When you live a busy life, there’s not that much time for simple entertainment, and many of us have now started grabbing a few minutes of fun when we can through online or mobile gaming. With the huge selection of games that we now have at our disposal – through the internet, social media such as Facebook and on our mobile phones – it’s not surprising that the number of gamers is on the rise, meaning that today you’re in the minority if you don’t game rather than a decade ago when gamers were the odd ones out.
It might come as a bit of a surprise that one of the most popular online and mobile games being played at the moment is bingo. Yes, the game that Granny used to play with her friends on a mid-week afternoon is now drawing in over 100 million players worldwide online. But once you’ve tried this fun and simple game, you’ll see why so many people enjoy it. If you’ve never played online bingo, don’t worry, it’s really easy to join a site and start playing. There’s a huge amount of competition amongst the sites for new players and many of them, like 32red, Gala and 888bingo, offer no-deposit bonuses for people to try out games on their sites before they put their own money into an account. Click here to play at 32redbingo.com and you’ll see that there’s £10 free for new players when they sign up and register an account. If they go on to make a deposit, there’s an extra £32 of credit for every £10 that they pay in, so it’s a deal that is definitely worth taking advantage of.
Once you start playing the games, you’ll see that the bonus money will go a long way – games only cost a few pence to play and some of them are free. It’s another way the bingo sites reward player loyalty – with free games that have cash prizes to play for. The possibility of winning cash prizes when you play a game of chance is obviously part of its appeal, especially as you don’t have to ‘do’ anything to win apart from join the game. Once you’ve done so, you can sit back and watch your card’s progress as the number calls are made, or do something else entirely, knowing that if you have a win, it will be automatically registered.
That leads us to another attraction of playing bingo. While the game takes care of itself, you can socialise on the site in the bingo chat rooms. For mums who are at home with young children, it can be great to know you can join a conversation with other adults whenever you feel like it. Bingo chat rooms are busy places, there’s always someone to talk to there and the chat moderator makes sure all the players feel included, sometimes with the additional fun of some chat games where you can win extra prizes.
Another appealing aspect of online bingo is that you can play just about any time of day or night. The sites run 24hour schedules, so game is always about to start somewhere. It’s an ideal way to fill five minutes that you have spare, or while you’re waiting for your child’s ballet lesson or football session to finish and you’re sitting in the car.
The reasons why online bingo appeals to people old and young, male and female, are because it’s a game that is easy and fun to play, good value and always accessible. Added to that it’s also a social outlet for anyone who is seeking company – it’s no wonder so many of us have signed up!
If you are a regular reader then you will know that Autumn is my favorite season and there is no better way to celebrate the new season than sharing my must-haves for this season and the impending Winter!
Although, so far it has been quite warm, Autumn always conjures up frosty mornings and cool winds which mean we need to dig out or purchase new warm woolly jumpers, comfy leggings. Here are a selection of my Autumn Must-Haves from Esprit ready for the turn in the weather.
I hate wearing coats, no matter what the weather, so having any of these great knits in my closet would be a great alternative. Jumpers and cardigans are such versatile fashion items, this is my excuse as to why I have so many!
Leggings at so comfortable and yet can look very elegant with the right shoes or boots. I really love the metallic leggings, great for bonfire parties and ready for the festive season.
If you are looking for more Autumn must-haves, pop over to my Style board over on Pinterest. Lots of Autumn inspired fashion going on. Plus check out some home inspiration over on our sister blog, Handpicked Life.
What are your favorite must-have items for Autumn?
Anyone with a family knows that planning is essential. Although spontaneity still arises in certain situations it is nowhere near as reoccurring as it once was. When there are children and work involved, planning is imperative. Granted, this may seem over the top – planning for the sake of planning – but here are some things that may take your fancy in 2015.
The Rugby World Cup
Child obesity is no laughing matter. Too many children nowadays aren’t active enough – this is mainly due to them having no inspiration to join a sports club. We all know how hard it can be to inspire a child to partake in something that they have no desire to do, so why not take them to get inspired?
Next year see’s the Rugby Union World Cup come to England. Matches will be played in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester, Brighton, Milton Keynes, Exeter, Gloucester, Leeds and Newcastle, so hopefully one match will be accessible to you.
Away from inspiring your child, watching rugby union is a pulsating affair. The big-hitting, high-octane sport is completely absorbing, especially for new-comers. Whether you watch a tournament favourite like England or one of the rugby minnows like Uruguay – who recently booked their place in the tournament with victory over Russia – you will enjoy yourself. Old or young, male or female, it doesn’t matter; the electric atmosphere found at rugby matches is engrossing.
