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1. Caught on camera
Shayna uses her Instagram account, @ruffledsnob, to tell the story of her family’s life, with all the magic, humour and whimsy it involves. The immaculate dress sense and inspiring interiors are just the backdrop to perfectly captured family moments – like her three-year-old starting wistfully at a suspiciously finger-print-marked birthday cake she isn’t allowed to touch (again).
If you love @ruffledsnob, Shayna also writes a beautiful blog, Pirates and Peonies, with more of the same.
2. ‘Free from’ food for families
What Lucy of Lucy’s Friendly Foods doesn’t know about ‘free from’ cooking isn’t worth knowing. Her recipes have featured on the Waitrose website and in the Guardian’s Cook magazine. Oh, and she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in cuisine and patisserie.
Her daughters’ food allergies have forced her to become creative, developing her own original recipes that are free from the most common food allergens. If you think that sounds like no fun at all, check out her dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegan jammy doughnuts and prepare to eat your words.
Her blog is full of recipes, reviews, inspiration and honesty. Take a look at her review of her first Center Parcs break with her family. She went in expecting “forced jollity in a fenced-in camp, a hark back to Hi De Hi!” but came away bitten by the Center Parcs bug, metaphorically speaking. Which is exactly what we like to hear.
3. Pick up a Puffin (podcast)
Whether you’re a self-confessed podcast addict (guilty as charged) or totally new to the whole thing, The Puffin Podcast makes lovely listening. Perfect for “bookworms, dream weavers and story lovers alike”, they talk all things children’s books, including interviews with authors, story extracts and competitions.
4. Being Toby’s Mummy
Rach’s blog, Being Toby’s Mummy, tells the story of her life as wife of Joel and mother to her boys, Toby and Teddy. Toby has autism spectrum disorder, and Rach talks about the challenges, frustrations and moments of joy this brings to their family’s life with a generous splash of north easterly honesty and frankness.
She recently blogged about “doing Christmas differently” in 2015 at Whinfell Forest, and we’ve been sharing her inspiring words around the office:
“Center Parcs feels like a different world. Life happens at a much difference pace and I think Toby enjoys the peace and safety of being in the forest. Having very few cars on site keeps the noise levels down and when out and about in his pushchair, Toby decided he didn’t need ear defenders – he just sang happily away to himself… The difference between this year and last Christmas couldn’t be greater. I remember feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed by Toby and his behaviour and needs last year and sitting in tears booking Center Parcs for this year, promising myself that we would actually enjoy Christmas…and we did!”
5. The Williams’ World
Tracey says she “blogs to avoid the ironing and housework”, which we think is possibly the most ingenious thing we’ve heard all day. She writes about the things her family loves to do together; going on holiday, having days out and eating together. She’s written some wonderful pieces about Center Parcs, and we especially love her recent piece about our family cabanas. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should treat the family to a private cabana in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, take a look at Tracey’s piece and see if she convinces you.
6. Beating the January blues
We’re up for any strategy that will help to banish the January blues, be it recipes, hugs or breaks. Sammy, of From Mamma With Love, took her family for a break at Woburn Forest to get over the post-festive season come-down. And it seems to have worked wonders. The rest of Sammy’s blog is filled with bright and beautiful photography documenting her life, her home and her adventures.
Liked that? Try these:
- What’s new this month: January
- Why we’re taking Woburn Forest back in time
- Bedtime stories, according to best-selling children’s author
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