Saturday, 6 July 2019

Top Tips to do Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in One Day

We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for one day only. We managed to go in both parks and pretty much did all the rides we wanted to. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of Universal Studios in one day.


1) Buy a Park to Park Ticket
Make sure you buy the park to park ticket which will allow you into both parks via the Hogwarts Express. You could go from Universal Studios to Islands of adventure or the other way around.



2) Get an Express Pass
There is no way we could have done everything we wanted to without the express pass. This enabled us to go into a separate 'quicker' queuing area and bypass those long lines. 

3) Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive
Don't waste precious time you have getting breakfast at the park. Eat before you get there and arrive just before opening.

4) Make Use of the Child Swap
If you have young children that can't ride bigger rides then be sure to make use of the child swap system. Most of the rides have an area where one parent can wait with the children whilst the other rides on the attraction. When the parent finishes the ride they simply swap and the waiting parent heads virtually straight onto the ride. 
The Harry Potter child swap areas were very good as they had tv screens showing Harry Potter films. 


5) Go Midweek
Both parks are always quieter during Monday - Friday. This is usually when kids are in school etc.

6) Go at the Right Time of Year
Where possible try and avoid any school holidays. Remember to check both American and UK holidays to ensure you find the best time.

7) Have a Plan but be Flexible 
Have a rough plan in mind of what you want to do before you arrive including which rides you want to go and what shows you want to see. However, it's important to remember to be flexible too and be prepared to change any plans. If a ride queue is very short when you walk past it, then ride it straight away. Do not wait to follow your plan.


8) Wear Comfortable Shoes
You're going to be on your feet most of the day so make sure you have comfortable shoes. I recommend some form of trainers but wear whatever is going to make sure your feet don't hurt throughout the day. 

9) Have a Quick Lunch
Don't book a sit down table service style meal for lunch (save that for a late dinner). Pop into one of the quick service style restaurants such as the Kwik-E-Mart in The Simpsons area.

10) Don't wait for the front or back seating of rides
We all love to ride the very front or the back of rollercoasters but often those lines are the busiest. If you have more than one day then yes go for it but for one day only I'd advise against it.

I hope these tips are helpful. One thing that is important to remember is that you probably won't have time to get on every single ride and do all of the shows, so go with that idea in your head. If you do manage it then, then that's a bonus but if you don't, then you won't be too disappointed if you've already preempted it. 

*Disclosure - Our one day family park to park tickets with Express Passes were gifted to us by Universal Studios.*




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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Our Kids Demand Our Attention... But We Mustn't Forget Our Parents!

Being a parent is a full-time job. For many of us, it’s a full-time job on top of a full-time job. It’s not just the time and effort that you put into feeding them, caring for them, creating a home that’s healthy, safe and happy or keeping a watchful eye on them where needed. It’s not even the way in which they’re constantly on our minds, even when they’re at nursery or school. It’s the way in which when we look into their smiling faces, it feels as though there’s scarcely enough love in our hearts (or the world) for them, let alone anyone or anything else. 




Parenthood changes us. Quite literally. It reorganises our minds so that even big things like our jobs or our careers can pale in comparison to our parental responsibilities. However, as much as we adore our kids and take our responsibilities as parents seriously, we mustn’t neglect our own parents. They gave us life and made us who we are. They imbued us with skills and knowledge which even know help us to navigate the rigours of adulthood life. 


No matter how up to our elbows we may be in parenting, we can never afford to forget that...


For better or for worse, they made us better parents


Our own parenting style is made up of a “greatest hits” of our Mum and Dad’s parenting style. You’ve taken everything you loved about being a child and ensured that your kids get the same. They may have had some shortcomings or got things wrong (none of us are perfect) but you’ve found ways to improve upon the upbringing they gave you to help your kids get the best of both worlds. For better or for worse, your parents have made you a better parent!


As they get older, it’s up to us to take care of their needs


We’ve relied on our parents throughout our lives, even when we’re all grown up. Even after they’ve given us all we need to start our adult lives, they’ve been there to give us help and advice. They’ve helped us with everything from changing nappies to getting a mortgage.


As they get older, however, they will start to need to rely on us a little more. This may be something as small as driving them to the supermarket or it can be something as big as choosing a nice care home like Porthaven for them when they’re no longer able to look after themselves. The better we stay in touch with them, the better able we are to take care of them when they need us. 


