Lifestyle

School’s Out! Now What?!?

Summer is a season filled with endless possibilities and opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore new places, or simply relax and unwind, creating a summer bucket list can help you make the most of these warm and sunny months. In our blog:  School’s Out! What Now What?!? we’ll explore whether you should think about drawing up a summer bucket list.  We will provide tips for creating your own personalised list of activities and experiences to enjoy before the season comes to an end.  As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Why Create a Summer Bucket List? Tips for Creating Your Summer Bucket List: Summer Bucket List Suggestions At Home Outdoor Activities Days Out Whether you choose to create a bucket list or not, we hope our suggestions will give you some exciting ideas of things to do with your little ones to make sure you have an unforgettable summer. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Protecting Your Pets From The Summer Heat

As the temperature rises during the summer months, it’s essential to remember that our furry friends need extra care and attention to stay safe and comfortable in the heat. From preventing heatstroke to providing adequate hydration, there are several steps pet owners can take to protect their beloved animals from the summer heat. In this post, we’ll discuss some important tips for protecting your pets from the summer heat. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Understanding the Risks First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the risks that hot weather poses to pets. Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to heatstroke, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Additionally, hot pavement and surfaces can burn their paw pads, leading to pain and discomfort. By being aware of these risks, pet owners can take proactive measures to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries. Provide Ample Shade and Water One of the most important things you can do to protect your pets from the summer heat is to provide them with ample shade and fresh, cool water. Ensure that your pets have access to shaded areas both indoors and outdoors, and consider setting up a shaded spot in your yard with a canopy or umbrella. Additionally, be sure to refill your pets’ water bowls regularly with fresh, cool water to keep them hydrated throughout the day. Limit Outdoor Activity During Peak Heat Hours During the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., it’s best to limit your pets’ outdoor activity as much as possible. Avoid taking them for walks or engaging in vigorous exercise during these hours, as they are more likely to overheat. Instead, opt for early morning or late evening walks when temperatures are cooler, and be mindful of signs of heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting or drooling. Protect Their Paws Hot pavement, asphalt, and sand can quickly heat up and burn your pets’ paw pads, causing pain and discomfort. To protect their paws from burns, try to walk your pets on grass or shaded surfaces whenever possible, and avoid walking them on hot pavement during the hottest part of the day. You can also invest in protective booties  for your pets to wear during walks, especially on particularly hot days. Never Leave Pets in Parked Cars This cannot be emphasised enough.  Never leave your pets unattended in parked cars, even for a few minutes. On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly skyrocket to dangerous levels, leading to heatstroke and even death. If you need to run errands, leave your pets at home where they can stay cool and comfortable indoors. Recognize the Signs of Heatstroke Despite our best efforts, pets can still succumb to heatstroke if they become overheated. It’s essential for pet owners to recognize the signs of heatstroke, which include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, weakness, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heatstroke, immediately move them to a cooler area, offer them water to drink, and contact your veterinarian for further guidance. Useful Gadgets To Keep Your Pets Cool As always, we’ve done our homework to make shopping as easy as possible for you. We are sure that your pets will thank you for treating them to some of these useful items to keep them nice and refreshed during the hot summer days. Have a happy and worry-free summer Protecting your pets from the summer heat requires diligence and proactive care. But, by following these simple tips, you can ensure that your furry friends stay safe and healthy all season long. Remember to provide ample shade and water. Limit outdoor activity during peak heat hours and protect their paws from hot surfaces. Never leave them in parked cars, and recognize the signs of heatstroke. With a little extra care and attention, you can enjoy a happy and worry-free summer with your beloved pets by your side. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Ultimate Heat Survival Guide

