Sending a parcel abroad is always a worry. However, thanks to advancements in tech, it’s become a much faster and safer process. There are still challenges associated with sending packages abroad, but the good news is there are ways to reduce the risks.

Here, you’ll discover a brief guide on how to send packages abroad to ensure they arrive safely and quickly.

A quick guide to sending a package abroad

 

Ensure the package information is correct

If anything is going to cause your parcel to be delayed, it’s incorrect information. This includes entering the wrong address, filling out the paperwork wrong and selecting the wrong weight.

Did you know for example, that some international delivery costs are based on volumetric weight? This means you’ll need to times the length of the parcel by its height, times the width, then divide it by 5000. This will give you the volumetric weight in kilograms. If any of the information isn’t correct, the package could end up delayed in customs.

 

Choose a reliable courier

An important step before sending a package abroad, is to ensure you’re choosing a reliable courier. You’ll want to check that they specialise in international shipping and they have a great reputation online such as USPS. That way, there’s less chance your parcel will go missing or get damaged in transit.

You can find online reviews of international couriers online and they’ll help you to establish which ones are worth investing in.

 

Making sure the package is secure

When packages are shipped abroad, they typically undergo a lot more handling than they would when shipped nationally. This means the chances of them getting damaged is much higher. To avoid potential damages, make sure the package is secure.

You can do this by including plenty of bubble wrap and reinforcing the sides and bottom of the box. You’ll also want to use the H-tape method to ensure the package doesn’t open up at the top. Although you do want to add as much padding as possible, be aware that this could increase the cost of sending the parcel. So, it’s best to stick to light padding such as bubble wrap which doesn’t weigh a lot.

 

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when sending a package abroad. If you follow the tips above, it increases the chance your parcel will arrive quickly and in perfect condition. Always take your time to find the best courier and compare the best prices.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

One of the things I’m trying to teach my children as they grow up is how to find balance in life.

My son in particular loves to play on the computer, and would happily spend hours and hours doing just that.  So we make sure he has a balance between computer time, other indoor activities and getting out and about in the fresh air.

If you have slightly older children who absolutely love playing computer games I can imagine it might be a bit of a battle at times to find other things for them to do that they would enjoy just as much.

Here are some activity ideas that will hopefully tempt the gamer in your life away from their computer.

Outdoor activities that are perfect for gamers

 

Escape rooms

Escape rooms have become really popular in the last few years, with rooms popping up all over the country.

The basic idea is that you and a few friends or family members enter a room and then have an hour to solve clues and puzzles to be able to ‘escape’.  Each room has a detailed back story to it, and you normally need to either complete a heist or escape from a situation.

This kind of activity would be great for gamers who love problem solving and lateral thinking.  The whole concept was actually originally a type of video game so gamers would probably love to try the idea out in a more hands-on way.

 

Laser tag

This is a brilliant option for children and teenagers who love games like Fortnite and Call of Duty.

They can see how good their skills actually are in a game of laser tag, which has all the fun of the games they like to play at home, with the benefits of physical activity.

You could even book a laser tag party for their next birthday, so they can take on all their friends in a laser tag battle.

 

Geocaching

A more outdoorsy alternative to escape rooms for gamers who love problem solving games is geocaching.

This is where you use an app and a gps device to find hidden containers, or geocaches.  They have little log books in which you sign to say you’ve found it.  They might also contain little trinkets or toys which you can take as long as you leave something of similar value in its place.

 

40/40 and manhunt

I’m going right back to my own childhood with this one.

Younger gamers who love playing strategy games and things like fortnite may well love the action of these kinds of outdoor games.

40/40 is basically a variation of hide and seek, where you have to hide and then make it back to ‘home’ or base (this tended to be a particular tree when I played) without being spotted.

Manhunt is another version where most players have a head start to run and hide, before the hunter (or hunters) start looking for them.  The aim is to last as long as possible without getting caught, so you don’t just pick one hiding place and stay there.  You keep moving, evading capture as long as you can.

 

Whether you go with the latest trend of escape rooms or keep it old school with a game of 40/40, these ideas are all great fun for gamers in need of a break from their computers.  And the real beauty of them is that they’re brilliant fun for non-gamers too, so everyone can get involved.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

As a parent, it can be awful to even imagine our children in pain but it’s this desire to look after our own that we can use to make a difference in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children around the globe and it’s our charity that can change their lives.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to get accurate information on many of the world’s issues, so it seemed sensible to put some facts into a post and with any luck, we can come together to save some of society’s most vulnerable children.

