EEK-O-Friendly Halloween Tips

This post comes to you, courtesy of ECOlunchBox 

Halloween is right around the corner and with costumes, candy, parties and haunted houses involved, what’s not to love?! No matter what spooky antics you’re planning for Halloween, keep in mind you can be greener and cleaner too!

 

img_5767Make Your Own Decorations 

Consider using upcycled and recycled items for decorating, and definitely avoid that nasty “spiderweb” plastic people spread all over their bushes! Create paper cut-outs to decorate windows (which can be stored flat and saved for next year). Cover formed chicken wire with cheesecloth to create floating ghosts in the yard. Drape cheesecloth over pedestals and other yard items to make the appearance of dusty cobwebs. Use tin cans for walkway luminaries. You can drill holes in the sides to create a design and add to the flickering light effect. Re-use all of those cardboard boxes before recycling them. They can be turned into gravestones and placed throughout the yard to create a haunted cemetery. 

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Party Like a Zero Waste Rockstar 

Throwing a Halloween gathering? Use non-breakable, kid-and-planet friendly items (like stainless-steel camping trays) instead of paper or plastic plates, cups and utensils. For a full guide loaded with ideas and tips on throwing a zero waste party click here.  

Sustainable Candy & Alternatives to Candy Treats

Every kid deserves to have a happy Halloween, but for those with food allergies, sensitivities, or who want a healthier, happy treat, the candy offered by neighbors might not be an option. Look for organic and/or sugar-free candy options at your local store. There’s always the option of giving out non-candy treats, too! About half of kids say that they would like to get alternatives to candy treats as well. Arts and crafts or school supplies are a great idea and give the kids something to do when all of the festivities are over (other than getting a sugar high from all of the candy!) 

Lighting Options

We all that spooky and scary atmosphere that candles create on Halloween, but paraffin is the main ingredient in most conventional candles. Paraffin is a waste product from the petroleum industry and releases carcinogenic toxins when burned. Benzene and toluene are found in the sooty residue from burning candles. The EPA has classified benzene as carcinogenic and toluene is toxic to the nervous system. Choose 100% beeswax candles to still achieve that spooky atmosphere while being environmentally conscious. Or, if you’re feeling especially crafty, make your own soy candles. Soy is a renewable resource and soy candles burn cleaner than toxic paraffin candles. 

Halloween Costumes 

Don’t buy new costumes – the likely hood of re-using a brand-new costume is very slim so the purchase is a waste of money and a strain on the environment. Instead, create a brilliant costume from up-cycled thrift store purchases. Mix and match pieces to make a one-of-a-kind costume. Another way to recycle costumes is by hosting a costume swap. Donate your old costume in exchange for a new-to-you costume.

Make Your Own Make-Up

Many commercially available Halloween face paints contain all kinds of scary toxins including heavy metals and a variety of parabens. Parabens are estrogenic (they mimic the estrogen hormone) and disrupt the hormone system. By making your own face paint, you control all of the ingredients and get to do a creative activity with the kiddos while instilling some health-conscious ideas. Or use mom’s non-toxic make-up that you already have on hand!

Bring Your Own Bag

One plain and simple way to green your Halloween is to bring a reusable bag. Give your costume some extra flair by making your own reusable treat bag to enhance your costume.

Bonus Tip: Take a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

By going to the pumpkin patch, not only are you having a great day out, kids learn where pumpkins (and food) come from. They get to interact in a farming environment and choose their own pumpkins. You’re also supporting the farm directly. Don’t let those pumpkins go to waste! Save the seeds to roast and add to salads or just eat on their own as a tasty and nutritious snack. Also, you can keep the carved out bits of your pumpkin to use in a variety of recipes. 

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Whatever you do, have fun with it! and remember to try not to use single use plastics and non-compostable treats this halloween!


 

About ECOlunchbox

ECOlunchbox is mission-based, family-owned business based in Northern California striving to save our oceans from needless plastic trash by creating products that are good for our health, protecting both people and planet. Since its inception in 2009, ECOlunchbox has worked to consistently develop best-in-class, 100% plastic-free food containers. To learn more visit: ECOlunchboxes.com. 

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Say NO to Plastic Straws with The Little Straw Company

On a quest for a better, cleaner, safer planet earth I have been doing a lot of research and reading about #Zerowaste. I attended an the Volvo Ocean Race event in Cardiff a few months ago, and it opened my eyes a little more. Ocean plastic pollutions is a real problem. A problem that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.

Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. 500 million! To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day.average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day. (source nps.gov) and that is just the United States. In the UK we generates around 3.7m tonnes of plastic waste each year — of which around a third is recycled, with the rest going to landfill or incineration.