However, be warned, as sports go, they do not come any messier than rugby. Once your child starts playing they will come back from training looking more like a swamp monster than a human.
The Rugby World Cup commences on September 18 and concludes on October 31.
It is surprising just how family friendly music festivals are; sounds crazy doesn’t it? Festivals are family friendly. The people you meet there may be slightly intoxicated but they are some of the nicest people you will ever encounter – they are there to have a good time and want to make sure everyone else enjoys themselves.
Although Glastonbury, the king of festivals, sold out in 26 minutes, there are numerous other family friendly festivals that may tickle your fancy.
Arguably, the most family-friendly festival is Latitude, which takes place mid-July. This year saw Lily Allen, Damon Albarn, The Black Keys, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Kelis and Chrissie Hynde all perform. Located in the picturesque Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, Latitude is so much more than a festival. The festival has rightly been awarded with the “Best Family Award” as their Kids’ Area is fantastic. In 2014, while the adults were off enjoying the music the children were busy making pizza, sculpting willow with traditional tools, partaking in fossil hunts and taking part in the National Theatre’s production of Cat in the Hat. By the way, that was just in the day – in the evening there would be star-gazing, pond dipping and even French knitting.
For those of you that still enjoy watching live music then you really should not be put off from going to a music festival. There are so many chilled festivals that have such a great attitude towards kids. Here, you and them get the best of both worlds: you both get to go camping, but the kids don’t have to get dragged to watch the music that you are dying to see, and you don’t have to miss any acts because your child understandably does not want to.
Other family-friendly festivals that you may want to consider are Womad, Camp Bestival, Green Man and Just So – Just So in particular is completely geared towards children.
Chinese New Year
For those that live in a city or its surrounding area then a visit to China Town in February should be seriously considered. The Chinese celebrate their New Year in style, with a lively parade and live performances being the norm.
Not only is it fun and something different, it is a cultural experience that neither you nor your child would have experienced before. Seeing all these happy people wish one another “Kung Hei Fat Choi” (Happy New Year) would give both you and your child lasting memories. It also gives you the chance to try some of the more traditional delicacies rather than just beef in black bean.
It is important that we introduce our children to different cultures from a young age, and there is no better way, or enjoyable way, than the Chinese New Year celebrations. With the How To Train Your Dragon films being very popular with the children of today you’d feel that children would enjoy the parade profusely.
Chinese New Year 2015 falls on February 19 and it will be the Year of the Goat.
These are just three major events that are taking place in 2015. All are great but the most important thing is just spending time with your child. Nowadays they grow up too fast. Before you know it they are technologically savvy and the wonder of youth is lost.
Some people may say that it is “cringey” to say make every minute count. These people have obviously never had children. Childlike wonder is the most beautiful thing in the world and by pandering to it by taking them somewhere is where memories are made.
As long as your make the time for your children in 2015, you will all have a fantastic time.
Last weekend saw the Bass family pack up the car, wave goodbye to Abbie at the kennels and head for the M5 and down the country to Devon. We haven’t been away since our trip to Disneyland Paris so we were so ready for a break, although it did mean I had to miss a couple of days from university, which I felt bad about.
We arrived at Ladram Bay, a beautiful part of South Devon, nestled between Exmouth and Sidmouth and were shown to our stunning Sea View Apartment. The video below really doesn’t do it justice, it was stunning and very clean. It even had a dishwasher, I don’t have one of these at home!
The whole site is stunning and well maintained with good amenities. Part of the reason for our trip was so I could sit on the judging panel of the Ladram Bay’s Got Talent finals show for the children and teenager categories. This happen on the first night we were there so after a quick chip shop tea following our arrival, we headed off to the Three Rocks, which is where all the entertainment is held.
I was one of four judges on the night and oh my, there are some very talented youngsters out there, watch out X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, some of these will be heading your way very soon!
The shoreline to this are is amazing and with the stony beach, we didn’t have to worry about sand getting into places you really don’t want it to!
On the Sunday, we headed out after a quick round of crazy golf and revisited the Donkey Sanctuary we went to 6 years ago. This is a great place to visit if you are near by, it is free and there are lots of activities to do there, during the high seasons.
On the way home we called in at a lovely water-mill in the village next to the site, I will do a post on this later this week so watch out.
We had a fantastic family weekend and everyone really enjoyed it, even the teenager!
We love this part of Devon and will be returning very soon.
We received our accommodation free in return for being a judge on the panel, I decided to write this review as a thank you for the great time we had. All opinions are entirely our own.
