There’s a certain excitement in the Blogosphere air. Even writing this first paragraph I have butterflies in my tummy. If you are into blogging or reading blogs then you may see lots of travel posts circulating about being a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad at the moment. Bloggers up and down the country keen to become a part of the fantastic ambassadorship programme from Mark Warner Holidays. Something that I have only heard amazing, inspiring and heart felt love for. Anyone who has been on one of their fantastic holidays or who has been an ambassador for seems to only have good things to say and it’s no surprise their accolades feature consecutive awards for excellence, or that their innovative approach to holidaying with children are regarded as some of the best trips in the world.

#markwarnermum travel to Bruge to document for Mark Warner Mum ambassadorship 2017

As both a Mum of 2 young boys and a huge fan of travel this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get stuck into. We’ve been so fortunate in the past to have done a lot of traveling and have managed to see so much of the world as young and care (child!) free singletons. Flash forward 5 years Stuart is out the house 12 hours a day working and as soon as the children go to bed it’s my turn to work. Time together is a fragile balance and duly savoured over the weekends, our carefree days exchanged for a blur of nappies and sleepless nights.

I’m on a forever mission to be the fun mum: This usually ends in major #mumfail. Like that time I tried to impress my 3 year old and ended up flying face first off of a trampoline, almost breaking my knee. Or when I fell head first into a river, in an attempt to get the perfect angle for a family photo. Laughter is the soundtrack to our parenting style and without fail Stuart will be able to make the boys fall about in fits of it mid toddler meltdown, essential skills for life with 2 under 4!

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

We love to make all of our travels an adventure even within our own country but I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I would love to spend quality time as a family learning new things, and not just seeing new things. A chance for balmy days spent teaching the boys to swim under the summer sky, the opportunity for Stuart and I to learn a sport or skill together. I love that there are so many activities available on a Mark Warner Holiday that we can take part in as a family, but with the unique opportunity to put the children into childcare while we rekindle our passions together, or even learn a new exciting challenge neither of us have done before like water sports!

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

After we had Henry we did a little traveling in North America, however latterly our adventures have been constrained to the UK. You see traveling with children isn’t quite what it used to be. Gone are the spontaneous weekends away, jumping on the Eurostar a distant memory. Our Top 10 holiday essentials are not quite what they used to be. As part of the challenge to become a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad I’ve been asked to share my top 10 travel must-haves…Now if you’re a parent also you’ll know that packing isn’t quite the same post children, so I thought I would share my top 10 holiday essentials – before and after kids!

TOP 10 TRAVEL MUST-HAVES BEFORE KIDS….

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

 

  1. Outfits. 3 per day. Hiking in the morning, perusing the town’s market in the afternoon, not forgetting a special dress for each evening to wear to a fancy restaurant.
  2. Bikinis. 7 in total. Well I can’t be seen in the same one in each photo?!?
  3. Books. Plenty of them and as many magazines. Hours spent reading, lounging by the pool ordering cocktails and nachos.
  4. Factor 6 tanning oil. No responsibilities and no apparent awareness for sun safety!
  5. Cocktails!! See points 1 and 3. Time to drink and party and roll in at 4am...well we wont be getting up ’til noon anyway so we can worry about the hangover tomorrow…
  6. Make Up. Lots of it. A bag full! Nights out are prefixed by 2 hours blissfully getting ready by myself.
  7. Sun bathing. Not a must have, but certainly a must-do. To be done at our leisure. Hot? Take a dip in the pool or a trip to the swim-up bar…
  8. Accessories. Planning outfits months in advance and making sure I have just the right fedora to compliment that new Maxi dress of mine.
  9. Hair dryer, straighteners, tongs, curling iron…Did I mention I have 2 hours to get ready each night??
  10. The Spa. Ahhh, the spa. Couples massage? Go on then, we’re on holiday after all…

TOP 10 TRAVEL MUST-HAVES AFTER KIDS….

