It’s the end of a hard year for my eldest as Friday saw him sit his last GCSE exam. Now he rests, relaxes and enjoys the summer before picking up his results and enrolling in sixth form
An Invite to Hotter Store
Last week I was invited along to my local Hotter store in Romford after being selected as a Fit Fortnight winner to pick out a pair of shoes that I had won at Blogon the previous month. It was a chance for me to receive my very own cinderella moment where my feet would be measured by an expert to find my perfect fit.
What is Fit Fortnight?
Fit Fortnight campaign (was running between 13th – 27th May) is designed to help Hotter customers in finding a perfectly fitting show/sandal by measuring their feet and providing expert advice. All of Hotter shoes come in sizes 3-9 with some designs in half sizes and extra wide fitting options.
Meeting My Fit Ambassador
I arrived at the Hotter Romford store on bank holiday monday morning and was approached by a lovely young store assistant who instantly was welcoming and friendly. As soon as I mentioned that I was there for my Hotter Fit, the young lady then went off in to the back of the shop to get the Hotter Fit Ambassador.
Taking seat in one of the many comfortable chairs that were available. I waited for Elise, the Fit Expert to arrive.
Elise, with her bright and bubbly personality, was a lovely young lady – whom was happy to listen to what I was looking for and eager to give me advice on what would be ideal for my lifestyle.
Hotter are passionate about fit; from the design and technical teams who build clever fitting options into every pair, to the advisors who know the shoes inside out. Fit Experts are trained so that they can give you the best fitting advice possible. They take time to help you find your perfect shoe as they are passionate about finding you the perfect fit.
My Hotter Fit
After a brief introduction to Elise and a little chat about my lifestyle and type of shoe that I was looking for, I was given my cinderella experience. I had always bought shoes that were size 4 or 4 1/2, occasionally would I buy shoes that were size 5 as they would generally be too big for me. After having my feet measured I was surprised to see that my feet were actually a perfect size 5.
Across the Hotter collection, many of the shoes come in half sizes and have three width fittings, plus a multitude of clever fastening features. Hotter shoes are designed to deliver your perfect fit.
I do a lot of walking and as I work in a school a lot of my time is spent on my feet. I was looking for a pair of shoes that would be comfortable, allow my feet to breath but also I wanted them to be stylish too. I had previously told a friend about my Hotter visit and they had mentioned that the shoes were for the older generation, I have to disagree with this comment. I found the shoes to come in a variety of styles and many of them mirroring the styles that you would find in other high street stores. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many beautiful and dainty looking shoes they had on offer.
My Hotter choice
As we’re heading into the warmer months of the year I really wanted to find a pair of sandals that would looked pretty but would also last. I needed them to give my support when moving around with the children at home and at work. With the help from Elise, I chose three pairs.
‘Leah’ in aqua nubuck, ‘Tropic’ in blood orange and ‘Hannah’ in coral nubuck/suede.
I really liked the look of the Tropic style and was looking for a nice vibrant colour, sadly the citrus yellow wasn’t in stock in my size so i tried on the blood orange. The fit just wasn’t giving me the support that i needed around the toes. I have quite slim feet and the Hannah sandals fitter perfectly.
Hannah are flattering and flexible. They are a slip on sandal with an elasticated strap that gives you that added support.
“The signature ruffle detail on Hannah has been reduced to really let the beauty of this sandal show, and what a result! For feminine styling that can easily be dressed up or down, encase sun-kissed toes in a luxurious combination of Velvet Nubuck and Soft Suede.”
As soon as I placed my feet into the sandal I just knew that these were for me. My feet felt luxurious against the soft suede material. My feet felt like they were walking on air the whole time, the cushioning giving my soles the comfort that they need when walking.
Hotter Fit Fortnight
I attended the hotter fit fortnight event on the last day, so sadly this isn’t running in the shops at the moment. But, the store assistants are always there to give you advice and help you in finding your perfect fit. Hotter run these events throughout the year so keep an eye out for when they are next running in your local store so that you can find your perfect fit.
