Weekend stay at Mercure Cardiff North Hotel in Wales

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

It’s always a coincidence that my family and I get to visit Cardiff in December. Last time we visited the capital of Wales to see my cousin for her birthday, it was December and despite the fact that we were planning a trip to the city earlier this year, we still ended up being in Cardiff in December.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

It took us a little less than 3.5 hours to get to the city and as promised to treat my cousin with homemade delicious chicken biryani I cooked for her, along with many other sweet treats she had requested for, we headed straight to her house not forgetting to take along her favourite Black Forest Cake that she particularly wanted to continue with her birthday tradition. 

Soon after a quick catch-up with the cousin, we drove towards Mercure Cardiff North Hotel where we stayed for the night. There was ample parking outside the hotel, and it didn’t take long for us to get off and head towards the hotel building along with our luggage. After a very smooth check-in and a warm welcome, we went straight to our room.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

We stayed in the Privilege room that had been very tastefully decorated following a modern theme and colours. I love minimalist room decor, but it didn’t feel like anything was missing. There was also a small room fridge with bottled water and sparkling apple juice as well as a Nespresso coffee machine with capsules, tea and coffee facility as well as a room safe.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

The bed was comfortable and had been very nicely made with fresh cotton sheets, pillows and duvet. I also really liked the lighting fixtures, because I believe correct lighting is extremely essential to make a place cosy and inviting. 

Welsh cakes

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

The toilet cum shower room was equipped all the with necessary toiletries and a hair dryer was present in the room as well. 

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

There was a generous space for BabyM’ to run around and explore the room and his favourite thing in the room was the safe, that really fascinated him!

Soon after exploring the room, we decided to jump in the bed and retire for the day until dinner. It felt very cosy and relaxing staying indoors especially because it was cold outside, and we just decided to eat dinner at the hotel and to stay inside for the rest of the evening. For dinner, we headed to the restaurant for a 3 course meal. 

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

Luckily, I was able to put BabyM’ to bed earlier than his regular bedtime and decided to listen to a recording of the Secret Science to Success series but just fell asleep while I was half way through. I had a very peaceful sleep and was glad to wake up in the morning to realise that a buffet breakfast was awaiting for me at the hotel so there was no work to do. All I had to do was to get changed and head straight to the restaurant.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

I was glad to see the variety of options available for breakfast, there were hot breakfast items as well as a variety of tea and coffees, baked goodies, fruit and cereals. 

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel

We checked-out earlier and soon after that we decided to explore the city. Since it wasn’t our first time in Cardiff, we had already been to most of the places but it was nice to see the town centre decked up with Christmas decorations and festivities. 

Queens arcade Cardiff

Some of the places I’d recommend exploring in Cardiff are the town centre itself - Queen’s Arcade and St. David’s Dwei Sant for shopping. Winter Wonderland is great for spending time with family or friends and it has things for both little ones and adults to enjoy, from toasting marshmallows on the fire pit to enjoying some fun time on the ice rink or strolling outside the Cardiff Castle and taking nice pictures with the Alice in Wonderland theme figures setup this winter. If anyone is interested in souvenir shopping, then there are also lots of cute shops in the town centre where lots of different things are sold. 

The Welsh dragon

My family and I had a very memorable stay in the city, and just like our last trip to Cardiff, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Mercure hotel.

Important Information - Mercure Cardiff North
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 12:00 pm
Parking: Complimentary parking available for hotel guests on site
Amenities: Hair dryer,  complimentary toiletries,  tea and coffee available
Location: Circle Way East, Llanedeyrn CF239XF

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How to Handle Your Household Budget

How to Handle Your Household Budget

With household budgets being squeezed from every direction right now, the need for firm control over your finances has never been stronger.

If your budget is constantly getting the better of you, here’s a tried and tested method for bringing things back under control.

Adjusting Your Mindset

We’re not taught much about how money works at school, and often it’s not a subject that comes up at home either when we’re children. The result is usually a lot of financial mistakes that can take years to put right, and this naturally makes money the enemy.

