As someone that has travelled to Turkey many times, one of the things I love the most is the cuisine and therefore I couldn't believe that the Saray Restaurant in Cardiff has not been on my radar. 

Saray restaurant is located on the bustling City Road which is within walking distance to Cardiff city centre. 'Saray' is the Persian word for Palace which is traditionally a place of amalgamation and honing cuisines from other ruling empires and the restaurant takes this description as inspiration for the service they provide their customers. Their menu boasts a fusion of flavours from traditional Ottoman cuisines with many traditional Turkish tastes to choose from.

Most people I know would think Turkish food was all greasy kebabs and pitta bread but luckily I know differently. Turkish food is all about bringing the family together and sharing freshly made food (especially at breakfast which is a very important meal for them). 

I was invited to a cooking class at the restaurant by one the lovely owner's Selma and also Kelly from Reduced Grub. Before the class I was given a Turkish tea in a beautiful cup whilst I had a chat and got to know two other local bloggers who write at The Globetrotter GP and Welshcakes and Wellies.

First up we were shown how they make their dough. Everything is made fresh in the kitchen which is wonderful to see. We then helped the chef to make Adana kebabs. Adana kebabs are a spicy mincemeat kebab. For ours we had a mixture of lamb mince, onion, chilli, parsley, red pepper and salt. 

We all had a go at shaping the mincemeat mixture onto the very large skewer. You have to squeeze the mixture along the length of the skewer until it is evenly spread out. I was actually a dab hand at this which I was rather impressed with. 

We then made a pide which is a traditional Turkish pizza. You can use meat or vegetarian fillings such as pepperoni, mice meat, feta, spinach etc. I made a mincemeat pide.

I'll be the first to admit I was fairly useless when it came to rolling out the dough and shaping it into an oval, however, the rest of the recipe was easy to do. 

Once everything was cooked it was time for us to sit down and enjoy everything we'd created and more. We tucked into a huge Turkish feast. It was fab to try lots of different dishes and the flavours were truly authentic. We finished off with more Turkish tea and a sweet treat called Kadayif, which is a form of baklava. It was delicious, my mouth is salivating just remembering it.

I had a wonderful time at Saray and would definitely recommend it. My husband and I called in one evening last week to pick up a takeaway kebab each which was the best one I have eaten in Cardiff. So much fresher and flavoursome than anywhere else and the portion was huge. We are also planning to have my birthday meal there next week as hubby has been desperate to try more of the menu out as I haven't stopped raving about how good it is there. 

Have you tried Turkish food before?

*Thank you to Saray for inviting me to the cookery class. All opinions are my own*

Divorce can be completely devastating for everyone involved, but adults are generally more able to cope with a breakup than the children who are caught in the crossfire. If you aren’t careful, your kids can become seriously distressed when your marriage breaks down. That’s why it is so important that you step up your parenting game and fo, even more, to keep your kids safe, healthy and happy during and after a divorce.

If you’re getting divorced and you’re not sure how best you can support your kids through the ordeal, and make it, so it isn’t so much of an ordeal after all, here are some useful tips:

Keep it Amicable

The best thing you can do for your kids and yourself is to keep your divorce amicable. You should probably still hire divorce lawyers like Austin Kemp Solicitors to handle the proceedings, just because it’s simpler and more efficient that way, but you should resolve with your partner not to argue, fight or play dirty because, in the end, it will only hurt you and the kids. You should be particularly careful not to argue in front of the children who will be anxious enough as it is knowing that their small world is about to change forever.

Be Nice

On a related note, you should never stoop to bad mouthing your ex to the kids or talking about him in a derogatory way when your kids are around. All this will do is upset them, and it could even cause the relationship between them to breakdown. That might not seem like such a bad thing when you’re going through a divorce, and you don’t like your ex much, but you will end up regretting it because it will damage your kids.

Where it is at all possible, you should always ensure that your children have access to both parents. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should split your time equally with them - and that might not be practical - but your kids should know that they can and will see both of you on a regular basis, so they don’t have to worry about that.

Reassure Them

It’s not uncommon for children to think that it’s their fault that their parents’ marriage has broken up. You need to reassure them that isn’t the case perhaps by explaining your reasons for divorce in the simplest, most child-friendly way as possible. You should also both take the time to reassure them that you both still love them and no matter what else happens that will never change.

Be Prepared for Future Questions

As kids get older, they often have more questions about your divorce. You need to be prepared for this, and willing to answer any and all questions they may have even if it’s five years down the line from now. The more open you are, the easier it will be for your kids to understand and respect your divorce without blaming themselves in any way.

Do these things, and keep your kids’ lives as normal as you possibly can, and they will get through the divorce okay, as will you!

