Saturday, 24 June 2017

How to be a Proper Blogger

Roses in vase and notebooks
I have nearly reached five years of blogging and, during that time, my approach to blogging has changed dramatically. I started blogging purely because I like writing. I didn't consider making money from it for a good three years. After that, it sort of happened accidentally and I now enjoy the fact that I can make money from doing something I love. The downside is, it's been a major contributor in changing the way I blog and the way I think about blogging. Over time I've become more interested in whether I'm blogging 'properly'. I look at other bloggers, and I wonder if I should be blogging more like them, if I could be more professional, perhaps. These are my thoughts on 'proper' blogging.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Swansea Beach Review and General Thoughts

I decided to review Swansea seafront after visiting over the weekend. It was different in many ways to other beaches we've visited, for good and bad reasons, so I really felt it would be useful to note down a few points for anyone who is considering going. Swansea is the second largest city in Wales, with over 260 shops, and 25 car parks, so it's easy to forget that it is also home to a pretty impressive stretch of coastline. However, if you are thinking of making a visit to the beach, there are a few things you might need to know, particularly if you have little ones, or anyone elderly or infirm in your travelling party. We've been to Swansea, and here's what we learned.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Snooker, a Cheap and Fun All Weather Family Activity

A face framed with a snooker triangle
I don't know about you, but we really struggle sometimes to think of new ideas for places to go on rainy days. Sometimes, even in the summer, it seems to rain for days and days and boredom sets in for everybody. I think, as a family, it's important to try to get out of the house as much as possible, in order to get away from all the distractions. Everyone relaxes more outside the home; the grown ups can't think about housework, DIY and other chores and the screentime thing doesn't have to be an issue with the children, so everyone wins. This doesn't have to be a 'dad and lad' activity, but for us it definitely was, as part of the 'Please bring the boy back when he's tired' initiative. Thus, the boys took the photos. *sigh*

Sunday, 11 June 2017

My Sunday Photo: A Final Memory

This was the last photo my dear friend and fellow blogger Lynn ever sent me. I think it's stunning and I wanted to share it so that everyone could see how amazing she was. She will be missed by so many and this photo shows how she could light up a room. 


Saturday, 10 June 2017

5 Ways to Save Money in Iceland

Skogar Folk Museum, IcelandDo you remember when the Dismaland exhibit opened in Weston-super-Mare and I couldn't go, so instead, I asked my intrepid explorer friend Mel, from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover to tell you all about it? Well, she now has a travel blog, where she documents her adventures as she explores the globe with her husband. When I mentioned how keen I was to go to Iceland, but how expensive it was reputed to be, she sent over this rather brilliant budget guide on how to save money in Iceland. There's some great advice in here, as well as some fascinating shots of the island. Come for the tips, stay for the stunning photographs! 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Mason's Arms Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery Review

Boy on Slide
About three miles north of the Almondsbury interchange, on the A38 in Rudgeway, stands a little pub. The Mason's Arms has been there for as long as I can remember, but recently it's had a pretty spectacular makeover. Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery own 77 outlets across the country and The Mason's is one of their most recent acquisitions. As a regular visitor before it changed hands, I was amazed at the transformation. Gone were the dated, split level sections and in their place; clean lines, bright colours and fresh paint. We were invited to dine for free, in return for our honest review, so we were keen to find out if it lived up to our new-found expectations!

Monday, 5 June 2017

When Your Best Friend Dies

I've been very lucky in my life. The only people who have passed from it, have been older relatives. Now, as much as there is never a good time to go, it's a little easier to come to terms with when you have lots of good times to remember, you know they had a long and happy life and contributed a lot to the world. They will be remembered because they made their mark; in their profession, through their clubs and hobbies, on their friends and colleagues. Everyone will say 'Oh yes, lovely chap, had a good innings' and, after the initial loss, you can at least have that little crumb of comfort, they got the best out of life. Then, your best friend dies. Very suddenly and very young, and all of that changes.

Beautiful Bowood House and Gardens - Review

Bowood House
Bowood is somewhere that I remember going as a child and I have wanted to visit again ever since. I remember it being very beautiful and having lovely gardens, as well as a stunning lake. There is also an imposing stately home too, which I knew Phil would love, as he is a massive history buff. It's situated in Calne, in Wiltshire and is famous for its rhodedendrons, which are available to view at an additional cost. There is also a private walled garden that you can pay extra to visit. So, we set off in the middle of half term through the country lanes of Wiltshire to Bowood House and Gardens. This is our review of what we found there and if it lived up to my wonderful memories!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

SS Great Britain - Step Aboard and Back in Time

SS Great Britain Flags and Chimneys
The SS Great Britain has always been one of our favourite Bristol attractions. What I love about it, is that it is perfect for all weathers. The deck is gorgeous in the summer sun, but if it rains, there is plenty to see undercover. We haven't been for a while now, though and I had wondered if it would still appeal to L now that he is older. We took Phil along this time, too, and he hadn't been since he was at school. What I noticed was that, we all got something different out of it and there was something for everyone. We were lucky with the weather this time, it was really warm and sunny, although it did make the Dry Dock a bit humid, it was like the tropical house at the zoo! I suppose all that glass will do that...

8 Pet Hates - What gets my Goat!

Happy GoatThis is the epitomy of a #FirstWorldProblems post, but it's not to be taken seriously. I'm writing it for fun and I am totally aware that none of life's little niggles are comparable to all the bad things in the world, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for some lighthearted Mr Meldrew-style moaning about life's little imperfections. I will be inviting other bloggers (or non-bloggers, if you fancy a go) to write their own 8 pet hates, but, to start us off, here's mine. Let me know if you'd like to contribute, in a comment, or through my contact page. I'd love to see what gets other people's goats! 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Review: Gangsta Granny at the Bristol Hippodrome

Granny and Ben on Mobility Scooter
We were absolutely thrilled to be asked to review Gangsta Granny, the stage adaptation of David Walliams' fantastic book. We love going to the theatre and, having read all the David Walliams books, L couldn't wait to see how it transferred to the stage. I wasn't worried about a children's show being less appealing for the grown ups. Walliams has proven to be a visual comic genius and there is no way he was going to let us down in the laugh department. I was not disappointed and neither was L. He was absolutely transfixed for the whole two hours and so was every other child in the nearly full theatre.
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