Ah, summer – the season of beach days, BBQs and melting popsicles.   But don’t worry, with our ultimate heat guide you won’t be melting like Disney’s Olaf this summer.  So, grab your sunscreen and a cold drink because we are about to dive headfirst into the art of staying cool when the mercury rises. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Embrace The Early Hours The sun is most fierce between the hours of 10.00am and 4.00pm.  During this time it’s time to retreat to the shade.  Plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures will be more bearable. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is your best friend in the battle against heat exhaustion.  Stay hydrated and refreshed all day long with an insulated water bottle that keeps your drink icy cold, no matter how high the mercury climbs. Dress For Success Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.  These fabrics allow your skin to breathe and set to evaporate.  Don’t forget to rock a wide-brimmed hat and shades to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to keep your pets protected from the heat too.  This pet cooling vest is perfect for keeping your pet cool, even on the hottest days and these doggie shoes are an absolute must for protecting your dogs paws from the extreme heat from the sidewalk. Seek Shelter When the heat becomes unbearable, seek refuge in an air-conditioned space.  Places like shopping centres, cinemas or libraries.  Not only will you stay cool, but you might also discover a new favourite book or movie in the process Stay At Home Make sure that you keep your home cool by closing blinds and curtains during the day to block out the sun’s heat.  We recommend investing in a portable air conditioner or high velocity fan to turn your home into a refreshing oasis. In summer, avoid using heat-generating appliances such as an oven and opt for light, refreshing meals.  Think salads, sandwiches and fruit bowls and check out our easy summer dinners, BBQ series and summer chocolate desserts for delicious foods and treats which are quick and easy to make.  And beat the heat with our homemade popsicles made in these  popsicle mold from fresh fruit and fruit juice. And, when you are out and about, keep your snacks and drinks chilled with an insulated picnic cooler and a chillable wine tumbler will allow you to sip your favorite summer beverage in style no matter how hot it gets. On the balcony or in the garden, stay cool and protected from the sun’s harsh rays with a sturdy beach umbrella . Get Wet and Wild Take a dip in the pool, run through sprinkles or have a water balloon fight.  We love these refillable water balloons for a summer of guaranteed fun! Chill Out With Chill Products Make sure to invest in cooling personal products such as: We’re Ready For You Summer! With these real and useful cooling products in your arsenal, you’ll be ready to tackle even the hottest summer days with ease. So grab your sunscreen, put on your shades, and get ready to chill out in style! Summer, here we come! Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Embracing Body Positivity and Loving Our Bodies (All Year Round!)

As you know, at The Opinionated Magpies we are all about focusing on wellbeing and positivity.  We love highlighting different ways in which you can improve your day to day life using tools such as mindfulness, journaling and  havening.  And, this blog will not be any different.  In this blog we will highlight and break down society’s unachievable standards of body perfection and focus instead on embracing body positivity and loving our bodies all year round. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Feelings of Inadequacy As summer approaches, many of us find ourselves bombarded with messages about achieving the perfect beach body. Magazines containing countless diets to help you achieve “the dream beach body”.  Adverts showcasing airbrushed models. Social media influencers flaunting their seemingly flawless physiques.  When we are surrounded by all these images of “perfection” it can be easy to feel inadequate in comparison. However, in a world where unrealistic beauty standards are constantly perpetuated, it’s important to remember that EVERY body is a summer body. Embracing body positivity is about celebrating and loving ourselves just as we are, regardless of shape, size, or appearance. Be Body Positive All Year Round Now, of course we all like looking and feeling good.  We are no different and come March we start panicking about the excess pounds gained by overeating the Christmas goodies but, it is important to recognize that our worth is not determined by our outward appearance.  We are worthy of love, respect, acceptance and fun EXACTLY the way we are. At The Opinionated Magpies, we believe that rather than striving for an arbitrary standard of beauty we should focus on nurturing our bodies and minds in ways which promote overall health, wellness and vitality.  This means nourishing ourselves with nutritious foods, engaging in regular physical activities which we enjoy, prioritising sleep and managing stress. Embracing body positivity involves being happy in our own skin and as such we need to learn that true happiness and confidence stems from self-acceptance and self-love.  When we learn to appreciate and celebrate our bodies for all that they are, we unlock a sense of freedom and empowerment that transcends superficial appearances. Tips for Cultivating Body Positivity: Practice Self-Compassion Be kind to yourself, especially when negative thoughts about your body arise. Treat yourself with the same empathy and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences Curate your social media feed to include diverse body types and uplifting content that promotes self-acceptance. Seek out communities and individuals who share your values and celebrate body diversity. Focus on Health, Not Appearance Shift your focus from achieving a certain aesthetic to prioritizing your overall health and well-being. Engage in activities that make you feel good physically and mentally, whether it’s yoga, dancing, swimming, or simply taking a walk in nature. Challenge Negative Self-Talk Whenever you catch yourself engaging in self-critical thoughts, challenge them with affirmations and reminders of your worth. Remember that you are more than just your appearance and that your value extends far beyond your physical attributes. We’ve created some fabulous positive body affirmation cards which are free to download.  If you would like to receive these, click the Download Now button below. Practice Gratitude Cultivate gratitude for all that your body allows you to do.  Whether it’s experiencing the warmth of the sun on your skin, feeling the sand between your toes, or indulging in your favourite summer activities. Focus on the things your body can do rather than how it looks. Rock That Swimsuit! So, this summer, let’s shift the narrative from body shaming to body positivity. Instead of striving for an unattainable ideal, let’s celebrate the beauty and diversity of all bodies. Whether it’s your curves, scars, stretch marks or freckles, these all make you, YOU! Remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one-size-fits-all definition of attractiveness.  So, why should you feel less than perfect?  Why should you feel miserable if you have some rolls of fat or your tummy is covered in stretch marks from your pregnancies?  Embrace your tiger stripes mamma, you’ve earned them!  So go ahead and rock that swimsuit, flaunt those curves and embrace the joy of summer in the body you’re in.  It’s already a perfect beach body and you deserve to feel confident, comfortable and beautiful. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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How To Turn Challenges Into Opportunities