Hotter App –
EASY, FAST, FUN. FOOTWEAR AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Hotter now have an app available to download where you can discover the latest of Hotter footwear.
*I received these pair of shoes in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is a website that people can use to find, list and rent somewhere to stay. You can hire the entire place, a room in a shared house or a hotel/hostel room.
Airbnb began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay. Now, millions of hosts and travellers choose to create a free Airbnb account so they can list their space and book unique accommodation anywhere in the world.
Why we chose Airbnb
As a family of five it is considerably hard to find somewhere that will accomodate us all without having to stay in a caravan, hotel suite or book rooms with an adjoining room. We decided to give Airbnb a go.
After setting up our account we were all ready to search for a booking that would suit us. It was simple so far and I couldn’t believe the amount of accommodations available for a family of our size.
I was a little apprehensive on how it would all work out. you hear some horror stories about people booking home s on line and them not turning out to be what they were expecting, but i guess you can get that with anything. I mean how bad could it be? We could always stay in the car if it was that bad..
Searching for a home
We had decided on visiting Snowdonia, Wales for my partners 40th birthday. So we roughly knew of the area that we wanted to stay in. Once we chose the area we then put in how many quests there were going to be and the dates that we wanted to book it for.
You can even refine the accommodation by price and choose the extra facilities that you are looking for.
We found a beautiful little cottage on the edge of Snowdonia National Park – the ideal location for a trip up Mount Snowdon.
A home for the weekend
The Welsh cottage was to be our home for the weekend, we had liaised with the owners about when we would arrive and was given the directions to their home.
The cottage had 4 beds which accommodated up to 6 guests – perfect for us! A large kitchen, lounge, log burner, garden and a summerhouse with a moroccan tea room, a pool table and a dart board.
A warm welcome
We arrived late after travelling for 6 hours from London, it was dark and we wasn’t even sure if we were in the correct place. Searching for the pictures on Airbnb app to put our mind at rest before we attempted to enter the cottage.
We were given the code for the keysafe and once inside, we were knocked back by how beautiful this home was, it was full of character and so charming. The boys were elated with the summerhouse and couldn’t believe that there were ample of books and games to use.
Before arriving I had discussed via email with the hosts about putting up some banners for Paul’s birthday. As soon as he opened the door, he was greeted by the banners and balloons that were up in the dining room. They had even left a birthday card for him. The hosts had left a fresh baked loaf on the table and milk in the fridge ready for our arrival.
Our first day
As we were hiking up Mount Snowdon, we didn’t really hang around in the cottage that much. We had toast made from the lovely bread that was left for us and the boys had a game of pool whilst us adults were gathering things together for the trip up the Mountain.
Later on in the day when we arrived back, it was time for the boys to explore the surroundings and for me to get to know the kitchen. Everything in their home was there for us to use (apart from the food). It felt rather naughty going through someone’s drawers ( kitchen drawers). You can’t help but be a little nosy. We had a look at all of the decorations around the house, and there really was lots to look at. Hung on the rustic walls were decorated slates from the mines and scattered around the home and garden were painted stones.
The cottage didn’t have TV reception, although the wifi was good. We made the most of the games that were available and sitting around the log burner we played family games, we laughed and we enjoyed each others company in such charming surroundings. We felt at home.
A home from home
It really was a home from home. The boys didn’t want to come home.
The cottage more than what we had hoped for. A beautiful home in an equally beautiful location. We had a lovely time and was very grateful that the hosts wanted to share there homely home with us. I would not hesitate to go back again. It was a little weird at first being amongst someone else’s belongings, sleeping in their beds and eating from their plates but it soon began to feel warm and comfy.
The place was spacious, cosy, warm and comfortable. It had a special calming feel to it. We all just felt so relaxed.
We are now looking forward to our next adventure with airbnb in Malta and Gozo. I think this will be a totally different experience as they are holiday homes and not someone’s home that we will be staying in but still a new venture.