This shortlist is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you’re interested in seeing how you can help, it’s always worth doing a little more research of your own.  In the meantime though, here are some of the places around the world where children need our help.

The most vulnerable children

Syria

Syria has been plagued with war and conflict for a very long time and as a result of the ongoing hostilities, the children of the nation are suffering. There are some scary statistics about the young people there, with an estimated 8.6 million of the 10 million children in the country requiring immediate assistance to survive and of those 8.6 million, an estimated 6 million have been forced to leave their homes.

On top of these huge numbers, you have to keep in mind that many of these children will have lost at least one parent – often both. Presented with these figures, you start to wonder how people can help when the situation is so dire? Fortunately, there are multiple charities working to help the young people in Syria. Most charities focus their support on supplying food packs, shelter and other everyday essentials to Syrian families; it’s always a good idea to check what your money is going to before you donate to any causes.

Somalia

Somalia is another country with a long history of civil conflict that has resulted in extremely challenging modern-day circumstances for the average citizen. In particular, the infant mortality rate in Somalia is unimaginable, with up to 9.5% of children dying before the age of five.

Most of these deaths are the result of diseases and illnesses like diarrhoea, pneumonia and neonatal disorders. The major concern is that the medical services in Somalia simply aren’t equipped to help the children and citizens with more common illnesses.

Most charities supporting Somalia do so through the implementation of fresh water systems as well as medical aid, which both make a huge difference to the young people living there.

The world's most vulnerable children

Yemen

Yemen doesn’t make it onto the news that often but the country has spent its entire existence in and out of civil war and conflict, crippling the infrastructure and citizens of the nation. The children are some of the worst affected, with at least 30% of children under five suffering from acute malnutrition and that figure is set to rise if things don’t change soon.

Yemen is in need of every form of aid and different charities focus on different types of support, though most direct their funds towards supplying food and shelter throughout the country.

As mentioned at the beginning of the post. This is just three of the worst cases in the world but the truth is, there are many millions of vulnerable children who need help. If you have some spare change, it’s worth donating to a charity supporting these young people. I hope this shortlist has highlighted some of the forgotten issues our planet is facing. We can make a difference!

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

For the last few years I’ve been making little treats for the children to give to their teachers at Christmas.

We’ve made biscuits and chocolate bark a few times before, so this year I wanted to try something different.  These Irish cream chocolate truffles were the perfect choice for a quick and easy gift to make.

I always thought truffles were quite tricky to make for some reason, but honestly these are so simple to do and so tasty too!

Quick and easy Irish cream chocolate truffles

 

This recipe makes about 40 truffles, and takes around 30 minutes of work to create (with about an hour more needed for chilling the mixture).

What you need:

  • 200 g milk chocolate
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 50 ml Irish cream (I used Merlyn, but any Irish cream will do)
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

Merlyn chocolate truffles ingredients

How to make the truffles:

  • Break the chocolate up into chunks and put into a microwave safe bowl.

 

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 30 second  blasts until fully melted.  If you’d rather you can melt the chocolate gently in a saucepan, or in a bowl placed over a pan of water on the hob.

 

  • Once the chocolate is melted give it a good stir, then mix in the cream and Irish cream.

 

  • Stir the mixture quickly and thoroughly to combine the ingredients together.

Merlyn irish cream chocolate truffles melted ingredients

 

  • Put the bowl in the fridge for the mixture to chill.  If you want it to chill and set a bit quicker you can transfer it to a bigger tupperware dish.

 

  • Leave in the fridge for about an hour to set.

 

  • Once the ganache is set you can make it into truffles.

 

  • Use a teaspoon or a melon baller to scoop out bitesize pieces of ganache.  Roll them into balls using the palms of your hands, then roll the balls in the cocoa powder to coat them.

 

  • Set them on a plate as you make them, then put the plate back in the fridge once you’ve made them all to stop them getting too soft.

 

  • The truffles are best kept in the fridge, so leave them there as long as possible before serving.  If you’re giving the truffles as presents then make sure you let people know it’s best to put them in the fridge as soon as they can.

Simple Merlyn irish cream chocolate truffles

 

These truffles are lovely and chocolatey, with a nice amount of Irish cream flavour.  If you want a bigger Bailey’s hit though, you can change the proportions to 100ml double cream and 100ml Irish cream.

You can also make the truffles richer and more indulgent by using good quality dark chocolate instead of milk.  And if you don’t fancy they rolled in cocoa powder then you can use chocolate sprinkles instead.  I also think they’d be lovely rolled in finely crushed amaretti biscuits.

