised to twist the top to turn it on and adjust the volume.  Easy.

    It’s a great product with a simple design which is all it needs.  Sometimes things can be too overcomplicated, but this is easy to use, baby-safe and design friendly.  It’s a perfect nursery addition for babies, but also a wonderful soother for older children who need help getting back to sleep or even off to sleep, plus it’s lightweight and portable so ideal for family travel.

    Where to buy your own

    Here are the links you need to check out AuCuTee and purchase your very own!

    Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DFHW8K9  

    Main website: www.aucutee.com   

     

    More sleep related articles:
    Tips to help your child get a better night’s sleep
    Different sleep habits around the world
    How to help your child have a relaxing night's sleep
    10 tips to sleep better in hot weather
    5 tips to get a better night’s sleep naturally
    Your Guide To A Better Night's Sleep

     

    AuCuTee Baby Soothing Sounds Machine Review

  4. Find your perfect slimming swimsuit at Fashion World

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    With this summer being an absolute scorcher so far we have been making the most of outdoor swimming pools whenever we get a chance.  Luckily our gym has an outdoor pool we can take the children too at certain times, so we can all cool off, get some exercise and just splash about having fun!  I usually just wear a black Speedo costume when exercising, but with it being holiday season and us spending more time than usual hanging out at the pool, I wanted to try something a little more fashionable and stylish.  I was very pleased to be offered the chance to choose some swimwear from Fashion World who stock the most stunning selection of costumes, tankinis, dresses and bikinis.

    Find your perfect slimming swimsuit at Fashion World

     

    Love it when online goods look exactly the same in real life! 

    Find your perfect slimming swimsuit at Fashion World (1)

    Feather swimsuit - Floral swimsuit - Palm swimsuit

    I chose three Magisculpt style full swimming costumes which are designed in such a way they give the impression you are one inch smaller.  They are super fitted so they suck in and disguise any wobbly bits and keep everything held in place!  I chose three patterned costumes which make a refreshing change from my usual plain black swimwear.  These are bright and colourful and simply perfect for the summer months.  The patterns are also great for disguising any lumps and bumps!

    Another bonus is the padded cups.  My existing costumes don’t have this so it’s nipples galore, but these have foam pads which thankfully aren’t removable and are fixed into place.  These give a nice smooth and supportive finish to the bust.

    At around five foot seven I’m not overly tall, but I do start having issues when buying regular sized swimwear.  Even some regular sized tops are too short for me and I always have to opt for longline ranges.  I never managed to jump on the onesie trend as the bodies of them were always too short for me! Before the past year I always wore a two-piece bikini.  I still do, but if I’m swimming lengths then I prefer to wear a one piece.  I never thought anything of it until I ordered two swimming costumes for the first time last year and when they arrived they didn’t fit!  My body is just too long.  Thankfully the Magisculpt costumes come in two lengths so I was able to order the long length which fits perfectly.  A great tip if you’re tall like me and can’t find a long range is to choose a costume with adjustable straps instead so you can lengthen them.

    Find your perfect slimming swimsuit at Fashion World (2)

    These two fit me best and are my favourites

    The three costumes I received are very snug, so don’t be surprised if you can’t get them over your thighs at first!  As they offer body control they are not as stretchy as other costumes, so they need a bit of manoeuvring over the thighs and hips before they slide on easily!  There was a warning card with them to state this as otherwise I’d have panicked they were too small for me.  Once on they fit beautifully.  Two of them have really thick straps which I think is much more flattering and helps to hide my bulgy bits between my breasts and armpits.  I hate those bulgy bits!

    If Magisculpt isn’t your thing then don’t worry.  Fashion World stock so many other brands and styles of costume from a curvy range through to maternity styles.  They have plenty of plain, colourful or patterned costumes to suit every taste.  I was very impressed with the selection available and had no problems finding suitable costumes for me.  In fact, I could have ordered several more!

     

    More fashion blog posts you may enjoy:

    How to get the perfect summer look

    Tips for transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring

    Unique and alternative uses for a fashion scarf

    Easy ways to update your look on a budget

    Find your perfect slimming swimsuit at Fashion World (3)

     

  5. 7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat

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    This week we’ve been at Center Parcs Longleat for a four night break. It’s our first ever time at a Center Parcs so we didn’t totally know what to expect. I had numerous emails before coming to book activities and dining, but as we hadn’t been before we kind of wanted to see everything in real life first and find our feet instead of pre-booking blindly. Most of the activities are also pretty expensive and as we chose the most expensive week of the year to come (almost £300 per night) I just couldn’t justify spending much more each day. Typically we also landed a huge car repair bill that could be over £1000 just before our trip, so this obviously limited our budget even more.