 

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

  1. Outfits. 3 in total for the week including something I can be comfortable in whilst cosying up on the sofa once the children are down to sleep.
  2. Bikinis. High-waisted essential to hide inevitable mum-tum. In fact a swimsuit would be best. There’s a whole lot of bending down involved when looking after children by the pool.
  3. Books. Hmm, I had one of those once. It was replaced with an iPad, pre-loaded with the CBeeBies App.
  4. Factor 50 sun block. To be frantically applied 6 times a day, attempting to avoid mixing with sand, dodging imminent toddler meltdown.
  5. Juice…Squash. Water. Ice Pops. Anything to make sure little one is hydrated and won’t suffer from heat exhaustion when all they want to do is play. Repeat hourly.
  6. CC Cream. Store by the front door so you can apply quickly on your way down to breakfast (after having packed 4 beach bags full of stuff, wrestled toddlers to get dressed, yawned 3,000 times)
  7. Bucket and spade, frisbee, skittles. Anything to entertain the children with. Why not build a huge sandcastle with big windows for you to look out of over at the couples sunbathing, carefree, cocktail in hand.
  8. Accessories. 12 children’s sun hats – ensuring you have at least 1 that doesn’t get lost throughout the week.
  9. Dry Shampoo. You may, if you’re lucky, have time for at least one shower without a small visitor or 2 tugging at the shower curtain. Maybe take a couple of cans just in case.
  10. Baby Wipes. Ever been at a spa where they bring round cold cloths for your hot brow? I have and it was bloody glorious. Well that you can forget that. Instead bring 247 packs of wipes for all those baby related spills, scrapes and sick.

Check out my #MarkWarnerMum Pinterest Board for more Travel must-haves and holiday Pins!

I hope our passion for travel is passed down to the children. There really is so much to see in this world and I love showing the boys the beauty that travel has to offer. As part of our application I’ve made a little vlog of our travels in 2016, we would love it if we could make a very special one for 2017!

 

#nofilter – have you ever seen a more incredible sunset?!

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

I’d love to know how your must have holiday items have changed since having children – let me know below!

This has been my application to become a #MarkWarnerMum, Thank you for reading xx

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

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You may have seen my New Year’s resolutions video recently where I resolved to have less stuff, so I am really getting into minimalism this year and I wanted to share my tips for how to be a minimalist! There’s a video up on my YouTube which I will link below, which contains 12 hacks to help you on your way to being a minimalist, but to get you started here are 5 quick and easy tips. Please let me know in the comments if you have any more ideas or hacks which you find help you be more minimalist and have. less. stuff.

How to be a minimalist 12 hacks to get you started

– one –

Know why you are doing it. To keep yourself on track. Whether that is because you want to save money, to live a less cluttered life or perhaps you’re looking to buy a house and need to downsize. Put it down on paper so you can return to it when you need some inspiration to keep it up.

– two –

Use up all of your products before buying new ones. I am terrible at this one! I get to about a third less and I never use it again – I need to get better at this! Often they are expensive skincare items so I now make sure I am finishing things up before buying new products!

– three –

Make sure you clean your car out every couple of days. You could work really hard at cleaning your home and space around you, but if you don’t extend this to your car – your office even, then the feeling of a less cluttered lifestyle can be put back every time you get in your car to go anywhere.

 – four –

Tackle the small stuff first. Gain momentum by doing the easy things first and getting a good feeling from having achieved that. Start with things like your handbag or condiments cupboard then move onto the hard stuff like the wardrobe and linen cupboard!

 – five –

Go and unsubscribe to all those emails you don’t want to be receiving, all those people you met once on holiday but don’t actually ever see, and all those people who have a negative energy. Getting rid of all the online noise will help you cut down on what activity you have to actually be dealing with online and leave you more time for the things you do want to see and the things you enjoy looking at.

Come and take a look at my 12 Minimalist hacks video over on my YouTube for more ways to live a less cluttered life. Thank you for watching! xx

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I’ve been wanting to join in with a linky for the longest time, and The Ordinary Moments seems like the absolute perfect place to start. Firstly, I absolutely adore Katie from Mummy Daddy Me, and now that the lovely Donna has joined Katie as co-host, I know I’m in very good hands. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years, and I still don’t entirely understand linkies, no matter how many times people tell me about them, so I am hoping this is right ladies!! I really love the idea that The Ordinary Moments focuses on the little things, the ordinary snippets of our week that make our lives special, and it’s so lovely to be able to look back on these little moments which we could so easily forget.

