Bringing a bit of Lapland to your home

The Not from Lapland website is full of memories of what it used to be like to live in Lapland. So if you’re reading the site feeling jealous, here are a few tips of how you can bring a bit of Lapland to your home this Christmas.


Nothing says Lapland like a bit of snow, but unfortunately in England over the last few years that’s something we’ve been lacking. But don’t worry if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, there are some great features on the market to help you fake it. You can buy snow in a can or vinyls that you can spray or stick onto your windows to make it feel like it’s really snowing outside.

If you were really in Lapland, we’re sure some of the snow would have blown inside your home too. You can buy some fake woollen snow or even make your own fake snow to place around your fireplace and furniture to make it look like it’s covered in snow. A white fury rug will really make it look like Santa’s trodden some snow into the house.

Of course you don’t want your home to feel exactly like you’re in Lapland, you want it to feel warm and cosy as well. We’re sure a good radiator must be an absolute necessity at Santa’s Grotto in Lapland, so bring some sleek Nordic style into your own home with a VeriSmart Heating radiator. As well as being stylish, they are some of the best, most efficient electric heating available and will help you save money on energy bills which you can spend on some extra Christmas presents.

Traditionally any building in Lapland will be filled with elves building presents andwrapping them up ready for Santa to deliver to all the good boys and girls. Recreate this hive of activity by finding a few old tools like a hammer or a pair of scissors and put them on top of some brown paper. Try and find some really old tools from a second hand store or ask your parents or grandparents if they’ve got any hidden away you can borrow. Wrap some empty cardboard boxes in some brown paper and string to make it really look like they’ve been hard at work.

Finish off the look with a little bit of accessorising. A few candy canes dotted around the house will make the place feel a bit more festive. Leave some big black boots in the corner of the room to give the idea it’s really snowing outside. Whatever you do, make sure you make your home warm and festive ready to celebrate Christmas.


Can having a pet help teach children about responsibilities?

twinkl very hungry caterpillar

When reminiscing about their childhood most people include memories of their favourite pet. Whether a dog, cat, fish, Guinea pig or something more exotic like rodents or lizard, any pet can provide children with great long term friendships, joy, exercise and if you are lucky some useful life skills. No matter the age of your child, all youngsters can learn valuable lessons from owning and looking after an animal both consciously and sometimes without even knowing it.

Even if your child is just starting to walk, a small more relaxed pet, such as a rabbit or guinea pig, would provide them with a chance to relate to another living thing and deal with the emotional ups and downs of pet ownership. When introducing your child to a pet, encourage them to be gentle and soft and discuss with them the idea of understanding the needs of the animal. For example, ask your child whether the animal enjoys petting or whether the child can recognise that a gentle tugging of the ears annoys them. This sort of behaviour can teach your toddler empathy toward other living things.

If you child is reaching the primary school age, they may be ready for a more energetic pet. Older children can tolerate large animals but it is best to contact a vet or do some research, such as accessing the easy to use website of pet care professional Bob Martin, to make sure the animal best suits your lifestyle. Having a more intelligent animal can give your child a non-threatening introduction to leadership skills. A new pet or even better a puppy or kitten will require discipline, and teaching that could be an ideal task to get your child involved. This could be anything from taking the dog out to the toilet to teaching them to sit. These skills as well as giving small children confidence also give them a window into the behaviours required of leaders.

However, if you find that your 12-years-old is losing interest in family life and the family dog, changing tack on how to encourage them to interact with the animal may be useful. Give your child greater responsibilities in caring for the animal. For example, require them to hold the lead when taking their pet for a walk. Make them responsible for feeding, watering and otherwise providing the pet with the essentials needed to keep the pet healthy and happy. This will help your child to learn more about responsibility and being self-sufficient. If you make it clear the welfare of the family pet is the responsibility of your child, these skills will transfer to other parts of their life and help them to mature.

Pet ownership is not just about enhancing the life of your children through playing with the animal and creating an enduring bond. However, by involving your child – no matter what his or her age – with all aspects and responsibilities of ownership, including feeding, training and even just interacting, they will learn an important life lesson.

(No Longer) Lost in Translation

8107134068_3bda32920a_zImage: Mathew Hurst

Once upon a time we never brought our phone on holiday or if we did we kept it on flight mode, or kept it turned off in our suitcase. We loved the excitement of turning the phone on upon return from holiday, and feeling slightly gutted when you received no calls OR messages OR voicemails as you wait at the spinning round luggage belt.