While they’d never admit it, empty nest syndrome is definitely a thing


When we’re all grown up we usually can’t wait  to flee the nest and start our new lives as grown ups. Whether this is moving away to university or getting a place of our own, it can leave an empty nest which may be more jarring and emotional for our parents than they’re prepared to admit. Keeping in touch with our parents as often as possible can be a great way to reduce the effects of empty nest syndrome.


So give Mum a call today or meet up for a coffee this week. Ask Dad if he fancies a trip to the pictures. After all, reminding someone that you love them is never a bad idea!

*This is a collaborative post*

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Sunday, 30 June 2019

5 Reasons to Build a House in Australia

Building a house from scratch in Australia is a dream. It has so many benefits to buying a home that is already built. The thought of it can be daunting and getting around legalities can be a minefield but with expert help from Prime Lawyers, moving should be a breeze.


Here are 5 reasons why you should build your home:

1) You deal directly with the builder
You won't have to deal with a middle man, you will be directly involved with the builder and therefore you know that they will understand exactly what you want as you are dealing with them yourself.


2) You can build your home to suit your lifestyle
If you love games then why not add a games room. If you like reading you could add a room as a library or if watching films is your thing then why not build a snug movie theatre. The world is your oyster. 

3) You can build an environmentally friendly home
If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint then this is the time to do it. This will also help you save money on those dreaded energy bills too. You could add solar panels to your new home home and/or use eco friendly building materials.

4) You are the designer
The best reason to build your own home is that you become the designer. You make decision on everything from the garden to the bedroom. You choose where the walls go, what doors you want, how you want your kitchen, whether you want open plan living or not. You name it, the decision and choices are all yours.


5) It'll be easier to sell down the line
Your built home will be easier to sell in the future (if you ever wanted to) as it'll be unique and it'll stand out from the crowd. It will have fantastic structure and design with all the mod cons that buyers would be interested in.


Have you ever built a home or considered it?

*This is a collaborative post*
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Be in the Picture - Weekly Favourites 10

Welcome back to the Be in the Picture weekly roundup. Once again there were lots of wonderful pictures shared on instagram and I struggled to pick just a few favourites. I could have featured so many. If you missed the last roundup you can catch up with it here, Be in the Picture 9.

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.


This week I chose family pictures. There's been so many lovely family shots over my instagram feed with families on holiday, in flower fields, at the beach etc. 



Here are my favourites:


First up is this stunning floral family pic from Steph at renovationbb.






Next is this fab beach shot from Lauren at @scrapbook.lives




Just look at this stunning photo from Rachel at @illustratedteacup. The colours are perfect.





A few thoughts on the eve of Dexter's birthday. I always imagined I’d mother girls. I guess because I’m one of three girls and have a close resemblance to my own mother. I just figured I’d have girls too. And then I had Henry. And that was great. I’d always wished for an older brother. When I was pregnant the second time around, almost everyone thought I was having a girl until we had a scan to reveal, Dexter, another boy. And I was OK with that. I’m perfectly happy being a mama of boys. In fact I love it. There’s so much to love about two boys. And now I’m at a full year of mothering two boys. Dexter just about turning one years old; to be honest I think this had been the fastest year of my life. A full rotation of the Earth around the Sun, and I’ve had the honour of watching my two boys grow up and start creating a wonderful bond together. More in my blog post... Link in my bio Moral of the story: I love being a mum to my boys. Photos by @heatherlerrynphotography (complimentary - no obligation to share)
A post shared by Rachel / BoyMama + StoryTeller (@illustratedteacup) on

Last up from people that joined in with the hashtag is this adorable one from Emily at @emilyandindiana. I couldn't resist popping some Disney into the roundup as we all know I'm partial to a spot of anything Disney.





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Can you guess what we did today? I couldn’t wait any longer to see Toy Story 4, so I booked us last minute tickets this afternoon (a very risky move with 3 tired kids after a morning swimming..) It was sooo good though and had such a lovely ending! Even Lilah was mesmerised and sat so well throughout! Have you seen it yet? • • • • #mycolourfulkids #motherhoodthroughig #letthembekids #tinybigadventure #myfamilyadventure #myhappycapture #channelmumvillage #littlesnippetsofus #snaphappybritmums #lifecloseup #rememberingthesedays #celebratechildhood #getintheframe #beinthepicture #motherhood_magic #parentsinthepicture #thepeacocksdodisney #disney #disneylandparis #disneylandparis2019 #disneyobsessed #disneylover #dlp #disneygram #instadisney #eurodisney #studiospark #disneystyle #toystory4
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My favourite picture from my own instagram grid (@kerrylouisenorris) was this one taken today on a family picnic.