Personally, one of the first major challenges I remember facing is failing some exams in my first year at university.  Previously I had always done well with not much revision and I thought that this would work for me again.  Boy was I wrong!  Despite knowing that the failure was due to my own lack of preparation I totally crumbled.  Packing my suitcase and calling home I was ready to give up and return home to Gibraltar.  Thankfully, my strong family and friends network soon made me (forced me) to see sense. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough but that I had simply not worked hard enough!  This challenge presented me with an important opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson – in the face of failure one must look at the value of persisting in order to achieve long-term goals.  Facing challenges is an inevitable part of life, but how we approach and navigate them can make all the difference. In this post, we will explore how to turn challenges into opportunities As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Shift Your Perspective Instead of viewing challenges as roadblocks, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace a positive mindset that perceives difficulties as stepping stones to success. Identify the Lesson Every challenge comes with a lesson. Take the time to reflect on the situation, understand the underlying issues, and identify the lessons you can learn from it. This knowledge will empower you in the face of future challenges. Set Clear Goals Establishing clear goals provides direction and purpose. Break down your larger objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks. This not only makes the challenge seem less daunting but also allows you to celebrate small victories along the way. We have designed a FREE printable worksheet to support you on your journey to successful goal setting. No need to subscribe (although that would be an awesome way to support us) just click on the image and download. Adaptability is Key Challenges often require flexibility and adaptability. Be open to adjusting your approach and strategies as needed. This ability to adapt ensures that you can navigate unforeseen obstacles with resilience. Seek Support Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek guidance from others who may have faced similar challenges. Collaborating with others can bring fresh perspectives and valuable insights, turning a solo struggle into a collective effort towards success. Cultivate Resilience Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Cultivate this trait by maintaining a positive attitude, staying focused on solutions, and viewing failures as opportunities to learn and improve. Innovate and Create Challenges often stimulate creativity. Use them as a catalyst for innovation. Explore new approaches, technologies, or methods that can not only overcome the challenge at hand but also bring about positive change. Celebrate Progress Acknowledge and celebrate small victories along the way. Recognizing your progress, no matter how incremental, boosts motivation and reinforces the idea that challenges can lead to positive outcomes. Stay Persistent Persistence is crucial when facing challenges. Keep pushing forward, even when the road is tough. Perseverance often leads to breakthroughs, and success may be just around the corner. Reflect and Grow After overcoming a challenge, take the time to reflect on the experience. Consider what worked well, what could be improved, and how you’ve grown as a result. This reflection prepares you for future challenges and reinforces your ability to turn them into opportunities. Remember, challenges are not roadblocks but rather pathways to personal and professional development. By adopting a positive mindset and strategic approach, you can navigate challenges with resilience and transform them into stepping stones toward success. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Simple Ways To Make A Difference

As with every Monday, we start our week with a message of positivity. This week, our message is: Infuse Your Week With Purpose. Each Day Is A Chance To Make A Difference. In this blog we explore simple ways to make a difference. We all lead busy lives and it can be easy to get caught up in the daily routine and lose sight of our purpose. However, each day presents us with countless opportunities to make a difference, no matter how small. By embracing these moments we can infuse our lives with meaning and contribute positively to the world around us. And, by implementing seemingly insignificant gestures and habits we can create ripples of positive change in the world around us. Making a difference doesn’t always require grand gestures. It can be as simple as being kind, mindful and intentional in our everyday actions. Here are some ways you can make a difference every day: As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Making A Difference To Others How to Make a Difference to the Environment Making A Difference To YOU! Every Action Has Consequences Indeed, every action we take has consequences.  As such it’s essential to be mindful of how our choices affect others and the world around us. Whether it’s being mindful of our consumption habits, the words we use, or the way we treat others, being conscious of our impact can lead to more intentional and positive actions. Every day we should aim to put in place little things through which we can make a difference.  We should look to lead by example and encourage others, especially our children, to do the same. Let’s inspire each other to be the change we wish to see in the world. By embodying kindness, compassion, and integrity in our daily lives we can inspire others to do the same.  This then creates a ripple effect of positive change that extends far beyond our immediate circle. Never Underestimate the Power of One Have you heard the story of the starfish? We love it and it goes like this: Remember that even the smallest actions can have a ripple effect that reverberates far beyond what we can imagine and that each action has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life and contribute to a brighter, more compassionate world. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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How To Stay Focused During Exam Time

