The Honda Civic Tourer

On test: the Honda Civic Tourer 1.8i-VTEC SR

We’ve tested a few cars in the past, most notably the Honda CR-V that we drove around France, and really love doing it (basically, a lovely man appears on your doorstep with a brand new car and gives you the keys, leaving the car with you for a week – what’s not to love?).  This time, Honda asked if we’d like to try their new Civic Tourer 1.8 i-VTEC SR manual and, being a big car loving family, we jumped at the chance…

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Cruise Awards

The Cruise Awards 2014 – vote mum!

I’ve always written about travel.  But over the last few years I’ve been writing more and more about cruising.  I adore cruise holidays and have become almost evangelical in my attempt to get the word out to everyone just what a FABULOUS holiday you can have aboard a cruise ship. Last month, as part of my job as an ambassador for Royal Caribbean (follow us on Twitter and Instagram – our hashtag is #RoyalMums) we travelled to the Caribbean on the largest cruise ship in the world, the Allure of the Seas

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Artist's impression of The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort  (pic courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts)

The new Four Seasons Resort, Orlando

Regular readers will know that I adore a Walt Disney resort hotel (click here to see my top five) and there’s much excitement in Orlando at the moment as there’s a new hotel opening very shortly.  This one’s a bit different as although it’s placed within the boundaries of Walt Disney World, it’s actually a Four Seasons.  The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort to give it its full title (bit of a mouthful, admittedly) is shaping up to be an absolute beauty.

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SCANDAL LOGO

5 mad things about the Scandal, Series 3 event in London

So recently I got invited to a very swish private screening of the third series of Sky Living’s drama, Scandal.  If you’re not already hooked (bet you are), it stars the gorgeous Kerry Washington (who we all remember most as the blind lady who dated The Thing in the Fantastic Four, but who was also amazing in Django Unchained), as White House fixer Olivia Pope. It’s full of intrigue, secrets and cover-ups and is seriously good.

So how did the evening pan out?  I’m not sure you’ll believe it…

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Samsung Galaxy Fame

Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ and the Samsung Galaxy Fame

So recently I talked about my quest for cheaper mobile data when travelling, and my discovery that Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ service allows you to use your Pay As You Go credit while travelling abroad (basically you just convert your credit into an add-on, then you can use your allowance of minutes, texts and data up to a limit of something like 25Gb.

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Family English on the Allure of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas: a guided tour

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m pretty sure that you’ve noticed we’ve been cruising on the Allure of the Seas around the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean challenged the boys to have a really active high-adrenaline cruise and I think we managed it, what with zip-lining, surfing on the Flow-Rider, snorkelling, power rafting and much more.  And while the boys were doing all this, it left us lots of lovely free time for lazing, eating out, sunbathing and a few cocktails too!  Here’s how we got on:

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SushiSamba

SushiSamba, Miami Beach

One of my favourite places in Miami is Lincoln Road.  It’s a huge, pedestrianised area stuffed with shops, restaurants, cafés, and on certain days there are market stalls and food stalls too.  After working up an appetite on our cycling tour of Miami Beach, we headed to SushiSamba and flumped down in the shade of their gorgeous orange brollies to do a bit of nibbling and people watching.

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Pizza in Rome

Food for thought in Italy

For food lovers, Italy is without a doubt one of the best places in the world for dining out. While the usual classics like pizza, pasta and ‘mamma’s tasty meatballs’ are indeed delicious, the culinary scene is vast and varied throughout the country. Italy boasts some incredible quality and a diverse range of flavours as each region has, over time, cultivated its own unique cuisine. In order to source the very best in Italian fare on a dreamy Tuscan city break or a fabulous Roman holiday, consider a few things to tantalise your taste buds.

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Minnie at the Festival of Fantasy Parade

New MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World – technofabulous!

One of the new experiences I was most looking forward to during my recent visit to Walt Disney World, Florida, was getting my hands on the new MyMagic+ system.  Disney have rolled out some seriously good WiFi across all their parks and resorts, and, quite apart from the fact that it’s ridiculously useful for Instagrammers *cough*, the accompanying technology is pretty mindblowing.

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Frosty lemon gin and tonic

The frosty lemon gin and tonic

Our day in Barcelona still rates as one of my very favourite travel experiences.  We’ve earmarked it for a return journey very soon, but until then, every time there’s a sunny day, my mind races back to the gorgeous restaurant at the very top of the Arenas shopping centre (the old bullring) where we sat and had enormous buckets of gin and tonic with scoops of sharp lemon sorbet.

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Privet Drive

My favourite days out near London

We’re lucky enough to live about a half hour train ride outside of London.  I visit the capital quite a lot and during the summer months the big tourist attractions like the London Eye, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace are obviously the perfect places to visit.  But what if you want to strike out and see a bit more while you’re visiting, take advantage of easy car hire in London with Avis, or head off on the train?  Here are my top five places just outside of London that are perfect for a day trip:

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My atlantisselfie

An #AtlantisSelfie at Bluewater with Atlantis, The Palm

This weekend, I was invited down to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent for a bit of sandcastle fun with the team from the gorgeous Atlantis, The Palm.  The beautiful resort, located on the incredible man-made island, The Palm in Dubai, was recreated in sand by some very clever people.  And pretty impressive it was too.  Here I am checking out the mahoosive sand sculpture: Read more

Mine train

Hi ho! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at New Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Florida

New Fantasyland is fast becoming one of my favourite places at the Magic Kingdom.  Last time I was there it was for the official opening, and last week, I was over in Florida again for the official press event to celebrate the imminent opening of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We were lucky enough to get exclusive access to the ride during a fabulous party at Epcot (there’s NO party like a Disney party!) where we hung out with the likes of Elsa, Anna and Olaf!

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Manhattan

The beautiful NCL Breakaway: restaurants and entertainment

So as you’ll see from part one of my cruise diary from my trip aboard the NCL Breakaway, we were mightily impressed with all the facilities on board.  A big part of  ‘cruising like a Norwegian’ is the amount of flexibility in the choices you have: gone are ‘formal nights’ and, indeed, formal dressing for most of the restaurants, and instead you’ll find informal dining at a time that suits you.  That’s not to say you can’t push the boat out, dress up and have a proper evening out, oh no – they even have a name for it: Norwegian’s Night Out is your chance to get dolled up in your favourite outfit and have some fun, but if you want to wander to the buffet in your shorts, that’s fine too. Read more