Recent changes by the EU have made it possible to not only call on our phones but also to think about using the internet too and this situation is due to improve further over the next couple of years. So what are the travel essentials to pack…on your phone?

Translation apps

Google translate is an app which takes a lot of the awkwardness from the most significant barrier on being abroad – this is language. Once I ordered a latte and rather than receiving a coffee I got warm milk in a glass, the drink resembled something I would add formula to and give to a baby. It’s useful when you have a basic grasp on language but maybe struggle with more advanced terminology. ITranslate is an alternative to Google translate but it’s important to understand that you will use mobile data on your contract if not in a free wi-fi zone with these apps.

Entertainment apps

BBC IPlayer and IPlayer radio (is there anything not without an ‘I’ prefix nowadays) now enables you to download radio and TV programmes to a device which can dramatically make a difference to the boring moments in travel. For the times hanging around in airports, the actual flight and the times abroad when for some reason you miss the damp and drizzly UK Iplayer really makes a difference. It’s quick and easy to download and it’s brilliant to have a backup of quality programming in times of need.

When faced with downtime, games such as Goldify, Moving Moments and Fizz Factory can be played at Ladylucks where you can join over 1.5 million customers. This can compliment the games that you may already have installed on your device.

The ever growing Netflix has been successful in emigrating from across the pond from the US of A and part of the success is that you can pick and choose what you want to watch, so you can spend time maximising the time that you have by avoiding flicking through the TV guide, channel hopping and ending up watching re-runs of Homes under the Hammer. And nobody wants that!

So travel no longer means two weeks cut off from your home life, the news and contact with family. You can enjoy your holiday safe in the knowledge that you have apps there if you want to. Now get up early and get that towel on the sun lounger before they are all gone!


The UK Holiday Bucket List

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or because of my new found love of camping in my VW T25, but the last year I’ve not really been bothered about having a summer holiday abroad. Don’t get me wrong, the sun is lovely and all and if I had it I’d pay good money to lounge around on a beach in Mauritius for a couple of week, but the sort of holidays I could afford is much less exciting and relaxing.


As well as saving money (UK campsites are pretty reasonable) the other pluses to holidaying in the UK are being able to change your plans quite easily if the weather looks pants, not having to worry about getting a mobile signal and having familiar things on hand such as the kids favourite foods, easy access to mobile casino refer brands like vipclubcasino for chilling out with and being able to incorporate visits to friends and family along the way.

So instead of day dreaming whilst staring at pictures of long white sandy beaches, I’ve been putting together a UK bucket list of places I want to visit and take the kids to next year.


since the discovery that there are 5 campsites inside the M25, close to London, I’ve been planning a trip with the van one weekend. It would be ace to be within a short train ride of London and there is so much I would love to take the kids to see and do.

Beefeater tour at the Tower of London

I’ve never been on one but have watched a few on Youtibe and they look hilarious

Natural History Museum


The  brilliant and free Natural History museum is home to loads of dinosaurs including a roaring T-Rex. Which is sure to thrill my children.

Legoland Windsor

We have been to the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester more times than I could possibly remember and the kids absolutely love it, so I can’t wait to take them to the one in Windsor which has roller-coasters and rides as well as lots and lots of Lego.


I love cornwall, it’s like visiting a different country with it’s amazing coastline and lovely weather. But it’s not somewhere I’ve taken the kids to yet – it is quite a long drive. But I think next year will be the year to visit. And there is so much to see and do.

The Lizzard Peninsula

The Lizzard Penisula is a gorgeous stretch of coastline in Cornwall with the warmest climate in Britain and an abundance of sub-tropical vegetation. It’s like journeying to another country and absolutley has t be visited very soon.

Minack Ampitheatre

I’ve taken the kids to the theatre and they absolutely love it, so I can not wait to see their faces when they  arrive at the stunning outdoor theatre that is the Minack Ampitheatre.


Eden project

I visited the Eden Project many years ago when it was still being build and was amazed at it then – I think they only had one of the domes open to the public at that point and were still building the other. So I can’t wait to see what it is like now, 15 years later. And I know my daughter will be completely bowled over by it.

Bounce Below

An exciting network of trampolines stung in underground caves in north Wales, Bounce Below looks really exciting! I’ve already got tickets to for us to go to this and I absolutely can not wait.