 


Winter Walks

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

I’ve always been a Summer kinda gal, mainly because I hate being cold. But there’s just something about Winter that I am really growing to love. There’s nothing quite as spectacular as a Winter sunrise. Brilliant orange and blood red beams pouring out, warming up the crisp morning sky. I love the way the grass glistens as if littered with tiny diamonds, paths twinkling under afternoon street light. But particularly, I love going out for a brisk family winter walk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I would spend a whole day outside during these current freezing temperatures, but to get wrapped up warm and make yourself to get out with the family to a blow away the cobwebs is really refreshing, especially after a long working week.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

On Saturday, we ventured out with family down to the Meon Valley. It was beautiful sunshine the whole journey down, but typically once we arrived it clouded over. But determined, we forced ourselves outside to enjoy a walk along a disused railway. The mud was frozen stiff, thankfully, because the boys would have no doubt fallen into it otherwise!

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

Henry’s little cousin is 6, and he is utterly smitten with her. She’s the sweetest little girl and so caring towards both the boys, always coming over to help George out if he needs a hand and always so kind. When we are due to see her I can’t let Henry know until the day because otherwise he will be unbearable asking over and over when he is going to see her. It’s just so nice to see and capture their bond grow.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

George managed to walk most of the way, excitedly chasing after the others and joining in with their games. He loves being outdoors and exploring nature, although does have a tendency to want to discover things in a different direction, which is no surprise given his fiercely independent nature.

The Ordinary Moments winter walks with family in Hampshire

Our walk ended alongside the River Meon with a small bridge to play Pooh Sticks and little waterfall to entertain George at while the biggies eagerly awaited the appearance of their sticks under the bridge. I love showing the boys how much adventure and fun there is to be had without having to spend lots of money on big days out.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

It’s always so satisfying when you’ve made the effort to get out when it’s this cold. Temptation to stay in is always hard to overcome, but the children loved running free, exploring the woods, finding different animal footprints, and the odd golf ball! We headed back for a hot coffee and cookies before the drive home, sponsored by YouTube so they didn’t fall asleep an hour before bed!

I’m looking forward to sharing more of our #OrdinaryMoments over the coming months, thanks for reading. If you want to watch our day check out the vlog.

 

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Christmas. The most magical time of the year, right? But what if it’s not. What if it’s the hardest time of the year? What if when everyone else is cozying up with their families or getting together with friends and all you want to do is curl up into a ball and wish for it all to be over?

Coping this Christmas if you have suffered loss financial difficulties or family problems

There’s such a lot of pressure to be jolly and festive this time of year, but for some people this just isn’t the case. Some people have suffered great loss and can’t bear to celebrate, some people don’t have the means to financially support the big Christmas we think it should be, or perhaps for religious reasons Christmas isn’t celebrated.  I am so fortunate that I have a happy home and I look forward to sharing Christmas each year with my family, but I am very aware that this is a privileged position to be in and I never take it for granted.

It’s absolutely impossible to hide from the constant reminders that Christmas is on its way. Television adverts evoking how we are meant to feel, who we are meant to spend it with, even what we are meant to eat! All of this could seem like a daunting prospect but if you take away the pressure and redesign your own Christmas how you want it to be it could help create positivity around it. Whether that be going to a soup kitchen to help others who are not as fortunate, taking a trip somewhere you’ve not been before, maybe volunteering at a care home or going out on a long walk. Create your own rituals to suit your situation. Break down the barriers of what society expects Christmas to be and create a day for you to love and look forward to, even if that means not celebrating it at all.

Coping this Christmas if you have suffered loss financial difficulties or family problems

If you are struggling this year with Christmas the most important thing you should do is reach out – share your feelings, you might find you are not alone in having those feelings, and that you can help each other by opening up about any difficulties you might have during the festive period.

I wanted to share with you this video Channel Mum have created, I think it’s such an important thing to watch because so many people struggle this time of year and it’s really important to recognise that. I hope if you are struggling with coping this Christmas it can help. Remember, reach out and ask for support if you need it. Thanks for reading.

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We went back again to Longleat’s Festival Of Lights because we all had such a good time last year! Pop by and watch the vlog of our day here:

This year they have a Beatrix Potter theme which was great because Henry loves Peter Rabbit and they boys recognised all the characters. The display is huge and the lights are beautifully designed and laid out within a story around the great house.

Longleat Festival Of Lights 2016 Adventures Of A Mum

Longleat Festival Of Lights 2016 Adventures Of A Mum

Longleat also has a safari park, where you drive around and watch all the wildlife wondering around in the open – plus of course those naughty monkeys who climb all over the car!
I hope you enjoy – You can see our video from last year here

 

Have you been? xx

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