As I sit here browsing travel companies for holiday inspiration for us this year, I can't help but look at what we can't afford, what the dream would be shall we say. If we had huge amounts of money we would be travelling the world as much as possible.

In order to actually win big, I would have to play the lottery. I am rubbish at remembering to actual go into a shop and buy a ticket but with Lottoland I can play from the comfort of my own home. Lottoland is a lottery betting website (so you make a bet on the result of the official lottery draw) which allows you to bet on different lotteries from around the world. You pick the numbers that you think will be drawn and if you guess correctly, you can win big money prizes depending on how many numbers you got right.

So back to the dreaming. Here is where we'd travel if money wasn't an issue:

Maldives
The Maldives was on our honeymoon list but in the end we chose Hawaii. It is definitely somewhere we want to visit and to stay in one of the overwater beach bungalows would be a dream come true. All of the resorts look idyllic. 



Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has been on my bucket list for a very long time. It looks such a beautiful country. I'd love to see some of the Buddhist ruins and sample the local cuisine. 



Hawaii
Even though we have been to Hawaii before, we only stayed on the island of Kauai. We would love to visit the rest as it's one of the best places we've visited. It is so laid back.



Santorini
Santorini looks stunning. It must be one of the most instagrammable countries in the world. I'd love to stay in a room with a pool on the balcony.



Lapland
We would love to take the children to Lapland to visit Santa but it is so expensive, even for just one day. They would love it there. It would be amazing to be able to go for a few days and experience more that it has to offer.



Brazil
I've always dreamed of seeing the carnival in Brazil and soaking up some rays on the Copacabana.



Dubai:
Even though we've been to Dubai before, if money was no object then we would return and stay in ultimate luxury such as the Burj Al Arab.


I'm sure there are many more destinations I would visit. What would be on your travel bucket list if you won the lottery?

*This is a collaborative post with Lottoland*

Travelling is exciting, exhilarating, educational and expands your perspective on the different cultures on our planet. Whether you are travelling alone, with friends or with your family it is essential to consider the safety aspects of travelling to different parts of the world. This article aims to give pointers to maintaining safe travel in specific countries.


Before you embark on any form of travel it is important to get travel insurance that covers you for the duration. Travel insurance costs will depend on the country you’re visiting, your age and existing medical conditions. You can get specific insurance relevant to your age bracket, for example some companies offer  travel insurance for over 70s. It is important to be very exact when informing travel insurance companies of your medical conditions, age and country of travel to avoid any complications if you have to make a claim.

Once you have your travel insurance in place it is important to find out if you need to have any vaccinations to prevent you from contracting disease and infection from the area in which you’re travelling. Travel vaccinations will cover you for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A, but will only be required if you’re travelling to countries in continents such as South America and Africa. Check with your travel company and medical practitioner for guidance.  

Many countries experience crime that are specific to their areas and whilst travelling we need to ensure we are fully aware of how to stay safe.

Mexico
Mexico is a wonderful country to visit with many attractions to offer. Tourists are drawn to the diversity of the country that can offer amazing beaches, jungles, major cities and colourful fiestas.

Mexico however unfortunately presents a fair amount of risk to the tourist too. The Mexican government has made a great deal of effort to lower crime in the major tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Los Cabos, however there were a number of shooting incidents in these areas in 2017.

If you travel away from the tourist destinations, it is essential to research properly the ares to avoid. Drug crime has increased and is often gang related.

Crime and violence is a big threat to tourists in Mexico and it advisable to only travel during daylight hours. Theft on public transport is common and if driving it is a better option to only drive on the toll roads, thus avoiding isolated roads where possible. Keep windows and doors locked.

Political demonstrations can often turn quite volatile, so avoidance of large crowds is a necessity. Keep a close eye on local media, to say alert.

If you intend to partake in watersports whilst in Mexico, check the equipment is up to date and well maintained. Also ask to see insurances and licenses.

Europe
Europe is made up of many countries all with their own levels of crime, however Europe has hit the headlines in recent years due to the threat of terrorism. In reality the risk of terrorism is no higher than elsewhere in the world. Many articles and maps have placed parts of Europe as being at a high threat of terrorism, these countries include the UK, France, Germany and Spain. The governments of these countries have their own systems of monitoring terrorism and have become extremely security aware at airports, large events, shopping centres and major tourist cities. Extra vigilance by tourists is encouraged.