For those of you undertaking exams (or those with children undertaking exams), the last term before summer break is probably the most stressful of all. Learning how to stay focused during exam time and always concentrating on your goals is a key factor in achieving academic success. Here are some proven revision strategies to help you maximise your study efforts. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Set Clear Goals Clearly define your short-term and long-term academic goals. Having a road map will give your studying purpose and direction, making it easier to stay focused. Create a Schedule Develop a realistic and structured study schedule. Allocate specific time slots for different subjects or topics, ensuring a balanced approach to your studies. Prioritise Tasks Identify high-priority tasks and focus on them first. Tackling the most important subjects or challenging topics when your energy is at its peak can enhance productivity Use Active Learning Techniques Engage in active learning methods, such as summarising information in your own words, teaching concepts to someone else, or creating flashcards. Active participation strengthens your understanding and retention. Utilise the Pomodoro Technique Break your study sessions into shorter, focused intervals (e.g., 25 minutes of study followed by a 5-minute break). This technique helps maintain concentration and prevents burnout. Variety in Study Material Rotate between different subjects or topics to keep your mind stimulated. Monotony can lead to boredom and reduced concentration, so introducing variety can help maintain focus. Regular Reviews and Revisions Schedule regular review sessions to reinforce previously learned material. Spaced repetition, where you revisit information at increasing intervals, enhances long-term retention. Create a Distraction-Free Environment Find a quiet and comfortable study space with minimal distractions. Turn off notifications on your devices and inform those around you about your dedicated study time. Stay Physically Active Incorporate physical activity into your routine. Regular exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function and can help refresh your mind during study breaks. Practice Self Care Prioritise sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and stay hydrated. A healthy lifestyle contributes significantly to your cognitive abilities and overall well-being. Seek Support and Collaboration Join study groups or partner with classmates for collaborative learning. Explaining concepts to others not only reinforces your understanding but also adds a social element to your study routine. Remember, staying focused on your goals requires consistency and adaptability. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you, and don’t hesitate to make adjustments as needed. By incorporating these strategies into your study routine, you can enhance your revision process and increase your chances of academic success Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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How to plan for a successful week

Monday often sets the tone for the entire week. It can either be a chaotic scramble or a well-orchestrated launchpad for success. By approaching Mondays strategically and planning ahead, you can pave the way for a stress-free and productive week ahead. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Set Clear Goals Begin your Monday by defining your objectives for the week. What do you want to accomplish? Whether it’s work-related tasks, personal goals, or a mix of both, clarity on your objectives is essential. Write down your goals to keep them visible throughout the week. Check out our blog post on how to set realistic goals and stick to them. Prioritize Tasks Take some time on Monday to prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and importance. Identify the high-priority items that need immediate attention and tackle them first. This ensures that you’re focusing your energy on tasks that will have the greatest impact. Create a Schedule Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, create a schedule for the week. Block out time for essential activities, meetings, and deadlines. Be realistic about how much time each task will take, and don’t forget to include buffer time for unexpected issues that may arise. Delegate Responsibilities You don’t have to do everything yourself. Identify tasks that you can delegate to others and empower your team members or colleagues to take on responsibilities. Delegating not only lightens your workload but also fosters collaboration and development within your team. Practice Time Management Effective time management is key to a stress-free week. Use techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique or time-blocking to maximize your productivity and focus. Break your day into manageable chunks of time, alternating between periods of work and short breaks. Maintain Work-Life Balance Don’t let work consume your entire week. Make time for activities that recharge you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Whether it’s exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones, prioritizing self-care ensures that you’re refreshed and ready to tackle challenges head-on. Review and Adjust At the end of each Monday, take a few moments to review your progress and adjust your plan if necessary. Reflect on what went well and what could be improved. Use this feedback to refine your approach for the rest of the week. By implementing strategic planning techniques, you can set yourself up for a stress-free and productive week ahead. With clear goals, effective time management, and a focus on work-life balance, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve your objectives and navigate any challenges that come your way. Embrace Mondays as an opportunity to start fresh and make the most of the week ahead. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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International Women’s Day - Meet the Magpies