The amount of plastic which Britons throw away is set rise by a fifth by the end of the next decade – with a 34% rise in crisp packets, 41% more plastic straws and 9% more drinks bottles, according to a study done by WWF earlier this year. I personally, find it shocking that we are not doing more as individuals and as societies to preserve our environment.

But thankfully, more and more companies are making an effort to become more environmentally friendly. Ethical consumerism is on the rise, with more consumers wanting to know the products they bring into their homes are not only produced fairly, but also in a way that they don’t damage the environment.

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One of this companies is the Little Straw Company. They make metal straws ready for you to take along with you in a convenient little bag. Their packing is all cardboard and plastic free and their are available on Amazon for an affordable price. (click here)

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I take my metal straws with me everywhere, absolutely all the time. This has allowed me to drink fashionably without having to contribute to plastic pollution, and it makes it easier for children to transition into a more environmental mindset when it comes to consumerism. My son now knows that when we go out he can ask for his drinks to be  plastic ‘straw free’.

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Metal stainless steel straws are dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean and sterilize, also unlike plastic straws, metal straws will not bend or leak. Stainless steel straws are reusable and can last for a long time if you clean them properly. In addition, stainless steel does not leach chemicals – good bye BPA –  Plastic products and plastic containers manufactured to store food and beverages, such as water bottles, take-away boxes and straws may contain BPA.  Bisphenol A (BPA)  is an increasingly common industrial chemical used in the industrial production of certain plastics and resin. Over the years, BPA has been known to increase the risk of health problems, such as reproductive disorders and diabetes.

I definitely recommend using stainless steel or (yet to test) bamboo straws, not only they are better for you but also better for the environment which for me is a win/win!

You can buy The Little Straw Company started set, with cleaning brush and carrier bag on amazon – click here to get yours now! 

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Let’s Talk Stationery, Luxelu London

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend the Amazon Academy event at the Celtic Manor, Newport. I went there for work on a mission to get a taste of what is happening in the entrepreneurial world, and to meet some amazingly talented people in Wales.  SME’s and amateur entrepreneurs gathered to get tips from the pros. And just like that, the magic started to happen. I love events like this one!

One of the speakers was Gayle Hunter, founder of Luxelu London. Luxelu is “an independent British lifestyle concept and webshop on a mission to help you cultivate your perfect lifestyle.”Luxelu.com

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At the event, Gayle spoke about her journey to entrepreneur queen. It is so empowering to see women being “Girl Bosses” and challenging the status quo by setting up to shine, do business and look after their families.

“I started Luxelu as I saw a gap in the market for these kinds of Lifestyle products at affordable prices. Also, the business model allows me to determine how best to spend my working time, and has given me the opportunity to spend more time with my family,” said Gayle.

Luxelu London is a bloggers paradise! they offer a range of curated, sophisticated and divine products that go from home accessories to stationary and everything in between. Her brand is clean, ethically oriented and beautiful.

Every purchase made through Luxelu.com does something life-changing for people around the world. They work alongside an organisation called ‘B1G1’ buy 1, give 1. This organisation provides education, clean water, aid, business and a brighter future across countries worldwide. With every purchase you make, a small portion of that is going to a great cause!

After meeting Gayle we connected online and we soon discovered we the same passions. She offered to send me some of her signature collection notebooks (which are vegan-friendly) and I am in love with them!

The notebooks are girly but subtle (no glitter and sparks here) and have a high-quality feeling. The pen glides over the soft silky paper pages and it is discrete and professional enough to use at work. They come in a range of colours and I absolutely Love the autumn vibes these two amazing notebook/planners bring to my stationery collection.

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I urge you to go check Luxelu.com out this holiday season. I am sure you ‘ll find a perfect gift for your co-worker, mum, sister, friend or even yourself!

Check out my Instagram for more quick reviews, info, recipes and more.

See you soon!

 

 

Welshiefied, the Art of Welsh Living

So as you all know – or not – I moved to Wales just over a year ago. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, a “right time, right place” kind of scenario. When I arrived in Wales back in April 2018, not knowing anyone or anything in Wales I wasn’t sure if this adventure was going to pan out, but boy! it has.

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I have met wonderful people, I found my Welsh half, and have the chance to be completely connected to mother nature and the elements while being surrounded by the fantastic Valley I live in. My BF and I have traveled up and down the Welsh Valleys and West Coast discovering (for me, and sometimes him my Cardiff lad) amazing little gems along the way. From the intriguing Dan yr Ogof Caves located at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales, 15 miles southwest of Brecon, in the Brecon Beacons National Park, to Margam Country Park near Port Talbot and everything in between,  I am never disappointed when we head out for our little travels.

