I originally shared this post on my blog a couple of years ago but with the holiday season looming and knowing how many people have no idea that Parental leave even exists, I wanted to share it again. 


Not to be confused with ‘Shared Parental Leave, (Ordinary) Parental Leave has gone relatively under the radar and a lot of parent’s aren’t aware of it. I wasn’t until last week and now I’m over the moon about it! Parental Leave is a right to take time off work to look after a child and can be used to spend more time with your little one(s) and strike a better balance between work and family commitments. Some of the reasons you may want to take Parental Leave include:

  • you want to take some extra leave after your Maternity or Paternity Leave
  • you’d like to spend more time with your child
  • settling your child into new childcare arrangements
  • looking at new schools

Entitlement //

You’re entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave for each child and adopted child, up to their 18th birthday. Unless your employer agrees otherwise, the limit on how much Parental Leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child and you must take Parental Leave as whole weeks rather than individual days. (If your child has a disability, you can take the leave in shorter periods than one week).

A ‘week’  is equal to the length of time an employee normally works over 7 days. For example I work 3 days a week, so a ‘week’ of Parental Leave for me is 3 days.

Eligibility //

You are eligible for Parental Leave if all of the following apply:

  • you have worked for your current employer for at least a year by the time you want to take the leave.
  • you are named on the child’s birth or adoption certificate
  • you have or expect to have parental responsibility
  • you’re not self-employed or a ‘worker’, eg an agency worker or contractor
  • you’re not a foster parent (unless you’ve secured parental responsibility through the courts)
  • your child is under 18

Notice Period //

You must give 21 days’ notice before your intended start date and unless your employer requests it, this doesn’t have to be in writing.

If your employer feels that the leave would disrupt business too much, or needs more time to arrange suitable cover, they can postpone your leave for up to six months but they must explain why they have postponed your leave within 7 days of the original request and they have to suggest a new start date that must be within 6 months of your requested start date.Your employer cannot postpone your leave if you apply to take some Parental Leave immediately after your baby’s birth, they don’t have a ‘significant reason’ to do so or it means you would no longer qualify for Parental Leave, e.g. postponing it until after your child’s 18th birthday.

What happens if you change jobs? //

Parental Leave applies to your child and is not related to your job, so should you change jobs, it’s up to you to keep a track of how many weeks you have used up and inform your new employer how many weeks you are carrying over from your previous job. Obtaining evidence of a new employee’s Parental Leave record, could be nigh on impossible for a new employer, especially if your child is in their late teens, so the focus will be on you to be honest about how much Parental Leave you have taken with previous employers.If you can afford to utilise Parental Leave, I think it’s a wonderful thing for parents. It allows me to have an extra 36 weeks off with Jack and Phoebe until they reach 18 and I’m sure it will come in incredibly handy during those long summer holidays. Although it is usually unpaid, it might be worth asking your employer if they offer paid Parental Leave as suprisingly some employers do, so check your employment contract and keep your fingers crossed!

This information is subject to change and has been written as a result of my own research at the time of writing. For more information check out

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  • Mini TravellersAugust 21, 2015 - 6:44 am

    You know I wasn’t aware of this at all, so thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. #sharefridayReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyAugust 21, 2015 - 7:34 pm

      I was actually told my employer and overjoyed when I heard the news! xReplyCancel

  • HelpfulMumAugust 21, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    I didn’t know about this! Sadly as I’m self-employed I don’t get any leave.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyAugust 21, 2015 - 7:35 pm

      Ah that’s a shame xReplyCancel

  • JessOctober 19, 2015 - 6:34 am

    I found it all so confusing when I was trying to sort mine out, I had holiday to take too so trying to figure it all out was hard, this makes it much more helpful to understand! I do think Dads should get longer off work, I know it would’ve helped me out massively! XReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:48 am

      I agree, although they can now share normal maternity leave which I think is great. This is just an added bonus on top of that xReplyCancel

  • chantelle hazeldenOctober 19, 2015 - 6:58 am

    a very helpful and informative post.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:48 am

      Thanks Chantelle. xReplyCancel

  • JodieOctober 19, 2015 - 7:35 am

    This is definitely useful information. I was quite thankful to have a hubby who was selfemployed and went back to work after just a weekend of being off with us. It gave me the space to bond in my own way.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:47 am