Seeing managing money as a rewarding exercise takes a bit of mental adjustment. It helps if you can start seeing your personal finances in a more business-like manner. Just like in accounting for business, managing your household budget is largely about balancing what’s coming in with what’s going out.

You also need to pay attention to the everyday small spends, because these are the ones that can mount up behind your back. For instance, £40 a month on a subscription might sound like a lot but having coffee with friends in your lunchbreak every day can easily be costing that much.

Once you get a handle on where you’re spending money, you can start making informed, intelligent decisions about whether you want to carry on, or trim back a bit.

It’s the knowing that makes the difference.

Make a Personal Tracker

It’s easy, and you don’t need any special knowledge or computer skill to do it. Spreadsheets are fine if you like them, but a notebook will work just as well. 

So, in a notebook or spreadsheet, make four columns:

Date - this is when the transaction happens. 
Item - what you bought, or what you earned since you also need to track income. 
Cost - how much was spent or made. 
Balance - this is a running total of how much you have available to spend. 

Start the balance column off by checking your latest bank statement. Write the figure at the top of the column, then add or subtract what you’re spending or earning each time you make an entry. Don’t forget direct debits or standing orders. You can add those in immediately if you want, then you won’t forget them as the month goes on.

Depending on how many transactions you have, you might need a new page each week or each month. Do what works for you. Add the balance at the bottom of one page to the top of the next page to start the new column.

A tracker like this doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture in your life if you find it a chore. If you can do it for a year you’ll have a solid data bank, but just keeping it up for a couple of months will give info you can work with.

How To Use the Information

Having amassed all this data on your spending, what do you do with it?

Because you wrote down what each item was, you’ll have a record of the things you buy so nothing gets forgotten. Armed with this history, you can delve into category spending.

How much spent on groceries (there’s a great resource about supermarket spending here) 
How much spent on motoring. 
How much on clothes. 
How much on take-aways. 
How much on entertainment. 
How much on phones or other tech. 
How much on rent or utilities. 

The list goes on, but you get the idea. 

By sorting your spending into categories, you can see clearly where the money is going. And once you know exactly where your money is going, you can choose how and where to cut back if you decide that’s necessary. 

By budgeting like this, you can choose the least painful ways to cut spending so you can save more for special things like travelling or celebrations. You can make informed decisions, such as maybe carrying on going out with friends but cancelling a magazine subscription or looking for a cheaper phone contract. You start to see options, and your choices will be smarter.

For lots of us, anything to do with money or accounting sounds like it’ll be a painful exercise. But it doesn’t have to be. Once you really get a hold of what’s happening with money, it can become fun and a rewarding personal challenge. And if you find you enjoy a creative financial juggle, it might even lead you to a lucrative new career in accounting.


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Helping Your Child Transition from Nursery to Big School

Helping Your Child Transition from Nursery to Big School

Change can be difficult for children to deal with, especially when that means leaving familiar faces behind and meeting new ones. The transition from nursery to big school can be difficult which is why we have paired up with a nursery in Islington to share a few tips.

Potty Training

Making sure that your child is potty trained before starting school will help to make the transition smoother. We recommend starting at least a few months before your little one starts school if they aren’t already, so that they have plenty of time to get used to it and don’t feel pressured.

Role Play the School Day

Acting out tasks like getting changed for PE and tidying up can help to make them seem less alien and allow your child to settle in better. For this, you can use puppets to put on a show or act out the roles yourselves.

Getting to Know the School Environment

Before your child starts school, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to visit and meet their teachers. Before attending an open day, encourage your child to think about anything that they might want to ask their new teacher so that they can air out any worries beforehand.

Take Them on The School Run

If you have other children already attending the same school, taking them to pick them up in the afternoon can help to create a sense of familiarity. This will make the transition seem less daunting and stressful. 

Tell a Story About Big School

A storybook can tell a child what they need to know about big school, relieve their worries and do it in the most engaging way. They can get your child excited to start and there are so many books that are available that you can use.