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Llwyn-on Reservoir

Snowdonia you are next! I can’t wait to visit North Wales and the upper west coast.

Since I have fallen completely in love with Wales and all things Welsh, we (BF and I) have created “Welshiefied” the art of Welsh living. We are not a brand but a lifestyle, lol.

We decided to create this little place for us to share all our explorations, travels, food endeavors and discoveries around the UK, with the occasional feature of places in England, Scotland and maybe even Ireland (eventually) A place to showcase this fantastic country and all it has to offer, and a place for us to be goofy and enjoy life!

Cozy Fall Mug OnixJ Welshiefied

Explore Wales with us, share tips with us, let us know where to go next! Find your Epic in the land of the dragons.

For more info about Wales visit: http://www.visitwales.com/legends

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Barry Island, Barry.

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Barry Island, Barry
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Fforest Fawr, Tongwynlais
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The Craig, Rhonda
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Me and S (the BF) that time we crossed the border to England, Stonehenge.
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Porthkerry Park, Barry
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Swansea
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Margam Park

** All photos taken by Welshiefied, for more visit us on Instagram

We will be doing a Welsh Food special soon, as I make Welsh Cakes and try local market delicatessens.

WelshVegan Fest – May 19 to May 20

It’s been almost a year since I moved to Wales, and I am always excited to find super cool, enviromentally friendly and humane events in Wales, such as the Welsh Vegan Fest!

You all know by now how I love all things Welsh! So this event hits all the marks, I mean Welsh + food + vegan! Don’t mind if I do. The event takes place over two days: the 19th and 20th May, 2018. Standard entry is £3 per day from 10:30A.M to 17:00. VIP tickets are also available for £15 which include early 10:00A.M entry for both days and a goodie bag made up of donations we have received from stallholders and businesses.

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Photo courtesy of Thw Welsh Vegan Festival

There will be over 60 stalls for both days with plenty of hot food for people to choose. But if you are more of a snack kind of person, they are also having sweet treat stalls. Also (the fun doesn’t stop there) there will be vegan friendly cosmetic brands, sustainable clothing and many animal loving, super cool vibes humans around. It is a good chance to meet more people who wont look at you funny when you order the pizza sans the cheese lol.

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Photo courtesy of The Wesh Vegan Festival – The Ice Green

Speaking of animal loving humans, all of the proceedings from the event are going to Farplace Animal Rescue (charity) which is based in Weardale but rescues animals from all over the UK, many of which may never be rehomed due to their health.

So are you convinced yet? See you there! Cardiff, Tramshed May 19th – 20th

To buy tickets or to learn more about the event, visit: http://www.welshveganfestival.com

xoxo

J


The Festival is organised by Farplace Animal Rescue. We are a UK animal rescue who help specialist cases like FIV+ cats and have helped many such cases in need from across the UK. All the profits from the festival will directly help animals

Family Cooking with Addie Gundry Recipe Books

Happy New Year!

2018 is here! Are you ready for a healthy, powerful, and enlightening 2018? I know I am!

This year I want to re-focus on healthy eating. Last year with the move to the UK, and a new house, new job, new everything it was hard sometimes to keep on track with healthy choices. But this year I am back to it 100% (ask me again in June, and we will see, lol) You can find lots of ideas posted daily on my IG stories (@Onixjihane) and on my Healthy Eating for Kids and Families Facebook group and Pinterest board (will post links at the end)

Whether you and your family choose to eat a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or traditional diet is entirely up to you. YOU and only you know what is best for you, make sure to be informed, there are so many sources of info online where you can find more details on the benefits of each diet and decide if it is for you. However remember these are not fad diets, these are life-changing options to improve your overall health. That is why they have to be tailored to you and what works best for you.

My son and I tend more to the vegetarian side of things however we are not fully vegan. It’s a process and more importantly, I want him to try everything and judge for himself what he wants and doesn’t want to eat. It’s his body after all.

Anyway, back in November, I was approached by a publishing company (St. Martin’s Press)  with these two wonderful cookbooks by Addie Gundry. The books feature a range of delicious yet easy meals for children and families.  The books are beautiful, easy to follow, family-friendly and with lots and lots of ideas.

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One book is all about cookies (My son LOVED IT) it allow us to bond over family cooking time while getting our hands covered in dough and our hair covered in flour (why does that happen when I cook with him?) Our favorite? “Tropical Paradise Cookies” with coconut and lime! simply delicious and it doesn’t take long to cook ( 10 min prep time, plus 15min cook time) * I wish I had photos but I lost them when I reformated the camera! 