Travelling in Europe is relatively safe, however it is important to be aware of the possibility of theft from pickpockets and scams carried out by bogus taxi drivers. Pickpocketing is rife in major tourist cities such as Rome, Barcelona and London and is carried out in gangs. Tips for maximising safety would be to try and blend in, in other words don’t carry expensive camera equipment and handbags. Use money belts and prepaid money cards to keep any money lost to a minimum. Ensure pockets, coats and bags remain zipped and keep vigilant at all times. It would be a good idea to keep all valuables and travel documents in the hotel safe.

Australia


Staying safe doesn’t usually spring to mind when considering a trip to Australia, apart from the risk of theft from pickpockets, which is pretty much apparent in all tourist destinations.
Interestingly most safety aspects to travelling in Australia actually relate to its climate.

Australia boasts a harsh climate to unprepared visitors. The sun is hot and unforgiving, which can cause horrific sunburn if care is not taken. There are also numerous poisonous creatures that live in Australia that have venom strong enough to kill.

The outdoor lifestyle can cause safety hazards too, as more tourists attempt extreme sports without proper tuition. This is apparent with the number of drownings that happen each year.

With due care and attention and having a respect for the climate, Australia is a wonderful country to visit and stay safe.

This is only a small snapshot of the potential safety issues that can occur when travelling. Obviously a lot more research is needed when travelling to countries in Africa or the middle east. Some areas are no longer accessible to tourists due to them being unsafe, this can change often and it’s a good idea to check tourist information regarding any country you wish to travel before booking.

Always make photocopies of your insurances and travel documents before travelling and also ensure you have relevant telephone numbers to ask for assistance if needed. Make sure you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay, but don’t travel with cash as your sole source. Credit cards and prepaid cards are a safer option.

When you arrive at your destination take note of where the local medical facilities are, as well as how to call for emergency assistance. These points are particularly important if you’re an independent traveller without the security of a travel company.  

Once you have considered how to stay safe and you have put things in place to stay as safe as possible it is time to relax and enjoy your holiday!

*This is a collaborative post*
  

It's been a long time since I featured #beinthepicture over on my blog which is such a shame. I seem to have neglected it over the last few months but with it being a new year, I thought i'd start doing a weekly favourites post.

For those of you that haven't heard of #beinthepicture, it is an instagram hashtag that myself and Alana from Baby Holiday created. It is designed to encourage you to get in-front of the camera as opposed to behind it. I used to always be the one taking the pictures and I was never in them myself. 

You can use the hashtag on any pictures that feature you whether that be fashion, parenting, travel, with your partner etc. You name it, we want to see it.

Each week i'll be picking my favourites and showcasing them here in a blog post. 


First up this week is this gorgeous pic of the lovely Alex who you can follow here, https://www.instagram.com/alex_gladwin/. Alex and her family always have beautiful pictures but this one of just her and her husband caught my eye this week. I never get enough pictures with my hubby so this has inspired me to get more.



Next up is another fab picture of a couple which is by https://www.instagram.com/dilan_andme/. I adore the lighting in this, it's just perfect. She also wrote a blog post to go with the picture which is such a sweet read.




This fun family shot was by Colette at https://www.instagram.com/goingonanadventureblog/. I just love how silly it is, they all look so happy.


A post shared by Colette B (@goingonanadventureblog) on

This next picture by Rachel Anne at https://www.instagram.com/rachelanne_bee/ has had my ovaries beating. It is so beautiful. 




The last picture that I have chosen this week belongs to Helen at https://www.instagram.com/treasureeverym/. Helen always takes lovely pictures and this one was super cute. I miss the baby wearing days.






The favourite from my own account that i've shared this week would have to be the one below. I've been a bit slow at posting over there this week so there wasn't many to choose from.