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Bloody love this pic taken of us today 💕 Even Eva’s over the top cheesy toothless grin lol. I haven’t felt myself in the last couple of weeks which I think has been down to over tiredness, being too busy, being away from the kids, on and the dreaded PMT and Mother Nature lol. Next month is super busy for me again and I’ll be away from my girls for quite a bit with work, uni, weddings and hens. Hate being away from them so much. I just need to sort my time management out, hit the gym more to focus my mind and practice lots of well-being so I don’t burn out. Today we had a lovely few hours together having a picnic and throwing rocks into the sea. It’s these simple days out that always give the fondest memories and leave me with a huge smile on my face. It’s these days I need to think about when life gets too hectic 💗 #meandmineproject #meandmine #lifecloseup #wellbeing #postivevibes #postivethoughts #myhappycapture #beinthepicture #familydayout
A post shared by Kerry Norris (@kerrylouisenorris) on

Make sure you join in with #beinthepicture over on instagram and also follow it to see everyone's pictures. 
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Saturday, 22 June 2019

Keeping Tabs On Your Child

More and more people are capitalising on the possibility of using mobile phone spy software.
Spy software presents many benefits – a lot of which you may not initially think of. One of the main reasons why people use these programs is to make sure their children are being safe online and monitoring their whereabouts. In today’s social media age and digital environment, the safety issues regarding children seem to be increasing by the minute, and so it is understandable that, as a parent, you want to do everything in your power to make sure your child is safe and keep tabs on where they are.


Nevertheless, there are other uses for programs like this, for example, spy software is extremely beneficial in terms of business as all corporations will be able to track employees and so you can improve knowledge, efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness.

However, in order for this to be the case you need to make sure you have the best cell phone spy software in place. Luckily that is where this blog post comes into play. Consider the following points and you should have no trouble making the perfect purchase...

Physical Access
This is an obvious point, yet one that is so frequently overlooked and thus simply must be mentioned. You need to be able to have physical access to the phone you want to be able to gain information on. If not then you are going to purchase software you are not even able to use. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem when considering the main uses; i.e. parents easily have access to children’s mobile phones, and employers can call in all employee mobile phones merely for an update of software.

Features
You need to consider the features the software has available in relation to your main reasons for wanting to implement spy software. For example, you may want to find hidden apps on Android phones so you can know what your kids are up to. For instance, if you have employees who are frequently conducting work out of the office then you may wish to check that they are being productive and are not doing out-of-work activities in work hours. In order to ensure that this is the case, you will need to opt for spy software that has GPS tracking.

Remote or Local Data Access
The next thing you need to consider is where you wish to access the spy information from. If you are only going to be using the software from home or work then you may as well merely go for local data access. However, remote access is generally considered the more desirable option. By going for this you will be able to access information no matter where you are. Thus, if you are on a trip and want to check in on your child while they are being looked after by a babysitter it won’t be a problem.

Company’s Reputation / Good Reviews
You need to make sure the company providing the software has a credible reputation. In order to do this, you merely need to do a little bit of digging and some researching online. You should soon be able to deduce how legitimate the company is. Furthermore, if people have had bad experiences with the company in question then they will more than likely post this on the internet for all to see as they will want to warn you from utilizing the company’s service. Thus, only reviews are always beneficial.

Data Processing and Alerts
The last thing you need to consider is how the data is going to be processed. You need to be able to put criteria in place whereby you are notified if something happens e.g. if your child visits an age-inappropriate website or if your employee is going off their route on GPS. If the software doesn’t have this feature then you are going to have to spend all day manually the person or people in question. Needless to say, this will be highly inefficient and unproductive.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when you are looking for the right software for keeping tabs on your child. Of course, this is not something all parents like to do, but it is a necessity. Plus, you can also use this software for business purposes too, so there are dual benefits.

*This is a collaborative post*

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