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Our favourite children’s books about New York City

Our favourite children’s books about New York City

Every time we go somewhere new we strive to learn about the destination through books.  It’s one of our favourite ways of world schooling!  These are some of our favourite books about New York City for kids.  (See here my other book guides for kids)

Picture books about NYC

Most of theses picture books are way more than just basic stories and pictures – they’d be suitable for all ages of young children, not just toddlers!  They are a mix between fun stories, books that show the area and others that tell stories about the history and past of NYC.

This is New York

The classic series of books seems to turn up in all my collections!  This was in our apartment on our first night in New York and even as an adult I loved reading through it and seeing the famous streets illustrated.  Of course things change and there is always an addendum at the end of the book to update it slightly.  Perfect for all ages!

Click to see on here or Amazon UK


A walk in New York

Again this is part of a series and I featured it in my London guide.  It’s a perfect book to show some of the sights to little ones before you get there so that they’ll have some idea of what to look for.

See this book on or Amazon UK here.



This is a classic children’s book set in NYC and it’s loved equally by adults!  Eloise lives in the Plaza hotel which is just at the corner of Central Park and is quite a character!

See more about this book on or Amazon UK.


Balloons over broadway

This is a picture book based on the true story of the person behind the famous Macy’s Parade in New York at Thanksgiving.  If you’ve ever wondered how the event got started and who was behind it, this book is for you.  It’s nicely illustrated and I’d say for slightly older children as it has lots of details in it.

See more about it on or Amazon UK


The man who walked between the towers

Even the cover of this book makes me feel all funny!  I can’t imagine how it must have felt to do it!

This is the story of a frenchman named Philippe Petit who one day set up a high wire between the twin towers in NYC as they were finishing being built and proceeded to walk across performing tricks as he went!  Sounds crazy but was actually a true story!

You can see more about this book on or Amazon UK


Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing

This is a wonderful story and one I didn’t know was true!  When the Brookyn Bridge was built there was some concern about ow strong it was and how long it would last.  So a show was put on and 21 elephants went across to show its strength!  Told in a lovely way this is a great book for learning the history of the bridge.

See this book on or Amazon UK


The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

I remember reading this with my kids and it was a definite favourite of ours.  We really wished we could have gone to see it in real life on our recent trip but afraid it wasn’t to be.  Next time perhaps!

This book tells the story of a little lighthouse who thinks he’ll not be needed once the big bridge is built over him until one day when he gets his chance to shine!

See this book on or Amazon UK


The Story of the Statue of Liberty

This is a beautifully illustrated book about the Statue of Liberty and the story behind it.  It would be a perfect accompaniment to a trip to see the statue up close and to learn more about it.  It’s suitable for young kids and older.

See this book on or Amazon UK


Non Fiction children’s books about New York City

Not for Parents New York

This is a great book for older kids who thrive on learning snippets of information and facts about a place.  Told in a fun way this talks about lots of different aspects of the city from the stock market to the transport options.

You can see more about this book on or Amazon UK


New York City Children’s map

This is a great map just for kids covering mostly Manhattan.  It’s a great way to get kids involved in planning routes, where you’re going and how to get there.

You can see it on or Amazon UK here.


Kids chapter books set in New York City

I feel there should definitely be a few more books in this category so I shall get looking to see what else comes up.  Here’s two that we’ve enjoyed:

Stuart Little

Stuart Little is the tale of a small mouse who lives with his human family in New York City.  If you’re familiar with the movie that was based on the books you’ll know all about it.

We found it a little hard to read sometimes as it’s quite an old fashioned tale, but ultimately enjoyed it.  It’s suitable from about ages 9+

Buy this book on or Amazon UK


Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief

My daughter absolutely loved this set of books and read them when she was about 11.  The first book has many of the main scenes set all around the US and Mount Olympus was actually the Empire State building in NYC and was one of the things my daughter was most excited about seeing when we got there.

Highly recommended series and can inspire a love of greek myths too!

Check out the book on or Amazon UK

Samson Go Mic review – best travel microphone around!

Samson Go Mic review – best travel microphone around!

When we set off on our travels it was with the intention of becoming a digital nomad and working on the road.  I had a podcast that I was intending to record and keep going while travelling and so I needed a microphone that would be good for travel.  I heard about this super small usb microphone, bought it and loved it, so this is my Samson Go Mic review.