International Women’s Day – Meet the Magpies

Welcome to International Women’s Day – Meet the Magpies.  As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s a pleasure to open the doors of The Opinionated Magpies. In this blog we will share a little more about our lives and what led us to launch a blog in our forties! As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. The Opinionated Magpies are made up of myself and Milly although we do also feature guest writers.  We have been friends since our first day at primary school and, as with all friendships, there have been ups and downs. Happily always more ups than downs and I know that whatever life throws at us now, we will always be there for each other.  Raising a glass at each other’s successes and providing a shoulder to cry on or an avenue to vent whenever life gets too much. Backstory Many of you will know a little bit about what our lives are like now. Some of you may have known us for longer will also know a little bit of our backstory. But, in this blog we want to share a little more. We will share some of the experiences we have had so far which have helped form the women we are today.  So, here goes….. Colleene Growing up in a small town like Gibraltar during the 1980s was a treasure trove of simple joys and unforgettable moments. Park Fun As I suspect is the case with most of us, I don’t have many memories of life as a really young child.  But, the routine of running home from school for a quick tea, finishing off homework and then rushing off to the park with friends on roller skates and bicycles is part of a tapestry of memories that always brings a smile to my face.  These childhood afternoons were always full of fun with the park being an area for imagination and friendship where the only limits were the boundaries of our creativity. Brownie Life Another activity which I still fondly remember are my days as a Brownie Guide.  I have some wonderful memories of our “camping” days when we learnt how to cook on a fire. Collecting firewood, going on nature trails and learning about the nature of the upper rock.  You might have noticed that I say “camping”.  There’s a reason for this. Unlike with my sons who are in scouts and camp in actual tents out in the open, camping as a Brownie was a far more comfortable affair.  We actually stayed in a Brownie hut in the nature reserve and slept in comfortable bunk beds.  Still, it was an amazing experience nonetheless. It is also Brownies which makes me fondly remember some of the TV programs which we enjoyed in the 80s.  I vividly recall the excitement of running home after a Brownie meeting so as not to miss the small window of children’s TV programmes.  Mondays were a particularly good day as I remember watching some of my favorites such as Fraggle Rock,  Raggy Dolls  and The Shoe People.  The Fraggle Rock Song and Raggy Dolls intro songs always make me smile.  Other childhood favourites were Thundercuts, Duck Tales, Transformers, He-Man and The Smurfs.  Kids TV was definitely better in the 80s don’t you agree?      And for the benefit of our younger readers who might be wondering why the rush to get home for a TV programme – why not just watch it on catch up? Well my friends, catch up was not a thing back then and we also only had four TV channels to choose from, three of them in Spanish!  So you will appreciate the struggle to catch our favourite shows! Closed Frontier During the 1980s we had an additional factor influencing how we grew up in Gibraltar .  During this time the frontier with Spain was closed to pedestrians until 1982 whilst vehicular access was denied until 1987.  This meant that on the whole, we spent most of our time within the confines of a very small town.  Despite this, there were always things to do.  Weekends were often filled with picnics and rock climbing in the nature reserve which offers breathtaking views of Spain and Africa.  Time spent up the rock is always fun and there is always an adventure to be had.  Other favourite childhood activities were trips to the Alameda Gardens or the beach. This was a time when our summers seemed endless and worry free. Childhood Home Life There is another part of my childhood which I believe had an important bearing on the woman that I ultimately grew up to be.  I am the child of divorced parents during a time when such situations were less common than they are today.  That story is perhaps one for another day but the biggest impact in my personal development comes from being raised by another strong woman, my mum.   My mum taught me that there are no freebies in life. That you have to work hard for everything you have.  Watching her resilience and determination instilled in me a strong work ethic from a young age. I also learnt the importance of  being independent and self-reliant.  Additionally, watching her make countless personal sacrifices taught me that women can overcome any obstacle and succeed whilst providing a nurturing and supportive environment for their children.  It is perhaps this life lesson that provided me the courage to quit a position as a partner at a large law firm to be able to spend more time with my children.   School Life Primary School For me, recalling school life brings mostly happy memories. In primary school activities like hand painting and playing in the sandbox were always so much fun.  In the playground

