Sunday, 26 July 2015

Summer Holidays Style with Fat Face PLUS Tips for making the most of the Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are finally here which for us means lots of days out, although the weather has had other ideas over the past few days! So when the sun was shining this Saturday we couldn't wait to get our new Fat Face shorts and playsuit on and head down to the river for a stroll and enjoy the sunshine.

Fat Face has just launched a new range of kids clothes designed for fun and the great outdoors. It's bright, playful and exceptional quality which for me is so important especially over the summer holidays, I want clothes that will withstand the typical likely lads and lass antics like climbing up trees too big for them, skidding down a grassy bank or getting drenched while running frantically along the sea shore! Fat Face's tag line 'Made Well, Worn Well' couldn't be any truer, Tiger especially has put his shorts through their paces.

With that said I still want the clothes to look lovely, I love bold prints and bright colours and stripes are my favorite. They are classic and as soon as I see them I just want to be near the sea, okay we didn't quite make it to the beach this time but the river was just as good. It's hard to see in the photos but Tiger's shorts have a palm tree leaf design a cool take on the camouflage print. I love how easy it was to style the Fat Face playsuit and shorts with clothes we already have in our wardrobe.

New Fat Face Kid Range - GIRLS &  BOYS
Fat Face Playsuit £18.00

Fat Face Cargo Shorts £20.00

The summer holidays are my favorite, six whole weeks of the little lads and lass, we have so much planned and to look forward to. Although this wasn't always the way, I found the idea of keeping them entertained for six weeks a bit daunting but over the years I've got together a few top tips for making the most of the summer holidays. 

1. Get Organised - If you haven't already get your diary out and call/text your family and friends to meet up for days out. Make a special effort to see those you haven't seen for a while or live a bit further away. The little lads love it when we visit friends who live further afield, without the constrictions of a rigid bedtime I will usually wait until after rush hour to return home, I change the little lads into their PJs and get little blanket, such a small thing but they love the change from routine, travelling at night! Before long they usually just fall asleep in the car and we carry them to bed, luckily they are heavy sleepers!

2. Mix it Up - Summer holiday days out and activities can sometimes be expensive so I try to mix it up daily. We usually have a 'big day out' a theme park, the zoo or a trip to the beach once a week and then the other days we will do things that are low costs like pick your own Fruit Farms, special offers at the cinema or swimming and then the rest of the week and actually my favorite, free days. Just meeting up with friends and exploring a new woods, a picnic in a meadow, bike rides or actually stopping and having a wander through that pretty village you always drive through, you just never know what you will discover, you might just stumble across your new most favorite place. 

3. Use Facebook - Facebook is a great place to search for things to do that are happening in your local area. You would be surprised at how many free festivals and events are happening this summer.

4. Day of Rest - Don't be afraid to just stay in your PJs all day, grab your duvets get comfy on the sofa and watch your favorite films. Eat your favorite foods and just take it easy, I find that the little lad and lass need to recharge every now and then throughout the summer holidays, as do I!

5. And Enjoy - Enjoy the summer holidays and the time you get to spend with them, they wont be little forever and okay there will be days then you are counting down the minutes until bed time and that's okay but stop and just have a little think about your own summer holidays as a child, how do you remember yours? 

This post was in collaboration with Fat Face.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Cropped Tops and Curves

I've seen loads of cropped tops in the sales recently and I usually just skip right past them. I had it in my mind that cropped tops was for the sixteen year old me, the one with a flat defined stomach, the one that didn't mind showing off a bit of flesh.But actually even with curves I have now I can still happily and confidentially rock a cropped top but just styled differently.

Okay so my low rise jeans and teenie tiny cropped vest tops might be long behind me but a 3/4 cropped top with just a peek of tummy can still work and actually made me feel quite daring and EVEN a bit sexy!. Mostly of my jeans, skirts and shorts are high waisted. I find high waisted much more flattering on my shape and gives me much better waist definition as it holds everything in. So when wearing a cropped top I would team with high waisted on the bottom half.

As the cropped top I am wearing in the photos is tight(ish) I decided to wear it with a floaty maxi skirt to balance out my top half and hopefully make me look a little less boobie. Had the cropped top been less fitting or possibly oversized I would have worn it with jeans, flared jeans and an oversized off the shoulders cropped top looks so lovely and really feminine.  