What about you, where would you put on your bucket list for the UK?






10 things nobody tells you about owning a VW camper

VW campervan ownership is a bit like parenthood. It all sounds like such a good idea at the beginning and years down the line you can’t believe that nobody ever warned you about all the weird and wonderful things that it brings.

You’ll fall in love

You’ll suddenly find yourself (quite possibly for the first time ever) becoming emotionally attached to a vehicle and giving it not just a name but an entire personality and relationships with other similar vans.



This is Poppy, she’s a feisty old bird who is prone to the occasional sulk if she doesn’t get to go camping often enough. Oh, and she has a boyfriend, a younger model – the little cougar.

Yes, it’s weird.

You’ll gain lots of new friends

You’ll become really well acquainted with the people at your local garage. So much so that you can just ring them up and say ‘Hi, it’s Heather,’ and they’ll offer to fit you in as soon as possible.

To be fair, I’ve gone through a number of garages until I hit upon Campershack who know VW T25s like the back of their hands and I think I love them a little bit.

Anyone else that owns a VW camper is immediately a good friend of yours and you’ll spend a ridiculous amount of time waving as you pass other VW campervans on the road – there’s even a special wave and everything.



Breaking down is all part of the experience

Bits of your van will simply fall off in your hands for no particular reason that you can see. When you ask other VW owners about it they’ll just shrug and say ‘yeah, it happens.’ Luckily they usually just slide or stick straight back on.

Other bits will wiggle and shake and make funny noises and eventually you are going to find yourself at the side of road with an unresponsive van. Luckily, there’s a high chance another VW owner will pull up and help you out. Cause everyone with a VW is now your friend.

Best to have breakdown cover though, just in case.

You’ll start lying (to yourself and others) about how much it costs

VW vans aren’t cheap. I don’t mean to buy but to keep on the road. They seem to get through parts and petrol like you and I go through clean underwear but you’ll never allow yourself to really tot up how much she costs you. Because well, who wants to know that? Much better to bury your head in the sand and consider possibly getting a second job or finding another lucrative way to make some cash.

I know a woman who pays for her vans repairs with her Bingo Extra winnings and another who ‘decluttered’ her whole house and paid for a new exhaust with the items she sold. Admittedly she now has little in the way of belongings but hey, at least her van sounds sweet.

It’s a sickness isn’t it?

You’ll vow to do it yourself

You might never have had the slightest interest in cars or engines or how things work but (and I know it’s hard to believe) you’ll find yourself Googling problems on your van to see if you can fix it yourself – no offense lovely people at the garage but you’d quite like to be able to afford food this month and hey, how hard can it really be?

And become an expert

You’ll spend long weekends up to your armpits in engine oil armed with nothing more than a spanner set and an ipad to re-watch the YouTube instructional video on. Seriously, I spent an entire week watching youtube videos in the evenings about tuning carburettors. Up until that point I wouldn’t have known a carburettor if someone had hit me over the head with one.

You’ll also join forums about your van (I know – car forums!) and spend hours searching for information on your particular problem. You’ll eventually ask for advice and receive about 47 conflicting pieces of advice. At least one of these being not to bother your silly girly head about all that complicated boy stuff and take it to a garage.

You’ll become a stubborn ‘expert’

You’ll spend a further 3 weekends trying to prove the bugger wrong . It doesn’t matter that you’ll miss the camping trip you wanted to go one, no-one is going to tell you that you can’t fix something! And you will, eventually.

Feeling victorious you’ll book a camping weekend and end up being towed home because something else has fallen off or broken. But hey, there’s always those lovely people at the garage to help out. After all you saved a load of money fixing the last problem on your own so you can afford to splash out, right?

So err…anyone fancy a game of free bingo?

You’ll fall deeper in love

You won’t care one jot how temperamental she is and will fully believe that the next fix will be the magic one that will have her running perfectly for years. You won’t even care about all the rust that you can’t afford to fix or the splutters and backfires. You’ll not give a hoot that sometimes she can only make it up hills at 30mph on the motorway because, when you’ve been upto your nicky nacky noos in engine oil for several weekends in a row and got her on the road yourself, when you’ve spent weekends sleeping in her, been waved at by tonnes of fellow dubbers, you’ll not be able to help falling even deeper in love.



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