    It is a lovely place and I’m sure we’ll be back when the kids are older and with more spending money to make the most of our time here, or for one of the cheaper weeks of the year whilst they are so young. That’s if there is a much cheaper week as we can only utilise school holidays! I’d also love to come for a break at Christmas and eat out lots more to truly spoil ourselves and experience their magical festivities.  I’ll probably go into a full review in another blog post, but I thought it might be good to share the things you can do whilst here at no extra expense.

    For this visit we didn’t take part in any pre-booked activities so I want to share with you 7 free things you can do with kids during your stay at Center Parcs Longleat:

    1.     Subtropical Swimming Paradise

    The swimming pool was the reason we booked the holiday!  Ben for ages had been talking about going to a splash land if we could find one and when I saw the swimming park at Center Parcs and emailed him a picture, he simply replied ‘book it’!  So I did!  Obviously after a bit of back and forth and deciding, but it pretty much made our mind up to come here.  We’d always heard good things and did know it was an expensive place, but knowing the pool was included made our decision.

    There are plenty of splash areas and small slides for the kids which makes it great for our six year old and three year old.  There’s an indoor pool with wave machine and a much warmer pool outside too.  For the older children, or competent younger swimmers,  and adults there are lots of slides.  Ben and I managed to go on some whilst the other watched the kids in the pool or splash areas.

    The pool is included in the price of the stay and is a lot of fun.  We went twice, but could easily have gone every day.  I imagine when the kids are older and can both swim then we’d have a hard time of dragging them out of the pool!

    7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat - forest walks

    2.     Forest walks

    Another main attraction for staying at Center Parcs is that they are all in forests.  I absolutely love being surrounded by trees and nature and the thought of staying in a lodge in amongst it all tempted me.  The forest is on our doorstep and we can walk around the park surrounded by the tallest trees.  The park itself is enclosed and fenced off so you can’t totally escape into the forest unless you leave the resort, but you still get a very forest feel just walking around the complex.

    We walked for around three hours with the kids today finding wooden bridges, waterfalls, small lakes and wooden playparks along the way.  If we come again I’d definitely walk around the park to explore a lot more and enjoy the forest views.  The kids loved collecting sticks, crossing bridges, climbing hills and disappearing into trees when they could.

    3.     Go to the beach

    The main lake has a sand beach next to it where the kids can play and paddle in the water.  The beach is an area we really have to drag the kids away from as they love digging and building in the sand so much.  We could easily spend a few hours or half a day just on the beach and they’d be perfectly happy.

    7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat - beach lake

    4.     Go cycling

    It’s pretty expensive to hire cycles and if you do then hire for the entire stay.  We went to see the day price on day three, but it was extortionate for one day only for the four of us.  It wasn’t much more to hire for the whole stay so we’ll remember this for next time.  Or, for free, you can just bring your own bikes and cycle around the entire complex without spending a penny.  There are lots of cycle paths and plenty of bike parking to store your bike if you want to hop off and walk or enter a building.  It's a good idea to lock up your bikes around the park, as you never know, and also to ensure you have adequate insurance in case they are stolen.  Visit BritainReviews to compare insurance companies.

    5.     Have a picnic

    There are numerous places to dine, but to save money you can take your own food with you as the accommodation is all self-catering.  To not spend money in restaurants you can either eat at your lodge or pack a picnic to take out with you.  There are plenty of picturesque picnic spots with benches and even parasols in some areas where you can sit to eat your own food.

    6.     Ride the train

    The land train is really handy for getting to the main areas from your accommodation, but it’s also great fun for younger kids!  What kid doesn’t love a train ride?  We used it most days to get from A to B when the kids were tired of walking, but we also hopped on one day just to do a full circuit as it was fun for the kids!

    7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat - small park

    7.     Discover the adventure playgrounds

    The kids play parks and adventure playgrounds are amazing!  There are several large ones in the main area of the park and smaller ones dotted around near the lodges.  The huge ones are really well done and ginormous.  Bella loved the zip lines too, once we managed to get her on one!  She was a bit nervous at first!   We did also see a medium sized soft play area in the Sports Bar, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance during our stay.  A large indoor soft play would definitely have made our visit rate even higher.  The Sports Bar and Bella Italia did both have smaller soft play areas that kept the kids amused when we did dine out.

    Even without booking any of the organised activities it is still possible to have a great time at Center Parcs!

     

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    7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat

     

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