If you still find that even a 3/4 cropped top is too much flesh for you then you could try wearing it teamed with a blazer or denim jacket/shirt with roughly rolled sleeves for a much more casual look.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Learning to Ride a Bike

I thought this day would never come, the day I could say Tiger has learnt to ride his bike! This milestone is huge for him, he has never been that keen on learning to ride his bike and we've tried absolutely everything, a cool balance bike which looked like a motorbike (hated it, went on it twice!) A police inspired bike with stabilisers with lots of buttons (according to him it was too stiff and he fell off once, yes with stabilisers and never went on again! Far too dangerous!) we even tried bribery but he just wasn't interested in learning to ride a bike. He's always been really good on his scooter, even learning to do stunts and therefore he felt he had no need for a bike in his life UNTIL... his best friend learnt to ride his!

Since Tiger started at his new school back in September last year he has had a group of best friends, there are five of them and they are really close which is lovely. Three of them all ready ride bikes confidently and often ride to school, when he initially started playing with them I thought he would be inspired by them and decide to give learning another go, but nope! Not interested! as far as he was concerned he was 'just as fast as them on his scooter' that was until one afternoon I received a text from Tiger's best friends mum announcing that he could now ride his bike (he was also reluctant to learn, so we were all rooting for him once he began to learn) I told Tiger the good news to which he replied "right daddy when we get home I want to ride my bike" This is what we were secretly hoping to hear. The Mister got Tigers BMX out, another special purchase in hope he would give learning ago but it had barely been touched after the first few initial days. But just like that, much to mine and The Misters amazement he started riding off like he'd been able to for months! It was the weirdest thing, I think through pure determination (and not wanting to be the only one in his group who couldn't ride a bike) he had cracked it! We couldn't have been any prouder of him at that very minute. 

The following couple of weeks he continued to practice up and down the front of our house and to and from school and this weekend we went out for our first family bike ride without him being attached to The Mister's bike. Although he's still a bit wobbly and braking might mean everyone and everything needs to move swiftly out of his way! But it was such an amazing feeling watching him cycling ahead. I honestly thought the day would never come but this was also a great reminder to me that all children are different and reach their milestones at different times, they will get there in the end when they are ready.


Monday, 13 July 2015

5 Reasons to choose a Family Holiday at Mark Warner San Lucianu BeachResort in Corsica PLUS DISCOUNT CODE

Last week we were lucky to be invited by Mark Warner to their family friendly resort in Corsica San Lucianu Beach Resort. We all had such an amazing time and I took hundreds of photos of our adventure. There is just so much to talk about so instead of waffling on I've decided to give you my Top 5 Reasons why we would choose a family holiday with Mark Warner at San Lucia in Corsica and why we would definitely go again. PLUS we are able to give all readers A £50pp Discount on all Mark Warner Summer 2015/16 Bookings made by the 31st July 15. (not valid for free child places or infants and not be used in retrospect) DISCOUNT CODE CarissaBlog50 Book HERE

1. Mark Warner Childcare - For me this is the number one reason I would book a Mark Warner holiday, I never thought I would be the sort of mum that sends her kids off to childcare while I lounged by the pool but I totally am that mum when the facilities are so blinking amazing! The childcare centre itself is lovely, it has the feeling of a nursery we would be use to back home, large spacious rooms, filled with clean fun age appropriate toys and activates. The minute Beaux stepped foot in the Toddler Room he was off like a rocket heading straight for the dinosaur corner, he didn't even turn around to see if I was sticking around! The staff all fully trained were lovely, making both Tiger and Beaux feel at ease and welcomed. Now although the childcare centre was amazing if the little lads had been stuck in there the entire time I may have only used this service once or twice regardless of the fact they loved it, I would have felt guilty that they weren't having a 'real holiday' and experiencing the things I was so what I really loved was that scheduled in every morning Tiger was taken out to the waterfront to learn how to windsurf, sail or kayak! Although he had never tried anything like it before he absolutely loved it! Beaux was also taken to make sand castles on the beach or for a paddle in the pool by his key worker. This for me is part of what makes Mark Warner's childcare really stand out and all included in the price.

2. Resort Facilities & Pools - When we arrived in our hotel room the first thing I noticed was how spacious our room was with two large twin beds, which later I asked to be made up as a super king as I knew the little lads would be climbing into my bed each night. I was also blown away by the huge walk in shower, more than enough room for us all to share a shower when needed. The sink was also big enough room for Beaux to have the odd 'sink bath'. And last but not least the amazing view from our balcony of the entire resort and gorgeous beach.