With the weather finally turning to feel more autumnal, you may be wondering when you will feel the warmth of the sun on your skin again. If waiting till next summer is too painful to comprehend, why not look at the many ways you can get some winter sun and fun in the next few moths.
Many people may be thinking about a skiing holiday and yes this is a great way to get away from the usual stresses this time of year brings as well as a great way to get some exercise and sun on the slopes. Ski-ing is something I have dreamt of doing for many years and I am hoping to realise this dream in the very near future. Popular ski-ing destinations include France, Austria and Canada.
If you fancy not only catching some winter sun but visiting a few different places at the same time, Mediterranean cruises are perfect for this. You can spend the days at sea exploring the boat or sun bathing on deck and then the days you are in port, discover new and exciting places you never knew existed. Make a holiday unique to who you are and make the most of your holiday.
Picture celebrating Christmas on a beach in the sun, yes you really can do this and I’m sure there won’t be a turkey in sight! Lounging on a sun-kissed beach sounds like to perfect place to open gifts and spend time with family and there are many destinations that will help you create a Christmas you won’t forget from the Caribbean to Hawaii or even if sun isn’t what you are looking for, why not go somewhere nearer to home like Italy or Spain.
France is a great destination for any kind of family. Whatever interests you have as individuals or as a collective, you’ll find ways to match those interests on a holiday in France. And as it’s only a short ferry crossing on the other side of the Channel – and even quicker with a Chunnel crossing – you can go for just a few days if that’s all the time you have available.
The great outdoors and sport
If your family loves camping, there’s no better place to go than France. As well as all the private campsites in touristy areas that have amazing facilities for sports, great swimming pools and entertainment and activities for kids of all ages, almost every town in France will also have a ‘camping municipal’. These are campsites run by the local communes and though they won’t always have the extra facilities, they are always well-maintained and are often located just on the outskirts of a town so you can walk or cycle into it easily.
A great choice for an outdoors activity holiday would be to visit the Verdon Gorge – where an emerald green river runs through a sheer gorge in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Here you can take part in lots of water sports on the river and other pursuits such as canyoning, abseiling and climbing on the walls of the Gorge itself. It’s a great place for an adrenaline-filled holiday.
The biggest annual sporting event in France is the Tour de France and you could easily plan a holiday that takes in some of the route. The route changes each year, but covers a lot of the country and always includes some spectacular climbing races, as well as the sprint sections. Coming up in 2016 there’s also the UEFA Championship, otherwise known as Euro 2016, and this will be hosted by France. The tournament takes place every four years and Euro 2016 will be the next big international football event to follow this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Many footie fans who couldn’t afford a trip to Brazil will be making a journey to France instead. Anyone interested in football betting will probably be aware that the Euro qualifiers are being played this autumn, to whittle 53 nations down to 23 to join host nation France for the finals in June and July 2016. So far, the England team have had a surprise success against Switzerland, so things are looking good for England making it through to the finals. If football’s a big thing in your family, you could combine the two pleasures of football and travel into one trip to France.
Art and culture
It’s difficult to know where to begin with the cultural opportunities in France – there are just too many of them. Visit the chateaux of the Loire region, see beautiful cathedrals in almost any city you care to think of – Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg, Chatres, and Paris to name but a few. And Paris itself is an epicentre of things cultural – from the churches such as Montmatre and Notre Dame cathedral, through to museums such as Le Louvre and the Pompidou Centre, as well as more off-beat attractions such as the Parisian Catacombs and the Sewers of Paris – source of inspiration for Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
Of course, these are just a few examples of what France holds for the visitor. It’s a country that one could return to again and again, year after year, and never run out of things to do and see. It’s no wonder that so many people love going to la belle France.
We all have a big fascination and slight addiction with Lego, I as a child never played much with dolls, instead I much preferred a box of Lego to let my imagination run wild with. This trait has passed down the line and infected my children who have had many (and I mean many) different Lego sets across the years. So when we heard that Lego was moving to the big screen, we couldn’t wait!
We actually didn’t get to see the film on the big screen for many different reasons but have now finally enjoy this totally awesome film in the comfort of our living room!
The Lego movie is one of those films that is great for the whole family, from my 6-year-old right through to their 30 something mother! It is full of action, humor and a lot of wit as well as some amazing Lego building! I especially loved how they integrated real actors, Will Ferril into the movie, which I think gave it a whole different dimension.
So with the October half term just around the corner, I would definitely recommend you adding this to the list of rainy day activities or duvet days!
We were sent a copy of The Lego Movie for the purpose of this review.