Family day out: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

I wonder why we don’t explore what’s on our doorstep? For years I lived in Oxford, but it took more than a decade after I left to visit the Pitt Rivers museum, and another 18 months to make it to the city’s natural history museum.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, to give it its full name, was definitely worth the trip up the M40 though. Free to enter (always a bonus), it’s easy for kids to get up close to the exhibits and touching is actively encouraged where possible.

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And there’s so much to see, even for short attention spans (toddlers, I mean you) in this ‘cathedral to science’ with its endless cabinets and displays under the huge soaring roof. Continue reading

Shaun the Sheep at Kew Gardens

We’re going on a sheep hunt might not have quite the same ring as bears, but for a toddler who’s still a fan of Timmy Time, the Easter Shaun the Sheep events at Kew Gardens were probably the most exciting suggestion I’ve made for weeks.

The sun was shining, and after negotiating the horrors of parking during the school holidays, we finally made it in.

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We were running later than I’d planned (not least thanks to driving round in circles trying to find a space) so we didn’t get chance to explore everything, but Shaun’s Madcap Meadow, a couple of stamps on the Spring trail and space hoppers disguised as sheep wasn’t bad in a short visit.

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The March round-up

As you’ll have seen from yesterday’s post, saving for 2015’s travel is high on my mind at the moment – and so spending, sadly, is taking a bit of a back seat.

But there’s still a few things I’ve bought, reviewed and considered as contenders for my suitcase in March.

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Let me know any fab buys you’ve stumbled across in the comments? Continue reading

Saving for travel

I am never short of ideas for places I’d like to travel to, destinations I want to visit and revisit with Minnie, family holidays, short breaks with a friend – I can go on. What I do find myself short of is the money to afford for it all.

Living in London, paying for childcare and having a bad case of wanderlust means that I’m never stuck for ways to fritter my hard-earned cash away. And while I’m looking forward to the day when Minnie’s nursery vouchers kick in, for now I’m working on a variety of ways to fund my travel habit.

Coin Dropping Into Piggy Bank

From switching energy providers to save cash to flogging things on eBay, collecting air miles with credit cards and using finance apps to budget, I’m ready to try most things. But playing the stock market? That still sounds alarmingly complicated. Continue reading

Family days out over Easter

My home is currently a bunny-free, chocolate egg-free zone. But it’s not total disorgansation – with the Easter holidays about to start, I do have quite a few ideas for days out.

I’ve picked my top 10 for a piece in the Independent today, mixing castles, white rabbits, historic traditions, exploding eggs, vikings and death by chocolate, but if you’d like some extra inspiration, I’ve rounded up a few more fantastic days out for families over Easter.

National-Trust-Easter-Eggs-trail

If you need something else to get you in the Easter mood, the National Trust is hiding 21.5 tonnes of Easter eggs (currently temporarily stashed in anything from a grandfather clock to a vase and piano) for their trails across the country. Continue reading