Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family days out in the UK

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Most of us have a dream to make it across the pond to the UK at least once in our lifetimes whether it’s to trace our ancestry or explore some of the historical towns and cities.  Traveling such a long way with children can be quite daunting, especially if you’re not sure what to do when you arrive.  Follow our guide to the best family days out in the UK.

Anglesey Sea Zoo
This is an aquarium like no other.  With more than 150 species native to UK waters, children and adults alike will enjoy just how close you can get to underwater creatures while remaining completely dry.  A day out here is as informative as it is entertaining with daily talks and feedings with the resident biologists included in the ticket price.  If you’re staying at a Sykes Cottages’ holiday home on Anglesey make the most of your entrance ticket which lasts for seven days.

Alnwick Castle
Not only is Alnwick Castle a wonderful day out for history buffs, this 11th century Northumberland castle doubles as Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft in the Harry Potter films.  Watch your children’s faces light up as they follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione while you get stuck into the 1000 years of history on offer in Alnwick.  Children can also dress up as a knight or princess to try out medieval crafts or come face-to-face with a scary dragon.

Longleat Safari Park
Drive through the first safari park to be built outside of Africa and get really close to lions, monkeys and giraffes from the comfort of your car.  This is a great way to get the kids interested in wildlife while keeping everyone safe.  The monkeys live up to their cheeky reputation and have a particular fondness for car windscreen wipers!  There’s also an adventure playground with plenty of activities to keep children of all ages entertained.

Enchanted Forest
Only an hour from London, The Enchanted Forest in Tunbridge Wells is the perfect day out for an active family.  Enjoy the raised walkway through the forest with rope walks, balance beams and a puzzling spiral pathway.  If Mom and Dad aren’t tempted by the giant swings then perhaps they’ll enjoy the more formal gardens at neighbouring Groomsbridge Place.

Start planning your dream holiday to the UK by visiting to view more than 3,500 self-catering holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland.

Can’t cook, won’t cook? Cooking from home

Not everyone has the inclination or the ability to prepare his or her own meals, something which the entrepreneurially minded can take advantage of to provide a much-needed service.  It is becoming increasingly fashionable for those who want to hold a dinner party to arrange for the catering to be done by somebody else, although the host may not want to broadcast this fact.  The catering company will then deliver the food discretely and even arrange for dirty pans and crockery to be left out to make it look like the party hosts have done all the work.

Starting a cooking business

In order to thrive in this type of home business, it is essential to enjoy cooking and also have some good cooking skills.  It is also best to check the local regulations on running this type of business from home.  There will be health and hygiene regulations to consider as well as implications for home insurance.  All regulations will need to be met in order to avoid any official action or fines at a later date.    

It is important to run the business professionally.  Food will need to be delivered on time, so the chef will need to ensure that for each task, everything is planned to the last detail.  For maximum efficiency, organize the kitchen so that everything is within easy reach.  Ensure that all equipment is in place before the work begins.  It will not be easy to step out partway through the cooking process to purchase a missing utensil, but those who are considering offering basic home cooking services will find that they already have most of the items required anyway. 

It is a good idea to have a business concept, and it is acceptable to be specific about the type of food that will be offered.  Will it be haute cuisine for elegant dinner parties or something a little more down to earth for groups of friends who just want to get together for a simple meal?  Every business should have a target market, which should be kept in mind when planning the marketing of the business.

It is also a good idea to check out any local competition.  If the concept of the business is original enough, then competition may not be an issue, but any sensible business owner will look at what is available first.  This can also give new business owners an idea of the prices being charged by competitors and help figure out how to offer something that already established businesses do not.

A cooking business – a practical concept?

There is a market for this type of business in almost every town and city.  Everywhere, there are people who lead very busy lives and will not always have the time to deal with their own catering if they want to host a party.  Cooking services can also be expanded upon to offer busy customers a home-cooked meal when they return from work each evening.  A successful business may even outgrow a home kitchen over time.  With plenty of land to buy, developing and building a business premises is easier than most people believe.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Red Envelope Review

I had the opportunity to check out the Red Envelope website and review an item. has a lot of really cool items. They are a part of one of the best companies to buy gifts from.  Since Noah is in kindergarten and the holidays are coming up. I had started thinking about teacher gifts for Noah’s two teachers. They are both amazing women and they have really made Noah’s transition in to school very easy.  I really cherish them and I wanted to give them a gift as our token of my appreciation. They have gone above and beyond the normal teaching duties. When we went to Meet the Teacher Night, she found out he loves fish so for The Great American Teach In she had a curator of a local museum come in and talk to the kids.  I wanted to find something that we could give them that they don’t already have. I wanted to find them something unique that they would really love.

 I thought about all the possibilities of gift cards, cheesy world’s best teacher items, apple themed things, school supplies. My mom is a teacher and I have taught in preschools before so I know what things teachers would like and what they don’t. I know that all gifts are appreciated though. helped me find the perfect gift for each of them. I wanted to get them both the same thing, because I don’t know a lot about their personal lives.  I ordered The 100 WishesCandle Set. It is absolutely beautiful.  It has two candles with 100 wishes each.   I thought that I would split it up and give them each one. There is one green one and one blue one and they are covered in inspirational words that when you light it the words glow.  I really think that this is a unique and positive gift that will give them a calm sense after a crazy day of 18 Kindergarteners.  It’s hard to go wrong with a candle, even if it is just for d├ęcor. The candles are 3 inches wide and 6 inches tall. I want a set for myself because they are so gorgeous.  Ordering was so easy and fast. I can’t wait to give Noah’s teachers their holiday gift with a nice card expressing how much they mean to us.

I had the chance to receive a gift card from all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Givit's iPad Mini Contest and $50 VISA Giftcard Giveaway

It’s time to remember what we are thankful for. Do you want to have the chance to win an iPad Mini? All you have to do is simply download Givit for free, record a video of anything – kids, dog tricks, your Thanksgiving meal, or whatever you are thankful for.
Here is how you do it and the requirements:
Create a fun video* with the Givit app that shows off what you’re most thankful for, making sure your video includes the following elements:
Between 15 and 90 seconds long
At least one effect (Either a Motion Effect, Transition and/or Music)
Share your Highlighted video masterpiece through the Givit app, via private share email, with Givit at (be sure to keep the ‘Allow Private’ and ‘Allow Public’ boxes checked and include your name, email address and either a Facebook or Twitter account for them to reach you at if you win).
Finally, as a last step, either “Like” the Givit page on Facebook OR Follow them on Twitter

Submissions will be judged on creativity and the best use of Givit’s Highlighting and effects features.
So, what are you waiting for? Enter ThanksGivit as many times as you like and show us, through video, all the great things there are to be thankful for!

Check out some examples of great entries on Tumblr:

The contest runs from Nov. 12 through Dec. 7

Here are the Official Rules.

I definitely want to enter this contest!  It sounds like so much fun.  I really have so much to be thankful for. I hope you enter too. I would love to see your videos.

I have a special giveaway just for my readers.  One of you will win a $50 VISA gift card. I am so excited to have the chance to give this away because I am sure it will be helpful for holiday shopping.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what you are thankful for

You must do the main entry to receive the bonus entries.

Bonus Entries:

Like the Givit page on Facebook: 

Please remember to include your email address so I know how to contact you for your prize.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only. My giveaway will end December 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm ET
Good Luck!

I received a gift card and one to give away from Givit.  All my thoughts and opinions are my own.