*This is a collaborative post*

It’s fair to say that we’re a family that travel A LOT. From the first time I took our son home to meet family when he was four months old, to travelling 6000 miles to Northwest America, we have covered some distance and it’s not going to stop any time soon. We’ve done everything from all-inclusive package holidays to a fly-drive road trip in America. And while there is nothing wrong with package holidays, we no longer go for these types of holidays.
When Kerry proposed that I write about our favourite family holidays I got stuck. I’ll be honest we’ve had some great ones since we swapped all-inclusive pool holidays for more adventurous ones. So, to pick our favourites is hard. So, I thought I’d highlight three of our favourite holidays and tell you why I’ve chosen them. I’m sure they are going to change in the years to come.
Our Top Three Favourite Family Holidays:
I have to admit, that when friends of ours suggested a lake-side holiday and then suggested Slovenia, I wasn’t so sure. I knew nothing about the country nor Lake Bled, the area we would be staying. But we were up for it and I’m so glad they made the decision for us. Slovenia and Lake Bled were a real surprise. Nestled in the Julian Alps, Lake Bled is a stunning lake around which the town of Bled is situated. After a bit of a bumpy start with our then 18-month old son, it turned out to be the holiday that changed how we viewed family holidays.
Before that we had firmly been in the package-holiday camp. For this holiday, flights were booked separately from accommodation and we had to find that via an AirBnB-type website, although it wasn’t an AirBnB at the time. Car hire was a must and excursions were investigated once we were there. But it ended up being one of the best holidays we’ve had as a family.
The lake was stunning and there was lots to do around it for families with children of all ages. We swam in the lake among the fish, we took the pletna (gondola-type boat) to the island with the church, visited Bled Castle, saw the amazing Postojna Caves, visited Lake Bohinj and ate the famous Bled cake, which you simply have to try. Hubby and our friends enjoyed some tobbogan runs along the mountainside that overlooks the mountain, while our friends also enjoyed some tree top rope walking.
Slovenia is a stunning country with some of the most welcoming and friendly people we’ve had the pleasure in meeting, and I cannot wait to return when our son is older to enjoy some of the more adult-type adventures and experiences.

New York
We visited New York as a family when our son was just two and a half years old. My husband and I had longed to visit the Big Apple but somehow never made it pre-kids. Then, afterwards, we felt we’d have to wait until our son was older before embarking on a flight across the Atlantic. That is, until we made a split decision one evening and booked flights and accommodation. My sister-in-law had been with her teenage sons and seeing her Snapchat coverage made our longing to visit New York even stronger. My other sister-in-law reminded me she had been with twin girls and then three under 2, and we thought, yeah why not, we can do it too. 
New York started off a bit of a mixed bag, with horrendous downpours on our first full day there. It really dampened our spirits and we spent a soggy morning walking the streets of NYC before deciding to quit and spend the rest of the day in our AirBnB. The weather changed the next day and we had a fun-filled day which was in stark contrast to the previous. We visited Ground Zero, rode a ferry around Manhattan Island and saw the Statue of Liberty, and finished off the day with a stroll through Central Park. On our final day we went up the Empire State Building after an awesome breakfast in a real American diner around the corner from it. Although we weren’t in New York for very long, we ticked off everything we wanted to see and came away knowing we’d return one day.

Portland to Yellowstone and back again
Our first proper road trip holiday saw us cover over 3000 miles and 60+ hours in the car and was a trip that left us wanting to do a lot more road trips. We had always longed to visit Yellowstone National Park, but it felt like it was a bucket list destination that we would visit in years to come. Having just visited New York, and loved it, we decided to be spontaneous again and investigated flights and car hire in order to combine seeing Yellowstone with Portland, Oregon. When I discovered that Delta was doing direct flights from Heathrow to Portland our minds were made up. 
Flights were booked, car hire was sorted, accommodation was secured, and our epic USA road trip was on. And what a trip it turned out to be. Yellowstone is just out of this world and there are not enough powerful words to describe it. On our last evening driving out of the park, both my husband and I were simply lost for words. We were treated to an incredible sunset as we left the park for the last time, and I must admit, I was welling up. Yellowstone had everything you could wish for in a holiday and is somewhere we will return in the future.
From Yellowstone we visited smoky Montana. Smoky because there were raging wildfires all across the state and visibility was poor. It meant we had to change our plans of visiting one of the national forest, but we found other things to spend our time doing and we ended up enjoying three awesome days there before moving on to Portland.
And what can I say about Portland. It was the cool and hip, trendy city we had envisaged it would be and there were loads of things to do with kids which meant our son ended the trip on a high note. We visited the Zoo, went to our first Children’s Museum and even enjoyed the Science Museum, which was right up my street, being an ex-scientist and all. The two weeks flew by and it gave us a real passion for road trips, so much so we’re planning our next one for the summer!

Those, so far, are our top three favourite family holidays. From the lakeside shores of Lake Bled, to the bright lights of New York, to stunning Yellowstone National Park, these are the three holidays that stand out in our minds when you say, pick your favourites.
Thank you for posting your favourite family holidays Cath. Cath is an Irish expat who now lives in Portugal with her husband and son. A former scientist, she gave up working when they emigrated south from the UK. She is a family travel and lifestyle blogger and hopes that, through her blog, they will inspire more families to travel, especially with the toddlers in tow. As a family they love travelling and have started working their way through their family travel bucket list. Cath writes about their family travels and experiences on her blog BattleMum.