      A weekend, Wowser. The bonding does sound lovely though xReplyCancel

  • GeorginaOctober 19, 2015 - 7:49 am

    I wasn’t aware of this at all! So glad I read your post- my husband will be really pleased to know this! Thank you xxReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:47 am

      Glad it’s been of some help Georgina, I think it’s such an important allowance, especially for partners too. xReplyCancel

  • KateOctober 19, 2015 - 8:04 am

    I had heard of parental leave before but never knew it was as much as 4 weeks a year. That’s so handy to know, especially for things like settling into nursery etc.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:46 am

      I was pleasantly suprised when I found out and so good for partners too. xReplyCancel

  • Emily LearyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:23 am

    Informative guide. There are details here I wasn’t really aware of.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:45 am

      Thanks Emily. I think it’s one of those topics that most employed parents may not know much about but is so important to know about.xReplyCancel

  • KerryOctober 19, 2015 - 9:33 am

    A very interesting and helpful post, thank you for sharing. I’m on maternity leave atm and although don’t need parental leave it would have been handy a couple of years ago when i had Amelia xReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:44 am

      It’s handy to know isn’t it. I think it’s one of those things that most employed parents may not know about ( I didn’t first time around with jack) but will come in very handy, especially during the long summer hols / settling in at school etc. xReplyCancel

  • FabiolaOctober 19, 2015 - 11:05 pm

    Very interesting! We don’t have Parental Leave here in my home country.ReplyCancel

  • Emma TOctober 20, 2015 - 10:21 pm

    Ooh interesting. I vaguely knew about this, but don’t know anyone who’s taken it up. It could come in handy for time off for additional holiday cover. Don’t suppose you know if the contractor is as a contractor one someone else’s behalf, or if that includes someone working for the company for a fixed term?ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 22, 2015 - 7:18 pm

      I don’t know for certain sorry, I would check out the link and maybe call to ask.ReplyCancel

  • KerryOctober 24, 2015 - 7:37 am

    I have applied for parental leave in my work & it’s been declined, they state that it’s at a time when it’s not good for the businessReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 25, 2015 - 9:51 am

      Oh no! have they given you an alternative? xReplyCancel

When it comes to hobbies for kids, it can be hard to find an activity that your child will really enjoy. While there are loads of clubs offering football, gymnastics, dance and karate sessions, what options are there if your little one wants to do something other than sports?

To help you find an activity that your child will love, here are 6 cool alternative hobby ideas, for kids that want to try something a bit more unusual.

Gardening //

If you enjoy a spot of gardening, then why not try to get your kids involved? Research has shown that gardening can help kids to develop life skills, as well as improve mental health and boost self-esteem, making it a beneficial hobby. Start them off by providing their own patch or box, where they can dig, grow colourful flowers or even herbs and vegetables.

Painting //

Maybe your child is happiest when they’re being creative? If that’s the case, harness their creativity and introduce them to painting. You can start them off with acrylic paint, brushes and a notepad. As they get older, you could arrange fun days out to provide them with more inspiration.

Magic //

If your child is imaginative and enjoys make-believe, then magic could be the perfect hobby. There are loads of simple magic tricks that they can learn and then enjoy showing to their friends at school. It’s also a hobby that requires them to learn and think, helping to keep their brains active, so it’s a win-win for kids and parents!

Skateboarding //

Skateboarding is a sport that’s come in and out of fashion over the years, but without a doubt, it’s one of the coolest hobbies a kid can have. It’s also a very active hobby, helping to improve and maintain your child’s overall health and fitness levels. To get your child started, buy a cheap skateboard – like these from Skate Hut – and make sure they’re wearing protective clothing! We bought Jack one for Christmas and he absolutely loves it!

Baking //

Every child loves the opportunity to bake with their parents, especially when it involves making cakes. If your little one loves spending time in the kitchen, then baking could be a really fun hobby for them. But of course, this does require close parental supervision!

Photography //

Kids love to get their hands-on technology, whether it’s phones, remotes or cameras. So why not provide them with a fun hobby like photography? Start off by buying them a cheap child-friendly digital camera and watch them with joy as they snap away!

Disclosure: PR collaboration. All images from Pinterest.

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A family holiday is a wonderful opportunity to make special memories, take lovely photographs and appreciate your other half and your wonderful children. On the flip side, planning a family holiday can be stressful and take a lot of time, from researching a destination and booking, to packing and sorting out documents.

