Why Kids are a Chip off the Old Block in Sport

Children’s sporting choices influenced by parents, study shows If you’ve ever worried about putting too much pressure on your children to participate in sports just because you’re interested in them, you might be relieved to hear that it’s not just completely normal – but also the decisive factor in how your kids learn and play. According to new research by health and wellness provider Benenden, three in four parents are more likely to encourage their child to play a sport that they’re either already passionate about or had played themselves. That’s a pretty sizeable statistic, and proves that parents can …

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Family Time at David Lloyd Clubs

My kids love swimming. Don’t most? Of course, when I say they love swimming, what I actually mean is they love larking about in the water. Ducking, diving, floating, handstanding – there’s just something about water that is irresistible to children. So it’s logical that the first place they wanted to check out when we toured our local David Lloyd club was the huge pool. We’ve been invited to review a six month membership at David Lloyd, to see how their family offer measures up. On the day, my two were straight into the water, but I was exhausted, and …

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Get Involved in a Great British Tennis Weekend! #GBTW

Pock, pock, pock… The soundtrack to my July. My laptop finally becomes synonymous with its name, leaving my desk to take up residence on my sofa for the next two weeks. Pock, pock, pock… The crisp, clean companion to my keyboard clicks, overwhelming the sound of the clock while time runs away with my work plans. Wimbledon and British Tennis It has always been thus. Wimbledon is a fixture on my calendar that has seen me loosen my usual work ethic for a few days every year, for as long as I can remember. I once booked my annual holiday …

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Looking at Shakespeare from a different angle #ShakespeareLives

Shakespeare Lives! When she was seven, my daughter suddenly discovered Shakespeare. She had read a children’s version of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and she was hooked. She asked for Shakespeare for Christmas, and began to talk of the tragedies of Macbeth and Hamlet – though she has always loved Bottom and Mercutio more than the great dramatic characters. Conversely, I came to Shakespeare late, and it took a passionate English teacher to make me love his plays. I’m impressed by how far Shakespeare’s PR campaign has come in the intervening years, that a primary school student not only understands, but …

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Why everyone needs flowers

I remember very clearly the first time I was sent proper flowers. I’d had flowers from my Dad when I passed my driving test, but I’d never been the recipient of a bouquet delivered by the flower shop, complete with gift card, and it was something I had longed for. In my mind, flower delivery was for wedding anniversaries and thank you gifts, and I held out no hope. I must have mentioned it, though I don’t remember. All I know is that someone paid attention. They came the day of my 18th birthday. A boy at school. We’d exchanged …

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Old Bidlake Farm – proper camping, without the hassle

What happens if you take not two, but four kids camping, on your own? In torrential rain? Four hours from home? This is how I spent the half-term holidays. Actually Daddy has no more holiday left to take from his job, but the offer from Old Bidlake Farm to check out one of their bell tents was too tempting to resist, and I’m always suspicious of a school holiday that has nothing written on the calendar. “It’ll be great!” I decided. “I’ll go on my own, we’ll have fun, all under canvas together. Actually,” – I felt brave – “let’s …

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Mindful Chef Review: Healthy Recipe Box Meals

Mindful Chef recipe box review: a box zingy with fresh vegetables and seasonings

Mindful Chef: the Healthy Recipe Box I don’t often post about food on this blog, but when I do, it’s because I’ve found something that really makes life a little bit better. I’ve talked before about how my love of cooking has diminished since having children. It’s something to do with the endless nature of feeding a family. No sooner is one meal consumed, than another has to be prepared, and the cycle of menu-planning, shopping, prepping, and cleaning up seems to go round too fast for me to ever feel like food is not on my mind. Add to …

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St Albans Restaurants: Best for Steak – Prime Steak and Grill

St Albans restaurants: best for steak, Prime and Grill has a superb wine menu

Which is the best steak restaurant in St Albans? A review of Prime St Albans We have lived in St Albans for a long time. When I started this blog I wanted to be anonymous, so we didn’t mention our city. Look how that turned out! When I met my husband, a large part of our dating was spent in smart restaurants. We lived in Chiswick and would seek every excuse to hop on a train for an evening in the OXO tower, Bluebird, or Titanic (rather sniggeringly named because it sat on top of the Atlantic Bar and Grill …

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Rattling the Cages of Parliament for Type 1 Diabetes #Type1Catalyst

Want to know what’ll get you inside the Houses of Parliament? I don’t mean queuing up to take the tour (which in itself is very cool), or going through security (rather like airport scanning, that’s how serious government is) to sit in the Commons and hear the debates (yes that is totally a thing). Nor am I talking of secret plots to usurp government and all its officials. No, this is about a personal invitation to a private party on that stretch of the river Thames that always looks so inviting on a sunny Friday afternoon; the Terrace Pavilion, where you always …

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Music fun across the decades

When I was 11 I found Abba. I had managed to secure an alarm clock radio for a birthday, a thing of great beauty in my eyes. It was a huge low rectangular box, with a red digital display, and it took up almost all of my bedside table. My water glass perched precariously on the only remaining corner, and I frequently knocked it off in the middle of the night. My once towering stack of books had to be relegated to floor beneath. I didn’t care. I had an alarm clock radio and I listened to Dave Lee Travis when I …

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Christening gift ideas that will impress parents and children

Christening gift ideas: a classic money box is traditional AND useful

A christening is such a lovely occasion. As a parent I remember rifling through racks of gorgeous frothy dresses, and cute pinstriped linens. I organised a perfect cake and drove 6 miles to pick it up. I still have the little icing letter blocks that made up my daughter’s name. When it was my son’s turn, I made his cake myself – three pastel balloons that my daughter sneakily consumed during the festivities, and proceeded to throw up in her bed that night. I remember that it poured with rain that day, and we huddled in a steamy room at …

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Gifts for Girls: Gorgeous Sarah Stokes bag and Homewares

This gorgeous fox cushion is the perfect gift for girls

Perfect gifts for girls I have small but firm base of lovely girlfriends. Over the (many) years that I’ve known them, we’ve learned so much about each other that we can go months without talking, and yet click right back into the swing when we’re together. We’ve been through school, university, boyfriends, marriage(s), and children together, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about each other. But can I find a decent gift for them when their birthdays come round? Knowing each other for so long means that we’ve exhausted the usual gift range, and the …

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50 Secrets you Need for an Incredible Trip to Somerset

#SecretSomerset: some hidden gems in Somerset and Exmoor.

  Finding the real Secret Somerset How do you choose a restaurant in Hong Kong? A gondola ride in Venice? A beach in the south of France? Amongst all the choice, how do you find the really good stuff, the dish that will set your taste buds alight, that perfect little bay with the gorgeous sunset, or the boat that will leave you with lifelong memories? You follow the locals. Of course, you see the Eiffel Tower and you walk the Great Wall, but often it’s the things you don’t think to visit that become the greatest stories of your …

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