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Essential Beach Gear

Living in Gibraltar comes with the undeniable perk of incredible weather.  While many associate beach days with summer, we’re fortunate to enjoy beach days year-round.  Of course many times this will involve layering up because of the cold. But,  given the lack of open space, sometimes the beach is the only place to enjoy a good kick about.  Take yesterday for example, it’s only mid-February but we enjoyed an unseasonably warm day.  We were planning on a countryside walk in Spain but it was too much of a beach day to miss.  Instead we set off on a walk up to the beautiful Catalan Bay.  It seems like many others had the same idea as we did as the beach was incredibly busy.  It ended up being a lovely few hours of sunbathing and the boys enjoying a kick about. I also enjoyed a “refreshing” (read “freezing”) dip in the sea.  Of course, this being an impromptu beach day we were missing most of our essential beach gear. But in this guide we’ll set out what you will need to enjoy a perfect beach day. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. The Essential Beach Gear Guide For a perfect day under the sun, a few essentials come to mind: Sun Protection Regardless of the season, sunscreen is non-negotiable. Shielding your family from the sun’s rays ensures a safe and enjoyable beach experience.  We opt for Altruist Cream 1 for face protection. This sun cream was created by a UK dermatologist and is highly recommended for those with sensitive skin.  It is fragrance free with a low risk of allergy and is suitable for daily use on face, body and children. The cream is easily absorbed and is not sticky.  For the body it is so much easier, especially when applying cream to younger children, to opt for a SPF spray.  Our favourite is Altruist Spray 2 While applying sunscreen to your face and body is common, many of us often overlook areas such as the scalp. The scalp, especially for those with thinner (or no hair) can be a prime target for sunburn.  Repeated exposure may contribute to hair damage and skin cancer! The use of Hair and Scalp Sunscreen 3 is therefore highly recommended. Lips are also susceptible to sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to dryness, chapping, and increased vulnerability to skin cancers. Using a Lip Balm 4  with SPF ensures your lips receive the protection they deserve, adding an extra layer of defence against the sun’s harmful effects. Shade Options  While basking in the sun is enjoyable, having a Beach Umbrella 5 or a Family Sun Shelter Canopy 6 provides shade when needed. This ensures everyone stays cool and comfortable.  For babies, we love this Baby Beach Tent With Pool 7 .The tent is lightweight, has a UV rating of 50 SPF and folds away perfectly into a compact bag making it easy to transport. Sun Hats The face and neck are particularly susceptible to sun damage. Wearing a sun hat ensures that these areas are shaded, reducing the chances of premature ageing, sunspots, and skin cancer. Many sun hats come with built-in SPF protection, adding an extra level of sunblock for your head and face. This, combined with regular sunscreen application, creates a powerful defence against UV radiation There is a whole range of different styles available.  Here are some of our favourites: Sunglasses Whether you’re strolling along the beach, hiking in the mountains, or simply enjoying a sunny day, wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection is more than just a fashion statement—it’s a crucial step in safeguarding your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunglasses with UV protection also help reduce glare caused by the sun’s reflection on surfaces like water, snow, or roads. This not only enhances your comfort but also improves visibility, reducing the risk of accidents when driving or engaging in outdoor activities. As with Sun Hats there is a style to suit each face shape and personal style.  Here are just a few options you may wish to consider: Comfortable Seating An Adjustable Beach Chair  18  or Foldable Beach Recliner 19 enhance comfort, providing a cosy spot to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings.  When choosing your seating, look for additional features such as cup holders and storage pockets which will add greater comfort to your beach experience.  Beachwear Another top essential when heading to the beach is of course, adequate beachwear.  This will range from swimwear like these Mens Swim Shorts 20 this Leopard Print One Piece Swimsuit 21 for ladies or Rash Guards  22 for kids.   Good beach or pool shoes are another must have.  Sliders 23 like these are extremely popular with kids but are a good choice for the whole family.  You should also consider Beach Shoes 24 . Type of shoe is perfect if you are visiting a rocky beach such as Rosia Bay (el kwari!) Not only will they make getting in and out of the sea a breeze but they will be perfect for other activities such as windsurfing, beach volleyball, sailing, boating, kayaking and more! Another popular beach activity is eating at a chiringuito (beach bar).  Now,  I don’t know about you but I don’t like having to get back into my clothes for a quick bite to eat.  So, for these occasions I love packing a cover up such as a Kimono.   There are so many stunning styles out there.  Here are just three of my favourites: Beach Bags We’ve  already listed quite a few essential beach gear items for your beach adventure.  But, with so many more things to add to this list, one item which should form part of your

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