Samson Go Mic Review – podcasting while travelling

I will start by saying that I really didn’t have much idea about what to expect with microphones.  I’d never used one before, the technical jargon meant nothing to me and I really just wanted something simple, something that worked and something that was better than my macbook’s inbuilt mic.

I realised that to keep my kit small, I wanted to go with a usb mic.  USB microphones are basically just plug and play and that’s what I needed for my set up.

In saying that, there was no reason to get something that was tiny but that didn’t work well at all.  Thankfully, even though I know very little about sound quality in technical terms, I can tell the difference between rubbish sound and good sound.  I’d certainly listened to enough podcasts with crappy audio!


>>> See the Samson Go Mic on Amazon UK here or <<<


The Samson Go Mic was really everything I wanted.  It is small – only about 2 inches in length.  You can see it here sat on my hand (and I haven’t got huge hands!)

samson go mic usb condenser size

It ‘packs away’ within the inbuilt clip, which keeps it nice and safe while travelling and it has its own small padded case that it lives in.  The cable won’t fit in the case mind you, but if you’re like me and have a few different cables in your bag, it just lives in there with them!  If you’re looking for a good travel microphone then this is what won it for me.  The size is just not comparable with other good microphones out there.  I considered a headset but that would have taken up far too much room for me.


Speaking of the clip, that’s excellent for either attaching to your laptop, your desk or other item you want.  When I used this at home I’d clip it to a camera tripod we had which brought it up to the right height for me.  Alternatively it can be just placed on your desk and it acts as a stand for the mic.


The microphone can swivel round so you can get the best sound.  Sometimes I’d find that I couldn’t get it to stay in the position I wanted to have it, but generally that wasn’t too much of an issue.


There’s a couple of different settings you can use with a small switch on the side.  I basically tried them all out and went for the one that sounded best for me, but I think they were for if you wanted a more direct sound pick up or wanted sound picked up from all around.  Like I said, I’m not very technical with it all!


There’s also a headphone jack in the side so you can have your computer sound in your ears rather than being picked up by the microphone.


If you’re looking for a microphone for any kind of digital nomad work whether that’s Skype, recording videos, podcasts, live streaming it’s really perfect.  If you’re serious about the sound that comes out you might find it’s not up to par (although I was really happy with the quality), but if size is an issue, and let’s face it, for travellers it often is, then I don’t think you can beat this one.  It’s tiny, it works really well and it’s a really reasonable price too.

>>> See the Samson Go Mic on Amazon UK here or to read reviews and see the latest price <<<


What is the best Kindle to buy in 2016

What is the best Kindle to buy in 2016

Kindles and ebook readers in general have really taken the world by storm and changed how books are read.  If you’re a big reader and especially if you’re looking to read on the go you’re probably wondering what is the best Kindle to buy since there are so many different kinds available at the moment.

What is the best Kindle to buy?

Its not a case of asking which Kindle is the best but more which Kindle is best for me.  You see, I’d say that every one of them are really great products, but that wouldn’t mean that they all would be perfect for my style of reading, how often I read and my budget.

I’m going to go through the four main Kindle models that are available at the moment which will hopefully give you a good idea of what the pros and cons of each version are.


Amazon Kindle

The most basic version of the Kindle still packs a great punch and if you’re looking for just a basic ebook reader with nothing too fancy then this one will most likely do the job for you.  I have the basic version and although I think I will upgrade to a Paperwhite soon (for the reasons below) it’s still a fantastic bit of kit.

It doesn’t have quite the resolution of the more expensive versions but I still find it excellent on my eyes and it does feel like you’re reading text on a book rather than on a screen.

If you’re not sure how much you’ll like reading on an electronic device or if you would just rather spend your money on some kindle books then this one is a great choice.

>>> To find out more about the spec and the latest price click here or Amazon UK <<<


Kindle Paperwhite E-reader

I’m a traveller so for me I’d be looking for the best Kindle for travel and I think paperwhite version would be perfect for that.

The reason why I think the Paperwhite is better than the more basic for travel and taking abroad is the fact that you can get it with free 3G.  That means that if you’re abroad with no internet access you can still browse the online store and download books whenever you want without worrying about hefty costs for roaming charges.