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How to Raise a Resilient Child

How to Raise a Resilient Child

When things go pear-shaped, resilience is what keeps us going and can help you to accomplish your dreams. The motivation to get back up can be difficult to muster but can come from having the right mindset and support system. A boarding school in Reading has provided these tips on how to raise a resilient child. 

It’s Okay to Ask for Help 

Sometimes our obstacles are bigger than us and we need a helping hand to get back up which is perfectly okay. This is an important lesson to teach your child so that they are able to ask for help when they need it. 

Failure Is A Part of Growth 

Teaching your child that the road to success isn't always linear can help them to deal with failure better, appreciate the journey and take away key learnings. You can do this by reflecting on the silver linings in your life and encouraging them to do the same. 

Another great way that you can do this is by introducing them to inspirational stories of those on the same or different journey to them. This might be an autobiography of an Olympic athlete or entrepreneur that sheds light on their struggles and setbacks. 

The Power of Praise 

Praise is a huge source of empowerment for children which can help to boost their self-belief. Do this by reminding them of how great they are with examples of things that they’ve achieved so that they know that you’re not just saying that as a parent. 

Let Them Make Mistakes 

Mistakes are key for learning and being harsh on your child when they make mistakes can deter them from trying altogether and result in pessimism. Instead, work with your child and be supportive to create a safe space for them to make mistakes and grow.

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The Benefits of English Literature in Schools

The Benefits of English Literature in Schools

English literature teaches children how to make sense of the world through poems, novels and other forms of literature. It plays a vital role in education and a prep school in West Sussex shares more on the benefits of English Literature below.

Improved SPAG and Writing Skills

The most obvious benefit of studying English literature in school is the improvement that you will see in your child’s writing. They will be able to structure their sentences much better and be able to spell correctly too, allowing them to communicate more effectively in their writing.

Strengthens Critical Thinking Skills

English literature is a subject where children are required to think critically to analyse the use of language in books and historic texts. This can help children to think critically and make better judgments by teaching them how to read between the lines. 

An Appreciation of Different Perspectives 

Books give children access to the thoughts of others which can help them to look at issues from different perspectives and develop empathy. This can widen their worldview and allow them to be respectful and considerate of others.

Learning About History and Culture

Through analysing Shakespearean texts, your child will be able to learn a lot about their own history and culture which can support them in their other subjects too. 

Constructing Arguments

English is a subject that doesn’t necessarily have right or wrong answers so long as they are backed up with well-founded arguments. It teaches children how to draw out crucial information from texts and make inferences. This is a valuable skill needed for essay writing in all subjects and can help your child to make convincing arguments in real life too.

Enhance Creativity

When reading, your child will need to create their own interpretations and envision plots. This requires creativity and imagination which are crucial for developing thinking skills.

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BabyM's Birthday Celebration at Lamington Serviced Apartments in Hammersmith, London

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartments were founded by a company established in 1967 and since then they’ve been providing providing quality, long and short term accommodation all across London. Besides providing properties to guests in Hammersmith, Brook Green and Shepherd’s Bush in London, Lamington also has a sister brand called room2 that is located in Southampton and the idea of this hometel is to provide a place with all the comforts as well as security and services provided by a hotel. room2 is also opening in Chiswick next month and  bookings can now be made for stays from December onwards.

Lamington provides high standard of living experience and also the freedom to the guests to cook their own meals, a relaxing atmosphere with space and full privacy. This short term accommodation provided by Lamington where we stayed is perfect for both leisure and business guests as it works perfectly well, as an alternative to hotels. Equipped with all the necessities such as heating and kitchen appliances, the guests can also get the advantage of guest service during the office opening hours. I believe the concept of serviced apartments is absolutely brilliant, and I really enjoyed staying at one of the properties of Lamington serviced apartments located in Hammersmith, over the weekend with family.