You may decide on a cruise, as with so many places to visit and excursions included, the hard work is done for you, right? Not necessarily. To help you make the most of your much-anticipated family getaway, here are some top tips for cruising with toddlers and kids.


Check Age Requirements //

You may think that you can just pick your preferred cruise, book and then when the time comes, hop on board. However, this may not be the case because some cruises have minimum age restrictions. Although this should be no issue for toddlers or kids, if you plan on travelling with a baby, make sure you research minimum age before booking, as some impose a 12-week age limit.

Lots and Lots of Research //

Looking at destinations and excursions is just not enough when it comes to choosing a cruise. When you are travelling as a family, you also need to consider the availability of any kids’ clubs or organised family activities. Thinking ahead about how you will keep your little ones entertained while onboard is key, as it will both keep you sane and make your holiday more enjoyable.

Plan to Arrive Early //

If your cruise liner will be setting sail from the UK then this may not apply, but for those who need to catch a flight, it’s a good idea to arrive early. This means that if the worst should happen – a delayed flight, lost luggage, or problems caused by bad weather – you should still arrive on time to catch the start of the cruise.

Pack the Essentials //

If you have been on a family holiday before, then you will know that packing for a baby, toddler or child can be very stressful indeed. The best advice is to start early. Make a list, consider if there is anything you will need to buy and pack in advance. Remember to include a light-weight pram (this will be easier for excursions), basic medical supplies, their favourite toys and your tablet loaded with their favourite films or shows.

Adapt Your Cabin //

Your choice of accommodation is crucial to the success of your family cruise. If you have any specific needs, speak to your cruise operator before booking as they may be able to assist. Alternatively, be prepared to adapt your cabin when you arrive as you may need to change the layout slightly to accommodate your family. A Bolsover cruise can be a fantastic holiday, but to make sure your family has the best time possible, use these tips to plan ahead.

Disclosure: PR collaboration

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At the beginning of every year I like to make a list of places I’d love to visit, ranging from local towns in the UK to exotic and far-flung destinations. Even though I know I won’t make it to all (or many) of the places on my list, it gives me a bucket list of places to dream about and save up for.

There are a couple of places that feature on the list every year that I’m yet to travel to, including Hawaii. From sipping cocktails on the beach, to learning how to surf there are a million ways i’d love to spend my time there so I’ve decided to to make a ‘dream holiday guide’ that we can use as an outline of fun things to do and see if we ever make it there.




We are huge fans of villa holidays and I’ve found some incredible homes for rent in Hawaii including these beauties…


Don’t they look utterly idyllic!




Millions of people visit Hawaii each year to spend time on the sandy beaches, explore the rainforests and enjoy everything the state has to offer. Formed by volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is made up of more than 100 islands but is best known for its eight main islands; Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, Kahoolawe. Not all are inhabited or possible to visit but the 4 most popular ones (Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii) have so much to offer.

When it comes to amazing things to see and do, I think Hawaii is the sort of dream trip that would require months just to scratch the surface, but here are a few of the places that are on my ‘must visit’ list:

Haleakala National Park //


Towering over the island of Maui and visible from just about any point, Haleakala Crater offers the most wonderful vantage point to see the most incredible sunrises and sunsets.

Akaka Falls // 


Beautiful Akaka Falls is perhaps the island of Hawaii’s most famous waterfall. It’s perhaps the most popular waterfall thanks to its accessibility, making it perfect for families to visit. The walk will take you through forests containing wild orchids, ferns and bamboo groves before coming out at the stunning falls.

Waipi’o Valley //


One of the most spectacular valleys in all of Hawaii, Waipi’o looks utterly stunning. Lush, with dramatic sea cliffs, I’d love to join an organised tour to experience all this valley has to offer.

Pearl Harbour //


You can’t come to Hawaii without taking the time to visit the famous site of Pearl Harbour to honour those who died during an attack by the Japanese in World War II. Tours are readily available.

Paradise Cove //


At Paradise Cove, you can take part in a traditional Luau. You’ll be welcomed with tropical music, setting the scene for the evening and then take a stroll through a Hawaiian village. In the village, you can be shown how to make a traditional Hawaiian lei and you can get into the spirit with a temporary Polynesian tattoo.