Time for a change!! I’ve always been honest and open about my mental health and last year I suffered, especially towards the end of last year. I was always so busy that I had no time for myself and I completely burnt out. This year I’m going to take more time for some self care. I need to remember to look after me and set some time aside in my day to do just that. My gorgeous new watch from @icewatch will serve as my reminder to set time aside for myself and practice self care. More on that over on my latest blog post. P.S I’ve made a mental note to tan my face next time I go on holiday. It appears to be a completely different colour to the rest of my body 😂😂🤦🏻‍♀️ #ukparentbloggers #lbloggers #asseenonme #styleinspo #momblogger #lifecloseup #wiwt #fbloggers #ad #parentingtruth #mumstyle #momstyle #icewatch #parenthoodunplugged #motherhoodrising #motherhoodsimplfied #motherhoodunplugged #portraitphotography #motherhoodinstyle #mentalillness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #pnd #pndchat #pndawareness #postnataldepression #postnataldepressionsupport #postnataldepressionawareness #beinthepicture

Make sure you join in with #beinthepicture over on instagram and also follow it to see everyone's pictures. 
A post shared by Kerry Norris (@kerrylouisenorris) on
https://unsplash.com/photos/oCdVtGFeDC0

The family holiday is something that all kids look forward to during the school holidays. Parents, too, are excited for this week or two away from the temperamental weathers of home, but are also worried about the stress that comes with it.

You want your kids to remember these family holidays as some of the best times of their childhood, so ensuring that such holidays are something that they will look back on in the future with fond memories, and hope to provide their children with the same experiences is crucial.

The world is a lot smaller than it once was. Where families used to visit the nearest beach or lake or resort within their country, now, we have the opportunity to travel all across the globe to whatever destination we might fancy. But with such possibilities available, how do you decide?

SUN

We all love a beachy, sunkissed holiday destination. There is such a myriad of beautiful locations worldwide to entice you to bask on their shores and top up your tan and relax with a cocktail, or mocktail, for the kids, as the day washes away.

So where to go? Your family could choose to explore the sun-strong tranquillity of any of Europe’s top beaches, or further afield, perhaps sip on coconut shakes in Southeast Asia. If you come from a place where the sun is nought but a myth most of the year, then letting your child splash through turquoise oceans and building sandcastles all day long will give them a taste of paradise. Just be wary that they may never want to leave.

SNOW

Taking your child up into the mountains of any of the vast snowsport destinations available is an excellent way of inspiring them with a love for adrenaline.

If it is their first time, finding beginner classes is an excellent way of getting them started. They will hopefully be able to tackle some of the more accessible slopes by the end of the week, while you and your partner enjoy the rush of wind and snowdrift during the day, and getting in a little apres-ski at the end.

Researching the best family holiday destinations to get your kids onto the slopes and carving down the mountain in style will give you an excellent idea of the prices and locations available throughout the year. While skiing and snowboarding take time to master, once they’ve hit that level your kids will be asking you when they can go next. It’s like Christmas, just at any time of the year.

ADVENTURE

Adventure comes in many forms. If your kids seem to have a bit of the wilderness about them, then taking them out into nature for a week or two of camping is ideal for teaching them how to appreciate and care for the planet.

Furthermore, the fresh air, exercise and plethora of activities will keep everyone busy, so there’s no risk of boredom, and you can end the day around the campfire toasting marshmallows and telling stories.

Or, if the wilderness isn’t your thing, consider appealing to their inner Disney prince and princess, by treating them to an adventure of a different kind. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth for good reason, and letting your children meet their heroes will be sure to fill them with joy and magic that they won’t be able to stop talking about. Sampling the many roller coasters and rides on offer around the parks will also be heaps of fun. Just be prepared to feel exhausted at the end of the day.

CULTURE

Teaching your children about different cultures is essential towards moulding them into accepting and curious people. Many families choose to go the generic route of familiarity. But, consider whisking your children away to some of the most fascinating and unusual places on the planet.

These destinations have the potential to open your child’s mind and expand their ideas about what the world is like. Furthermore, the will be able to sample the local cuisine, basking in the culture of what may feel is like a whole other world. These experiences might just inspire your kids to search far and wide as they get older and get them bitten by the travel bug that is hard to shake.

READY, JET SET, GO!