We experienced a very smooth check-in at their office that was located on the same street where my family and I stayed, and we weren't just handed over the keys to the property but one of the staff members also accompanied us to ensure we were at the right property and also showed us around. 

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Our accommodation for the night was a 2 bedroom property with an ensuite and a family bathroom. We were provided the essentials including the towels and basic toiletries. The open plan kitchen (also had doors) was connected to the living room that also had a dining area. The property was neat and clean, and had everything we needed for the stay.

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Immediately after checking in, I made sure to take pictures of the property to ensure I could post the clicks of how the place looked when we entered. Once I was done with some photography, I unpacked the essentials and got BabyM' changed into his new outfit. Husband and I also blew some balloons for him to play with and got the place ready for him to cut his birthday cake. The living room was quite big for him to play around and explore, and discover things new for him, but we made sure to keep an eye on him for his safety. 

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

I had already ironed my clothes from before, but there were still a few creases that I had to get rid of before putting them on, so I quickly grabbed the iron and made my dress wrinkle free! Lovely that the property had an iron and a board available for us. 

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

Lamington serviced apartment london

The fridge at the property was really handy because we could easily store fresh milk and other necessary food items for the evening. We hadn't really planned a birthday party, but it just happened because some friends who lived nearby, came to see us for a very short visit and surprised us with cakes, not just one but we had three of them! 

Lamington serviced apartment london

If you're staying in Hammersmith over the weekend, I would highly recommend to check the boards before parking because some place have free parking but some are charged even during the weekend. On the street where we stayed, it was free on Saturday and Sunday but parking charge starts on Monday mornings at 9 am and is different for electric, petrol and diesel cars (ranges between £3-6 per hour depending on your car). Nearby car parks include the Westfield London (£15 for 24 hours) & Kings Mall (£55 for 24 hours) car park. The former is a lot cheaper than the latter but it's a bit of a walk. 

There are a lot of things to do in Hammersmith, but it entirely depends on your interests. I would recommend visiting Westfield London. Just one mile away from Lamington Hammersmith, it's great for shopping and there are also lots of different dining options at the mall. Nearby is also the famous Shepherd's Bush market (0.7 miles) that sells almost everything one can name. 

Westfield london

If you're up for a walk, the Thames park and the Hammersmith bridge are great to spend an evening but if you want to be a bit adventurous and want to explore a bit further, then there's a few more options available too. 

The touristy town of Nottinghill, just 3.4 miles away from Hammersmith is great for taking some lovely pictures in front of the colourful houses. We explored the Portobello Market and the popular Lancaster road which was great to capture some nice pictures. 

Nottinghill London

Nottinghill London

Just 1.5 mile away is the Holland Park which looked absolutely beautiful during the fall season. I would also recommend checking out the Japanese Kyoto garden and spending some time there admiring the waterfall and the peacocks. 

Kyoto garden holland park

For some more luxury shopping, Harrods (5.5 miles away) is also a great option to spend a good few hours when in London. 

Generally, on-street parking in London can be free on weekends especially on Sundays, but it's highly recommended to check properly before you park to ensure you do not get a parking ticket. 

My family and I had a memorable time staying at the Lamington Serviced Apartment in Hammersmith and besides being thoughtfully decorated, the property also had a very prime location as it's quite near to some of the popular tourist attractions, there are lots of restaurants available nearby, as well as some convenience stores and the train station is located just within a walking distance. This property can definitely grab all the points from me for fulfilling all our requirements. Would definitely recommend for short term rental apartment in Hammersmith, London! 

Important Information - Lamington Serviced Apartments
Check-in: 4:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Parking: On street car park spaces available (charged parking from Monday - Friday)
Nearby carparks - Westfield London & Kings Mall car park
Breakfast: Complimentary tea and coffee available 
Amenities: Hair dryer, ironing facility, complimentary toiletries, dishwasher, washer, fridge, hob, vacuum cleaner
Location: London - Hammersmith, Brook Green, Shepherd’s Bush
Telephone: +44 (0)208 748 2645
Website: Lamington Serviced Apartments

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