Visitors of Paradise Cove have a chance to try their hand at several traditional Hawaiian games including O’o ihe (Spear throwing), ‘Ulu maika (Rolling stone disks) and Moa pahe’e (Dart sliding) and in the evening you can experience a ‘shower of flowers’ as a tree climber ascends to dizzying heights and showers the crowd below with fragrant flowers, participate in the Hukilau on the beach, where you haul in the fishing nets to the rhythm of a conch shell and witness the time-honored techniques of underground oven cooking at the Imu Ceremony.

best beaches



As you’d expect there are hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous beaches to visit but here are a few that have caught my eye.

Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii //


I’m not usually one for black sand but Punalu’u beach is famous for its endangered green sea turtles and it is one of the few areas the turtles choose to lay their eggs.

Kauna ‘oa Beach, Hawaii //


Kauna’oa beach is one of the prettiest white sand beaches in Hawaii. It’s a real family beach with good access to facilities and is not only great for sunbathing, but also for activities that do not require high surf such as snorkelling. There is also the opportunity to spot Manta Rays in the evening whenthe Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (that is next to the beach) turns on floodlights over the water after the sun goes down. These lights attract plankton, which in turn attract hungry (but harmless) manta rays. There is even a lookout called “Manta Ray Point” where you can get a good view.

North Shore, Oahu  //


If the perfect wave exists, you’ll find it on Oahu’s North Shore. The towering, glassy winter waves of this legendary surf mecca draw the best surfers in the world, while smaller and gentler summer waves are better for beginners. Stretching for more than 7 miles, the beaches of the North Shore host the world’s premier surfing competitions during the peak winter months and if you visit between November and February you may witness waves up to 30 feet high!

Lanikai, Oahu //

Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Oahu, HawaiiLanikai is a pure paradise with pristine sands, turquoise water, calm waves and lush tropical plants and is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world!

Have you been to Hawaii? Can you recommend anything else to see and do?

Disclosure: PR collaboration. (All images taken from Pinterest and the Luxury Retreats website)

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  • JanineFebruary 14, 2018 - 1:50 pm

    Hawaii is also on top of my travel bucket list. Hopefully one day I will be able to go. With kids or without. A colleague in work has been there for two weeks over Christmas.Slightly jealous.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyFebruary 16, 2018 - 8:31 pm

      Ah, jealous! Sounds amazing xReplyCancel

Valentine’s Day is a lovely chance to show your special someone just how much you care. You could send flowers, gift a heart-shaped box of chocolates, or book a romantic dinner, but what if you’d like to do something that’s a bit outside the box?

Valentine’s is a perfect excuse to get a little creative, so with that in mind, here are 6 sentimental gift ideas that will make your loved one go weak at the knees.

A Trip Down Memory Lane //


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As the most romantic date in the calendar, Valentine’s presents an opportunity to do something really romantic. Show your partner how much you cherish them by making a memory box or jar. Fill it with tickets, photos, keepsakes and little notes containing your favourite memories.

Plan Ahead //


Alternatively, you can use Valentine’s as a chance to look towards the future. Rather than spoiling your other half for just one day, how about gifting a whole year of date nights? This could include movie nights, ice skating, star gazing, summer picnics, a night away, or a mini road trip. I adore these 52 Date Night Cards from Thispaperbook!

Go Back to the Beginning //


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Whilst a memory box is a thoughtful and meaningful gift, you could consider going back to the beginning. Plan a cute Valentine’s date at the spot where you first met, cook the first meal you ate together, or recreate the night you first said, ‘I love you.’

Serious Pampering //


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Life can be hectic and stressful – even more so when you have a family to look after – so use Valentine’s Day as a chance to show your significant other how much you appreciate them. So, say thank you for everything they do with a homemade pamper kit. You could include a bottle of their favourite tipple, a sweet treat, relaxing bath products and scented candles.

Special Jewellery // 


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It’s a well-known fact that Valentine’s is a popular day for proposals, but what about those of who us are already married? You could give a special piece of jewellery to reaffirm your commitment, such as an eternity ring, to show them just how much they mean to you.

Food for Thought //


Image credit

If the special someone in your life is a bit of a foodie, then a homemade bake could be the perfect Valentine’s gift. Make a cake and write a sweet message with icing pens, bake romantic themed cupcakes, try Valentine’s themed doughnuts, or go for heart shaped meringues.

Which one of these sentimental Valentine’s gift ideas will you choose? Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Disclosure: PR collaboration

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