Hiking up Mount Snowdon
As a family we have hiked up Mount Snowdon a handful of times. The first time we did it was about 9 years ago with our two children. We took the Miners Track back then and have since done the Pyg Track and Llanberis Path.
Hiking up the mountain with three young children, I would definitely recommend doing the Llanberis path.
Llanberis path is the longest route to take up to Snowdon’s summit. The distance is 9 miles there and back, with an ascent of 975 mtrs and offers some amazing views of the surrounding mountains. As it is thought to be the easiest path to take it can be popular with families and leisure walkers and can get quite busy at times.
The path climbs along the Llanberis – Snowdon railtrack and is simple to navigate. It starts just behind the Snowdon Mountain railway station, at the end of a road you reach a cattle grid and the information boards.
As you head along a steep road you reach a cafe and just beyond that you will take a left through a gate, this is where the terrain begins to change and you clearly note that you are at the foot of the mountain.
The track becomes a little more rocky and can be unstable under the foot causing you to trip. It can be quite slippy when wet too.
The hike up can be very tiring and you will work up a sweat so I would advise you to carry extra clothing so you can layer up later on when you are closer to the summit.
It was quite a cloudy day, not so cold and the rain stayed away for us. It was ideal hiking conditions but not so great for the camera. We managed to get some clear photos on the ascend to the mountain, but it was too misty up at the summit to see anything clearly.
The Llanberis path leads along the railway and it’s a beautiful sight to see the steam train run along side you
The boys were particularly happy to see that the sheep were all around, not just on the low level ground but also over half way up the mountain you will spot sheep grazing behind the rocks
Just before half way the train line runs along to the right of the pathway but you will need to walk under the track. It’s not long after that you see a building far in the distance. This is the halfway house, where you can buy some refreshments. On previous visits, there has always been a toilet here to use but it seems that they may have closed it as it is no longer available for customers to use.
The path steepens
Once you have had a well earned break at the cafe, the ascend becomes a little more trickier and the path steepens. Is it as this point where you begin to feel the legs become a little tighter and start to ache. It was here when the visibility began to get pretty poor and we just knew it was going to get worse.
The pathway runs under the Snowdon railtrack again and as you come out from under the bridge on the other side, you may well notice a few hikers coming along from the left hand side. These are the braver few that have just walked along the Crib Goch ( I did wonder why someone was asking the way to the summit, i thought that maybe they had gone to find a toilet somewhere but my son corrected me)
The Summit is nigh
You know you are near when you notice a huge rock in the middle of the path. This is where five pathways meet – Pyg Track, Llanberis, Miners Track, Snowdon ranger and Crib Goch.
We didn’t get much of a view at the top as it was so cloudy. I believe we were within a cloud as the air was very wet.
Visibility was poor and it was much colder at the top.
It was also very busy. We decided against battling with the other hikers to the Summit, as you can see from the photos it was too busy to take the children to.
Once we had visited the toilet in the cafe at the top, it was time to get our legs working again and take the path back down.
Obviously the descent is much easier than the ascent but you still have to be careful especially when the visibility is poor. The stones under the foot are wet making them slippery. We did notice someone had a fall and was nursing a bloody face and a sore foot.
It took us a total of 5 and a quarter hours from top to bottom, including a few little breaks. Not bad going! That was 3 and a quarter hours up and 2 down.
Before venturing on the Mountain You will need
- Strong ankle supporting shoes/boots
- Waterproof clothes
- Gloves and hat ( sunglasses- the snow can be blinding with the sun)
- Extra layers of clothing in a rucksack
- Mobile charger
- Food and drink
- Check the weather conditions
- Maps are available
The more active side of the family
Before we set of the two oldest and Dad had decided that they were going to run up the mountain. We had agreed that they would go ahead and the youngest and I would meet them on our way up. We saw them coming from behind the fog just over half way up, just as the path was steepening.
Dad and the middle boy decided to carry on running down and would wait for as the bottom, the eldest stopped his run and wanted to go to the top again with his brother and me.
I think they suffered a little as they couldn’t wait to get into a hot bath with some salts to soothe their aching legs. In fact, I think we all needed it!