 

One issue that a lot of homeowners face is that they struggle with disorganised and messy pantry areas in their homes.

While it’s understandable that most pantries can be a little over cluttered, they don’t necessarily need to look disarrayed. If you’re wondering how to efficiently organise your pantry in a neat and tidy way, I’ve got some excellent ideas for you. These pantry decor ideas are tried and tested and will give you the results you’re after.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Decor ideas to make pantries look supremely organised

 

A designated space for the pantry

Before we get into the details of how you should organise your pantry, you need to make sure that you have a specific space in your kitchen that is designated as the pantry area.

A lot of people make the mistake of storing utensils, crockery and cutlery and food items in several different cabinets and drawers that are spread through the kitchen. Doing this will only create further confusion and chaos. The best way to proceed when it comes to kitchen storage is by designating a pantry space.

Having a designated pantry space will make it much easier for you to keep track of your food items and other utensils.

 

Make proper zones for items

If you’re just going to stock everything randomly on the shelves of your pantry, it is going to cause major problems for you later.

You won’t be able to find something when you need it and you may need to empty out a large part of the pantry to find a specific item. The best way to organise your kitchen pantry is by making sure that you allocate specific zones for specific items. For instance, your dry fruits can be laid out in one corner of the pantry, snacks can be kept together in one corner, different types of pasta can be placed together on a particular shelf and so on.

 

Storing dry foods in see through containers

Dry food items like sugar, flour and other such products need to be stored in see-through containers or glass containers so that you can keep a proper track of the quantities that are left of each item. Refilling depleting dry food containers becomes easier when you can easily see the quantities that are remaining of each item. Further, you also need to plan your storage in such a way that items that you use on a regular and daily basis should be easily accessible and at the forefront of your pantry.  

Organise your pantry with clear jars

 

Perform a cleaning ritual

One mistake that a lot of homeowners create is that they don’t spend the time to perform a cleansing ritual for their pantry. You must to make sure that you clean out your pantry from time to time. When cleaning out the pantry, get rid of food items that have crossed their expiry date, refill depleting boxes of dry foods, donate canned foods that are extra and so on. Also, make sure that you thoroughly dust the pantry and clean it before restocking the place.

 

Labelling can prove to be very effective

You need to ensure that all the items that are stored in the pantry are properly labelled. Labelling proves to be effective not only for you but also for other people in the household. Labelling the items will make it easier to find them and put them back in their proper place. If you don’t have a label maker machine, you can use simple sticky tags on the containers and label these tags with a black permanent marker. Make sure that you label each and every one of the containers that you keep in storage.

 

Decorate your pantry a wee bit

If you’re lucky enough to have a largely-sized pantry, you can decorate the space a wee bit. Installing artificial landscaping products in the pantry area can give the space a less cluttered appeal. You can install an artificial ivy wall in the pantry to give the surroundings that natural and mesmerizing appeal. Faux hanging plants are also an excellent option if you have limited decor space in the pantry. If your pantry has high ceilings, you can put large artificial outdoor trees in the corners of the pantry. You can also place artificial flowers around the pantry to add colour to space.

 

Prepare a list for the pantry

In order to prevent confusion and chaos, keeping a proper list of all the items that you have in the pantry is essential. You can tack the list to the door of the pantry and keep updating the list as and when you need to. A printed list or a handwritten list will come in handy when you are going grocery shopping. With the help of this list, you will be able to restock your pantry in a hassle-free way as and when you need to.

 

Paint the pantry walls as you like

At the end of the day, the pantry is yours and yours alone. You can brighten it up by painting the walls in bright and vibrant colours. You can select shades of blue, green, yellow and other such captivating colours to liven up the pantry. If your pantry walls don’t have any storage racks installed on them, you can also get a professional artist to paint a beautiful and scenic nature painting directly onto one of the walls. When selecting wall paints for the pantry, make sure the colours you choose are in sync with the rest of the decor of your home.

 

There you have it, simple and easy ways to organise and decorate your pantry. These tried and tested ideas are extremely effective and will prevent any confusion and disorder that you may be facing otherwise. The kitchen pantry should always be well organised so that the members of the household don’t have any hassles in case unexpected visitors show up for a meal, or food items are needed in the case of an unforeseen emergency. Start making these changes in your kitchen pantry today!

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

After a couple of weeks of living arrows photos being taken inside, I’m so happy to have some outdoorsy ones to share again this week.

We went away for a little break to Bluestone last week, and were lucky to have cold but relatively dry weather while we were there.