There are two pools at San Lucianu, one a kid friendly pool which was sectioned by a wall into a splash pool which was no deeper than 80cm and a deeper pool for confident swimmers, this pool was watched by a lifeguard all day, we spent time in the splash pool every day, so safe to say the little lads loved it! We always found sun loungers with a good view of the little lads playing. The second pool was for adults only, my mum managed to sneak away a few times for a swim and gave it the thumbs up.

3. Waterfront and Activities - So while Tiger and Beaux were in Kids Club it gave me the chance to get out on the sea with my mum. There is so much on offer, sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding (I tried that on my last Mark Warner holiday Levante in Rhodes, all I will say is its much harder than it looks!) so we decided to try our hands at Kayaking which we loved! By the end of the week I was feeling quite confident so took Tiger out which was so much fun! He loved having his own little paddle to give his mama a hand.

4. A la Carte menu - While we enjoyed the buffet food served at breakfast and lunch the meal I most looked forward to was dinner from the A la Carte menu. We were given a choice of three starters, mains and deserts. Both myself and my mum loved our choices, quality ingredients and fantastic flavors. The Thai inspired mussels pictured below are 'the' best mussels I have ever eaten! (my stomach literally just growled whilst reminiscing)  What also made our evening meals all the more special was that we were able to take our time and really enjoy our meal. The little lads had a child friendly meal at 5.30pm and after a shower I put them in their PJs and at 7.30pm headed down to childcare so they could watch a film, cosy with their new friends. Once the film was finished at 9pm they were tucked into little beds where they could fall asleep if they were tired. The evening childcare was available from 7.30-11pm although I mostly collected them straight after we had finished our meal. This service was such an added bonus for me, I rarely get to eat out without trying to force feed Beaux veg, take at least three toilet trips or hand out my iPhone as a last attempt to finish my now cold meal. This service was a real treat for me.

5. Local Area and Waterfall Trip - Corsica itself is just beautiful, I was totally mesmerised by the mountains as the constant back drop, be it at the San Lucianu resort or in the local village. I couldn't get over how epic it felt swimming in sea, lounging by the pool, browsing the market and looking up and seeing these huge mountains, it really is breath taking.

A couple of times that week we wandered to the closest village, a 20 minute walk from the resort to browse markets. Once we had finished shopping we headed to the beach which was minutes away from shops and market and grabbed delicious ice creams. As we upgraded to full board, San Lucianu offered a packed lunch for us to take so we didn't need to rush back for lunch.

San Lucianu along other day trips offer an afternoon visit to a nearby waterfall which can be walked to in about 40 minutes from the resort. Although it was very hot, personally I didn't think the walk was too strenuous and there was a few little farms and goats to look at along the way.
Once we arrived at the waterfall it was so much more stunning than I had ever imagined, clear waters running down rocks. After the walk there we all jumped in to cool down and lets just say the water was 'refreshing' it was like nothing I had experienced before and so worth the walk.

So to sum up our time at Mark Warner San Lucianu our hotel room was bright clean and spacious, the massive showers was a hit for the little lads who loved splashing around in it. 

The children's pool was brilliant, shallow enough that I never had to worry they would accidentally end up in deeper waters. We spent time in the pools every day and always managed to find a sun lounger with a good view of our little lads playing. 

The buffet food was nice with lots to choose from each meal time but the a la carte menu for me was excellent.

The childcare was the best with so much for the little lads to experience, although the little lads would have been happy going every day I was keen to make some holiday memories with them too. 

The waterfront facilities are what make Mark Warner holidays stands out. both myself, my mum and Tiger have tried water sport we've never had the opportunity to try before. 

The little lads slept well every single night and had an amazing time. Myself and my mum truly loved San Lucianu Resort and would return in a heart beat. I left feeling relaxed and crammed full of happy holiday memories. 

For full information and bookings please click here and remember all readers get a £50pp discount on all Mark Warner summer 2015/16 bookings made before 31st July 2015 (not valid for free child places or infants and not be used in retrospect) using Discount Code CarissaBlog50

It's always good to hear another side of the story, read what my other blogging friends had to say about their time at Mark Warner San Lucianu Beach Resort in Corsica.

Julie from Mama Owl
Amanda from The Ana Mum Diary
Anya from Older Single Mum
Monika from Family Mad Adventures

Disclosure - I was offered this family holiday by Mark Warner in exchange for a review, as always all photography and opinions are my own.

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