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The other book “103 Everyday Dinner Ideas” is a gem. I am a working single mum, so planning my dinner meals for the week is a must. One of our favorites was the “Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese Dressing” yes! grilled lettuce! I did substitute the Blue Cheese with a milder cheese because my son doesn’t like blue cheese and I have certain cheese allergies. Another winner? “Mushroom Stuffed Grilled Potatoes” feeling the veggie vibe here? lol The book is not a vegetarian book so you can find chicken, beef and turkey recipes in there too.

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These books are the perfect addition to any recipe book library! You will find so many options to kickstart your healthy 2018 with delicious, easy foods for you and your family!

Links to my food dedicated networks

Pinterest Board 

Facebook Group

Instagram (I only post food recipes and ideas on the stories not in the actual IG feed)

xoxo

Jihane


More about Addie Gundry, she received a master’s degree in culinary arts at Auguste Escoffier in Avignon, France. She has worked for Christian Etienne, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Martha Stewart on management, restaurant openings, brand development, editorial, marketing and sales. In 2015 she was the winner of “Cutthroat Kitchen“on the Food Network. 
About the books
EASY COOKIE RECIPES: 103 Best Recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cake Mix Creations, Bars, and Holiday Treats Everyone Will Love (November 28, 2017, St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99):Gundry adds elegance to no-frills baking with delicious results. From Apple Pie Bars to Red Velvet Thumbprints, and the best classic chocolate chip cookies ever, EASY COOKIE RECIPES shows readers how to use expert tips and shortcuts to make over a hundred types of cookies, plus plenty of customizations to make these recipes your own. Once you have your baking basics down, you can explore fun inventive types of cookies. This book is a collection of playful recipes that add to, change up, and make old recipes new and exciting, while maintaining what makes cookies classic.
EVERYDAY DINNER IDEAS: 103 Easy Recipes for Chicken, Pasta, and Other Dishes Everyone Will Love (November 28, 2017, St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99): “Dinner. That word has many meanings. It can be that small window of time you have to feed the kids… hoping to convince your children to eat their broccoli before bath time. On the flip side, dinner can mean a first date, an anniversary, or even a birthday. Dinner can be a magnificent occasion, where the table is set with your finest china and crisply ironed linens. You can eat at 6 p.m. or 10 p.m. You can order pizza or poach lobster. Dinner is what you make of it,” writes Addie Gundry. With plenty of one-pot meals, dinners ready in under half an hour, and innovative flavor combinations to spice up your go-to proteins, EVERYDAY DINNER IDEAS is a home-cook’s best friend. Poised to become a go-to resource for busy people trying to cook delicious dinners, this cookbook is driven by the recipes home cooks search for most on the web, like lasagna, salmon, pork chops, and ground beef.

Holiday Must Have Gift for Mum

-This post is sponsored by Naipo Care products-

S T R E S S!!
Oh, the holidays are just a few Fridays away! gasp! can you believe it? just like that 2017 is done. Have you started your Xmas shopping yet? I admit I never do until the last minute which is why this year I have JUST started (thank you online shopping)

Xmas can be a very stressful time, heck half term holidays just now has been a very stressful enough lol. Kids out of school, bored at home, always hungry. STRESS I tell you! However, Naipo was a gift sent from the heavens! They sent me the exclusive Naipo Cordless Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat The perfect way to end your stressful days, chilling with a hot cup of tea in your bed. It comes with a very cool handy bag in which you can store your cordless massager and take it with you if you need some peace and quiet at the beach or park. (just charge in advance or use the car charger if on the go) The settings allow you to adapt to a comfortable speed, and you can opt for the experience to include heat or you can turn that option off, up to you!

Product Features

● Cordless design with rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers you an extremely free massage experience.
● 4 deep-kneading shiatsu massage nodes deliver an incredibly comfortable massage, 3D rotation massage rollers are perfect to use on your neck, back and shoulders.
● Three distinct speed and bi-direction modes mimic the feeling of a personal massage.
● Heating function for relaxing warmth that loosens muscles and enhances therapeutic value.
● A bonus vogue handbag makes it convenient to carry with you, portable and gorgeous.

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This is the perfect gift for any mum, no matter what stage of motherhood she is at, I am telling you THIS IS IT! She will love you for it. And for a limited time only, Naipo is selling their exclusive holiday edition complete with a super festive and cute print. This is a specially designed shoulder and neck massager for this 2017 Christmas, which will be sold at the end of October in limited quantity. It’s special because the design combines Christmas elements together with their unique massager technology.