We didn’t spent quite as much time out and about exploring as we did when we went last May, but still managed a few trips to the park in the village.

Living arrows

 

The children loved running around and trying out the different bits of play equipment in the park.

Then we went to explore the tree house area which has little games dotted around it.  We spent a fair bit of time playing tic tac toe which was a lot of fun.

Rhys is now old enough to actually ‘get’ the game, so I was teaching him to slow down and be a bit more strategic when he played.  The look on his face when he won a game after getting in a situation when no matter what I did he would win on the next move was just brilliant.

Do you play these kind of simple games with your children?  How old were they when they started to really understand them?

 

Living Arrows

It’s Sunday morning, and that can only mean one thing.

Time for another round up from my little Instagram community #ShowYouWereThere.

My first pick for this week is from Donna at What the redhead said.

I just think this is such a lovely photo of Donna, taken by Mel from Le coin de Mel.  And I’m just a little bit in love with Donna’s jumper!

 

Next up is this lovely family photo from Nikki at Tinker and Totsy.

If you click through to Instagram you can see all the family photos they’ve taken in the same spot over the years; it’s so lovely to watch the family grow and change!

View this post on Instagram

It was our annual visit to @beltonhousent today, we have been going every December for the past 5 years with my sister and her family to see Santa and it is one of my absolute favourite festive traditions. Every year we have taken a photo in this same spot and I love looking back on them (swipe to see them all). Despite the fact that Luna is poorly and we nearly didn’t go, my brother in law is also poorly and didn’t make it, Santa was running over an hour behind schedule (we’ll let him off, he’s a busy guy this time of year!) and Sienna for some reason refused to smile in a photo until we were about to leave 🙄, it was a lovely day. I love that it is quite a new tradition that we unintentionally created but one that we will definitely keep up with! . #thisisthebestofabadbunch #familyphotosarehard #isitreallysohardtoalllookinthesamedirectionandsmile #yesitis #nationaltrust #nationaltrustsconesarethebest #familytraditions #beltonhouse #discoverunder1k #myhappycapture #childhoodunplugged #oureverydaymoments #rememberingthesedays #pottyadventures #wheremywelliestakeme #beinthepicture #showyouwerethere #littlefamiliesofig #outdoorsfamilylife #lovelifeoutside #familysnapsunday

A post shared by Nikki (@tinkerandtotsy) on

 

My third choice is from Suzy at Our bucket list lives.

It sounds like they were having an amazing time, and look pretty snug in those outfits!

View this post on Instagram

After a ride on a husky sleigh nothing quite beats a warming berry drink. What a perfect way to warm up. Santa's Lapland also had two fires going that we could warm up by. While we were waiting for Santa we could try various snow activities with snow hockey, mini Skidoo for the kids and mini sleighs that they can drive around a bit like a scooter but without the wheels. We are wearing the suits supplied by them for the holiday which were super warm….and very bulky – – – – – #tourist #instapassport #instatraveling #mytravelgram #travelgram #bucketlistkids #bucketlistfamily #saariselka #dreamcometrue #wanderlust #santa #santaslapland #snow #waitingforsanta #finland #beinthepicture #bringthekids #lifecloseup #littlestoriesofmylife #amomentintime #capturingtheday #familydays #meandmineproject #myhappycapture #myhappyviews #nothingisordinary #oureverydaymoments #rememberingthesedays #showyouwerethere

A post shared by Suzy McCullough (@ourbucketlistlives) on

 

My last pick for this time is from Natalie at Cooper and Tahoe.

How lovely is this photo?  I would love a picture like this of my husband with the children!

Thank you so much to everyone who is using #ShowYouWereThere, I love seeing your photos popping up over on Instagram, they always make me smile so much.

 

Now my turn.

We went on a little break to Bluestone last week, and had an absolutely amazing time.

One of the highlights was the Kingdom of the Elves which we had heard so much about but had never been to ourselves before.

The children were a bit nervous to start with, so didn’t want to join in with the dressing up part, but I did my bit and had some mouse whiskers drawn on my face.

Show you were there dec 16

It really made me smile seeing so many adults around the resort and in the blue lagoon with red cheeks and whiskers painted on.  You can’t help but get caught up in the magic of it all!

 


If you’d like to join in with my little community and possibly be featured in my next round up (with a nice link back to your blog!) then just share a photo of yourself over on instagram using #ShowYouWereThere.  It’s all about getting more parents in more photos.  And if you’d like to take part in my guest post series ‘The photo I’m thankful for’ then take a look at this post or email me at thisgloriouslife@gmail.com for more information.