A stay action in beautiful Cambridge

 

I love planning my holidays But this time I’ve been inspired by the rise of the staycation. Look around you – there are some amazing jewels tucked away on our little island and it rarely involves a long flight to get there!

We have stunning beaches and amazing coastlines  but what we don’t have reliable weather. So I’ve been looking at city breaks not too far from home. So what better place to start my bucket list of places to visit in the UK, than the beautiful Cambridge. Steeped in history it has the voices of a thousand literary giants, innovators and pioneers coursing through its East Anglian veins.

Here are a few of the best things to do in Cambridge:

Punting - Cambridge is so well known for the boat race and take a trip to the city and you’ll see punting is hugely popular too. In fact it’s one of the staple student jobs. It’s a great way to see the stunning architecture of the colleges and their bridges.

Visit Trinity Great Court. Famous for the Great Court Run at Trinity College in under 43.6 seconds on the strike of noon on the day of the Matriculation Dinner as performed by Abraham in the movie Chariots of Fire. The is best done as part of a walking tour so you actually get to grips with all the history around it.

Have a pint of real ale in The Eagle pub. You can also read some of the comments on the ceiling in the back room, left by WWII pilots.

If you’re not a beer drinker then my next stop would be to have a glass of wine at the roof top bar at The Varsity Hotel.

Eat Crème Brûlée in a college dining hall. Supper surrounded by thousands of years of history and academia – I’d love it!

Watch a Footlights performance. It’s where the likes of Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson took their first steps into performing. I’d love to go along and watch some stars of the future.

There’s so much to do and once this lovely city is ticked off my list I want to venture further afield. There’s so much of this amazing country I’ve not seen and I think I have the bit between my teeth for a few more staycations.

Next on the bucket list would be Cornwall. I went once as a child for a week and it rained everyday. But I still remember St Ives beach stretching for miles with yellow sands. I also want to pay a visit to Rick Stein’s fish restaurant in Padstow – I love his shows!

I want to explore the old smuggler coves and go on an adventure in the tin mines – Arthur would love that. I’d finish with a few surfing lessons, I’m sure I’d be terrible but I’d love to give it ago.

My staycation would then take me up North, far into the heart of the Scottish Highlands, walking the Munros and watching the amazing wildlife. Maybe I’d hire a castle and spend my time imagining I was Lady of the manor. There’s so much to do in this amazing island of ours and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Maybe next year my bucket list would continue with the Cotswolds and some of the wonderful northern cities like Liverpool and York.

Looks like I won’t be hopping on that plane anytime soon!

Homeschooling – the myths exposed.

Three myths about homeschooling

There’s no shortage of myths surrounding homeschooling and some of these untruths may put you off teaching your kids at home. Here, I take a look at three common falsehoods concerning this form of learning and examine some of the benefits associated with the approach.
1) Hardly anyone does it.
Especially if you don’t know anyone who homeschools their kids, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking this approach is extremely rare. Often, this style of schooling is presented as the preserve of a relatively small number of eccentric families. In reality though, many thousands of households across the UK have switched to this way of learning. It’s thought that around 150,000 youngsters are currently being taught at home, and this figure is expected to increase by approximately three per cent a year. There are a whole range of reasons why parents make the decision to educate their children in this way and homeschoolers have a broad spectrum of beliefs and backgrounds. The one thing that unites them is the fact that they believe their kids will be better off being taught at home.
2) It’s bad for children’s education
Another myth is the idea that taking children out of the classroom automatically spells disaster for their academic success. In fact, the opposite is often true. Teachers may be highly trained, but they can have classes of up to 30 kids to deal with, making it virtually impossible for them to pace their lessons to suit all of their pupils. In turn, this can lead to frustration, boredom and bad behaviour in the classroom. Alternatively, if you’re teaching your youngsters at home, you will be able to give them much more attention on an individual basis, helping to ensure they learn at the right speed. There’s no need to worry about formulating your own curriculum for your kids. Specialist websites such as http://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/ provide tailormade courses ranging from Key Stage 3 to GCSE and A Level. As well as providing your children with course materials to work through, online programmes like these can come with tutor support.
3) It deprives children of the chance to socialise
It can seem logical to think that away from the classroom, kids find it difficult to socialise. However, homeschooling doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact on children’s social development. Many of these youngsters take part in extracurricular sports and activities with other kids and enjoy a range of social opportunities with their friends. It’s also possible for parents to sign up to homeschool co-ops that meet on a regular basis to have classes or to go on trips to museums, zoos, galleries and other attractions.

By busting some of the myths associated with homeschooling, you should be able to get a clearer picture of what it involves and whether it could benefit your kids.

Keeping your home safe

It’s fundamentally all any of us want. To keep our home and the ones we love safe. What’s the point of a beautiful home if you don’t feel safe there?

I know I spend a lot of time worrying before I go away. Did I lock the Windows? Are the lights off? Are my valuables tucked away safely. While we can’t stop everything from happening – we can be as prepared as possible.

With new technology come new ways of doing this. Now it’s not about waiting for something to happen but about making sure nothing ever does. Take a look at this short film from Panasonic on their new home outdoor cameras. Not only does it keep a reassuring eye on your home but it also send alerts straight to your smart phone or tablet if it senses something is happening.

With one simple device you can take away the worry of ‘what ifs’. It’s all about giving you a sense of freedom and this new technology gives you just that.

From window sensors to smart apps that allow you to control your lighting remotely. Today, we can be safer and more prepared than ever. It can’t stop people doing bad things.But it can help mitigate these things and give you back control over your home and the things you love.

I love the idea that, no matter where I am, I can keep an eye on my home. Whether it’s something I’ve forgotten to do – most likely turning off the lights! Or stopping others helping themselves to my things – this new technology has it covered.

 

It’s dark, it’s raining – it’s time for a cruise.

When the nights draw in and the mornings seem to be just as dark, my mind starts to wander. It wanders off to warmer climates, sun, relaxation and the temptation to book a long and lazy summer holiday is almost too much to handle!

There are so many places left to explore – too many left of my wish list and it would take a lot of holidays to fit them all in. That’s part of the reason I’ve always fancied a cruise holiday. It conjours up a sense of decedence and a chance to sample wonderful moments in lots of different places.

I’d love to take in the Carribean Islands.  Stopping off for a day here and there, swimming in crystal waters and taking in the beautiful scenery. Barbados, St Lucia and some of the smaller islands. Then back on to my gorgeous floating hotel and on to the next adventure.

There’s something that really appeals to me about having my own cabin and a window out onto the ocean – you can even have your own balcony. To watch a world you only really get to see from the shoreline . There’s something of the old Hollywood glamour about it all. I always imagine it will be on of those little round port Windows and I can peer out while we bob along. I’ve never really seen the sea at night. My best friend said she once sat on her balcony and watched a group of dolphins following the ship, leaping and diving as she sipped a gin and tonic and waited for the next stop.

While your days can be filled with exploring the beautiful beaches and towns on these Carribean jewels, you can bet there will be some great entertainment in the evenings. The same friend who told me about the dolphins told me she’d never had so much choice in the evenings. From musical extravaganzas to casinos to ten pin bowling and dinner at the captain’s table – there’s so much choice!

Maybe Santa will bring me a little sunshine and a couple of tickets for a cuise across the  Carribean. A cruise is like several holidays all wrapped in to one and when it’s cold outside and I’m fighting my way through the lunchtime crowds and home throught the wind and rain, I can’t think of much else I’d rather do.