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Win-win! What’s on your holiday gift list?


Available in the USA and the UK 

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Indian Hand Woven Recycled Fabric Chindi Rag Rugs

Since my move to Wales, I’ve had the change to play around with new designs when it comes to home decor. Decorating a house from scratch gives you the chance to find your style and make your space, well, yours.

 

When it comes to home styling, I am in between Scandinavian and Boho looks. I love clean lines, geometrical patterns, all white and grey looks, lots of plants (cacti are my favourite) and I also little pops of colour here and there, which is why when I saw this recycled hand-made rugs I fell in love with them.

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Indian Hand Woven Recycled Fabric Chindi Rag Rugs are made using 100% cotton recycled fabric cuts, these rugs are a delight to own. Each one of them is unique yet conforming to the story of multicoloured stripes. Not one is ever the same to the other as the colours and patterns depend on what fabrics/colours they used when making them.
I also love the fact that they are Recycled 100% Cotton.

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How are they made?

Made from colourful cotton strips, our multicoloured striped cotton, Chindi Rugs use only 100% cotton recycled fabric offcuts. Each strip of fabric is woven together creating beautiful colour combinations and a design that is perfect for bringing some playfulness to your hallway, bedroom or living room.

Using traditional handlooms, these Chindi rugs are hand woven by skilled craftspeople in India, meaning that each one is completely unique and will give your home an individual look. These eco-friendly rugs are not only striking but also hardwearing so are ideal for high-traffic areas, and the multi-tonal design means that they don’t show dirt easily either, perfect for areas with pets or messy children!

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I bought two, one for my main entry hallway and one for the bathroom and I am in love with how well they look. They give the rooms a certain eclectic look without making it look too busy.

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What do you reckon? What is your home decor style?

xoxo

Jihane


I have added lots of Scandinavian and boho home decor ideas to my Pinterest board, go check it out!

Travelling, when your flight gets cancelled

Hello, world! I have been MIA for the longest! I think I have never been absent from the blog this long. It feels good to be back.
I have been settling in Wales, new job, new flat, new life, new everything and absolutely loving every minute of it.

I have been able to do some travelling both around the UK and to Europe. A few weeks back I went to Italy! I love Italy(ans) and all things Italian. The food, the culture, the language, the scenery. Italy has always had a place in my heart.

I went to Italy to pick up my now 11-year-old son who was there with my parents and my brother. We had a fantastic family reunion with lots of Italian wine and food. Pizza and Ice-cream will never be the same after I have been to Rome, never. The bar is set high and there is no going back, lol. We got to visit the Vatican City and the Coliseum in Rome. We also road tripped to Florence (thanks for the driving dad) and visited the beautiful and majestically old roads that enchant that city. Loved it all!

The journey got me thinking about all the times I travelled with my son when he was a baby, and how hard it can be for a mum to travel alone with little ones. Added the fact you can encounter delays, lost luggage, crying kids, tantrums and the looks of so many judgemental (often kidless) adults, travelling with small kids can be dreadful.

On one occasion travelling from the UK to the USA, our luggage got left behind in Heathrow due to a delay/change in flights. Which meant we arrived before our suitcases and hence we had only the clothes we had on available. Naturally, when these things happen and you have small kids there is nothing you can do but to buy a few clothes to get you by. Please keep that possibility in mind (extra cash) in case it ever happens to you. Trust me you don’t want to be stranded in a strange city with no clothes to change into at least for the first night.
But what if you don’t have the extra money? Or what if your flight gets cancelled on your way home after you have used all your money on your vacay?

That also happened to my parents recently. As a matter fact, when they were getting ready to leave Italy and head back to Texas, Hurricane Harvey decided to create havoc. All flights to Houston got cancelled, including, my parent’s flight from Milan. All of a sudden you are left with having to find a hotel for extra nights and having to find other ways to get back home. The stress! They ended up staying an extra night in Milan and then flying to New York (instead of Houston) and then finding their way to Texas.

There are some companies in the UK that can help you seek compensation if this happens to you. Flight compensation is a thing, and it doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive.This is just something to keep in mind for travelling mums. Be prepared, and in case things go pear-shaped, make your claim. Even claims based on bad weather cancellations might have a case, so check them out, Flight Delay Claims 4 U. https://www.flightdelayclaims4u.com

Anyway, that is me for now! Have you had a flight cancelled or delayed that has caused you extra money in expenses? Have your holidays abroad been affected by Ryanair’s recent fiasco?

xoxo