Wherever you choose for your next holiday, you need to make it count. Some parents decide to surprise their kids an only inform them of where they are going on the day. But if the kids have one thing in mind - remember when you promised them Disneyland if they got straight As? No? Well, they do - this could lead to disappointment.

However, discussing your holiday plans with them first can save a lot of drama late on. Getting them excited before they go will make the whole trip that much more enjoyable, and allow them to create memories that will last them a lifetime.

*This is a collaborative post*
We recently flew on Etihad airlines A380 to Abu Dhabi and Australia from London Heathrow. We flew with our two girls who are aged 5 and 2. Here's our review of our experience of flying with them with young children.

Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

Seat Selection:
We were able to preselect our seats upon booking at no extra cost. The layout was 3-4-3 so we chose to sit in a row of 4 towards the back of the plane. 

Checking in:
Checking in was all very straight forward apart from in Sydney. We waited in a very long queue (for over an hour) and were not offered to check in at any other desks (such as business or first, which were empty). This was a long time to try and keep young children entertained in a long queue. There were also other families with young children who were also struggling with the long wait.

Boarding:
We were allowed priority boarding which was very handy with small children. It's so much easier not waiting in the massive queue to board as you can get on the plane and get them settled and familiar with their surroundings as quick as possible.

Children's Fun Pack:
The children were gifted with fun packs before the flight took off. On the shorter, Abu Dhabi flights these were a colouring pack which was shaped like a suitcase. On the longer, Sydney flights these were bags with colouring inside. My eldest daughter loved the bag and carried it around everywhere on our holiday. 

Comfort:
There was plenty of room around the seat area for young children. You can easily place their bags under the chair in-front of them which still left room for them to stand up etc. We sat the girls next to each other in the middle of our row of 4. When they were ready to sleep we could lift up their arm rests so they could stretch out and lay down, side by side.


Blankets and pillows were provided. The blankets were much nicer than any other airlines we have been on. They were soft and very big.

The plane itself was large. We could walk around the toilet area to stretch our legs without feeling cramped. 

Entertainment:
The entertainment system was a large touch screen display. It also had touch screen remote control. There was a section on the entertainment system designed for children which was designed like a town that the kids could swipe through. There were tv shows, movies, music and games.


There wasn't a great choice of movies or tv shows for the children which we were quite disappointed with compared to what was on offer for adults. More needs to be done in this area.

There were cameras on the plane located at the front, underneath and on the tail which you could watch on the screen. The girls enjoyed watching the plane take off and land.

Service:
All of the staff were excellent with the children. They all interacted with them and they made them feel welcome. 

Food:
Meals were served twice on both flights and also a snack was provided. The children's meals were served about 30 minutes before everyone else's. The trays took a long time to be cleared and the children's trays were only cleared with the adults which was annoying as the kids had tended to finish their food before we received ours and we were then left trying to stack the trays up on our tables for hours.

There was a good selection on the tray such as a hot meal, salad sticks (carrots etc) with dip, desert, drink, chocolate and more. Both of the girls enjoyed their meals. They also enjoyed their snack of a sandwich.


When we were looking for more snacks (especially during the 13.5 hour flight to Sydney) there wasn't a great deal of choice. There were only muffins. It would have been good to see a bigger variety on offer with fruit and drinks cartons.

Toilets:
The toilets were a good size. I could fit myself and my 5 year old in without feeling too squashed. The changing table was large. They were kept very clean throughout the flight.

Onboard Nanny:
According to their website, there is an onboard nanny who can help provide an extra pair of hands during the flight. They can help settle the children or help keep them entertained if you need a bit of me time.

We did see the Nanny on the flights delivering the kids packs but barely had any interaction. That may be because the nanny felt like we didn't need it perhaps or maybe she was busy down the other end of the plane, who knows.

Overall

Would we fly with Etihad again, yes. They aren't the best from experience but certainly in the top 5. Some improvements on the above would certainly make the flight better but as our flights went without a hitch id say we enjoyed our experience.


Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

**Please note, Etihad did not know I would be writing this blog post. We purchased all of our tickets ourselves. My opinions expressed in this post are my own**





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