You can follow their adventures here:

How serious do you take your body in general. Do you look in the mirror and think it’s a work of art. Or do you look in the mirror and think ‘oh man, I shouldn’t have ate that pack of biscuits last night’. You’re either one or the other, there’s no inbetween. The people who believe their body is a work of art are often in denial as well, purely due to the fact we’re ruining our bodies in so many different ways. So, now that we can all agree we’ve put off putting our health first for the first four months of the year, it’s time to get real about or bodies and truly make a difference, here’s how.

Hit The Gym

Hitting the dreaded gym. To some people hitting the gym just isn’t an option. Not because they don’t want to, but because anxiety can get the better of a lot of people. Gyms are intimidating places to the novice, and if this sounds like you then you’re going to benefit from semi private personal training. It is the perfect way to make sure you’re getting in your time with exercise, whilst also doing it around other people. The main benefit is that you’re being taken out of that intimidating gym environment but getting used to training around other people. As your confidence grows, you can start doing your own training sessions at the gym. Then you can start focusing on a routine and building up your core strength, then work to achieving your goals. It could be to tone up, just to lose weight, or to get into the art of bodybuilding.

Smash The Diet

If you’re going to smash the gym, then you’re going to need to focus on your diet if you don’t want to undo any of the hard work that you might be doing. But to most people, the thought of going dieting is the hardest part. So, we’re here to tell you dieting isn’t all about eating leaves and veg once a day to slim down. It’s about calorie controlling your diet, cutting out foods high in sugars and fats, and letting healthy foods into your diet. There are so many yummy meals you can make that will help you do this, it’s not all about vegetables and lettuce leaves! Do a bit of research and find some meals that suit you, or even see if you’d be able to follow a diet such as the paleo diet!

Change Your Ways

To change your ways, you first need to admit your ways are bad. If you’re someone who smokes, that’s got to go. There are so many vapes on the market that will help you do this! If you’re someone who drinks heavy on the weekend, cut back to a cheeky glass every now and then. It isn’t just diet and fitness that determines the outcome of our body, it’s what we’re doing to it on a bigger scale.

So, do you now feel like you’re ready to get real about your body?

*This is a collaborative post*

Hello everyone! I'm Laura (L), one half of The CSI Girls, a blog written by two friends based in South Wales. We share our love of beauty and travel on our lifestyle blog and I jumped at the chance at writing a guest post for the lovely Kerry Norris about one of my favourite places.

Last year I went on a solo adventure to Croatia and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've wanted to go since my brother went and told me how beautiful Split was, and after finding a sailing adventure with a group I couldn't resist adding that on too!

Croatia is a beautiful country and I'd recommend it to anyone who was thinking of visiting, there's plenty to do for the young adventurers, romantic city breaks and holidays for families. Here are my top 5 reasons you should visit Croatia:

1) Stunning natural scenery - there are so many different landscapes in Croatia to feast your eyes on but of particular interest to me were the waterfalls. There are a few different National Parks to visit but I had to go to the most popular, Plitvice Lakes. It's one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and it's worth spending the day there walking along the path and finding the waterfalls.

2) Wine - As part of the sailing tour we went wine tasting on the Peljesac Peninsula. It was a surprise to me but Croatia has a big wine business and we visited three different types of vineyards with wine tasting on one afternoon.

I obviously enjoyed tasting the different types of wine and schnapps they had to offer! But it was also really interesting to learn the various histories of the vineyards and the families behind them.

3) Great seafood - having a large amount of coastline there is a massive abundance of seafood as you would expect. It's freshly caught every day and is the best thing you can eat!

Take advantage of the black risotto, made with a variety of fresh fish and black squid ink to give it its colour (and it comes with great wine!) and the calamari. It's all so tasty you really can't go wrong!

4) The Islands - on the sailing tour we visited a number of the islands and each one was totally different and greatly added to the trip.

There was Vis, a military island which still has the old tunnels you can walk through where the cannons were kept. It's also where the latest Mamma Mia was filmed so you can see how gorgeous it is too! 
There is also Korcula with the beautiful old town charm, Mjlet containing a national park perfect for active adventures and Parmizana with the beautiful beach clubs just ready for the most glamorous of beach parties and stunning sunsets. 

5) Old Town charm - Croatia is full of the most beautiful 'Old Towns'. They seem to be in every place I went to, including Split, Hvar, Korcula and the main one, Dubrovnik.

The orange tiled roofs and old stone buildings, the overall effect is so beautiful. And in all of them the little winding sidestreets and alleyways hide the cutest little shops and restaurants! They are all well worth exploring and finding some hidden gems.

 I hope this has inspired you to want to visit Croatia, if you're looking for any further information please feel free to check out my posts on each of these and send me any questions you have!

L xxx

Thank you so much for the guest post Laura. You can keep up to date with the CSI girls on the following social media:
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