The battery on the paperwhite still lasts a really long time and you’re talking weeks.  So if you’re away for a short amount of time you could probably get away with forgetting your cable!

The fact that the paperwhite also has an inbuilt backlight means that for carry on travel and minimising what you’re taking it’s also a no brainer.  My current kindle has a case with a built in light and it just makes it that little bit more bulkier.  I do like reading at night and so having a light is great to stop your eyes straining, but having it inbuilt is way better!
My personal view is that the Paperwhite is the best all round ebook reader and would be perfect for a number of people who want something not too expensive, but with plenty of features.

>>> To find out more about this version of the Kindle click here – or Amazon UK <<<


Kindle Voyage E-reader

If you’re looking for something even better than the paperwhite then take a look at the Voyage version of Kindle.  It has the same resolution but an enhanced way of lighting it up makes for an amazing reading experience.  The back lit screen adjusts with the available light around you so it will always be at the perfect level for you.

It’s not a huge step up price wise from the paperwhite – if you’re looking for something a little bit more special or even as a gift for a book lover then the Voyager would definitely do it!

You can see more about the Kindle Voyager here – or Amazon UK


Kindle Oasis

The latest version of the Kindle that Amazon has brought out is a luxurious bit of kit!  The price point of this e-reader definitely puts it in to the category for serious readers!

Again the resolution is the same standard as the Paperwhite and Voyager what makes this Kindle different is the ergonomic design that is much more different than the others.   The hand grip has been designed for the most comfortable of reading experiences, although if you find that you like to change hands you might find that the design doesn’t work for you as well.

There’s also a beautiful leather case as well which can also keep the kindle charged as well which could make the charge on the ebook reader last for months!

Although a more serious investment product than the others, I can see that if reading was what you loved to do then this would be a perfect ebook reader! or Amazon UK


Best Kindle for kids

If you’re looking for the best ereader for kids then I really think that a Kindle can be an awesome choice.  However as with all of us, the best reading device for kids will depend on the personality and age of your child.


It still begs the question about which is the best Kindle to buy, even if it’s for a kid.  If you’re looking for an all round good ereader for kids and are at all concerned about budget and about the possibility that your kids might break it (don’t worry, they’re pretty sturdy) then you’ll probably want to stick to the basic Amazon Kindle.  The price point nowadays means that it’s easy to pick them up for all of your children to have individually.

It’s easy to keep the Kindle safe for kids too as there are parental controls on there.

If you’re in the US there’s also a service called Kindle FreeTime Unlimited which allows access to loads of kids books for a small monthly fee – definitely something to look into and I hope they’ll bring that to the UK soon!

Learn more about the basic Kindle here – or Amazon UK


Now although I think the basic Kindle is perfect for most kids, if you’ve older kids who are voracious readers and are often found reading in bed the Paperwhite version might be worth thinking about.  Of course it’s slightly more expensive and so you’ll have to think about whether your child will get the benefit of it.  I think for teenagers it’s a great option especially if they are book fiends and just are always found buried in a book!

Check out the Paperwhite here – or Amazon UK

Best snorkel gear around for travel from kids to adults

Best snorkel gear around for travel from kids to adults

kids snorkelling in poolIf you’re planning on snorkelling at any point in your upcoming travels or vacations you’ll be wanting some of the best snorkel gear. There’s a lot of choice around so what you decide upon will depend on who it’s for – is it for kids or adults – and also whether you want a whole kit, just a mask and whether you want to have it in a handy bag for travelling.


What do you need for snorkelling trips?

You could get away with simply having a mask or your basic swimming goggles, but like everything if you get the proper snorkel equipment you’ll have a much more enjoyable time.  Here’s what I suggest:

Essential snorkel equipment:


Snorkel/breathing tube

Snorkel gear that’s nice to have:


Snorkel Vest

Non Fogging Spray

A Go Pro!



Best snorkel gear for travel

If you’re travelling then you might want to get a set that is compact and provides all you need.  Weight is a consideration you need to think about if you’re flying as well.

The best snorkel set I’ve found that is not only lightweight but also has a bag to contain them is the Cressi Light Weight Premium Travel Snorkel Set.  If you’re after an all in one set with everything you need from fins, to a good adjustable mask and then a snorkel tube this one is a good buy.  What I particularly like about this is that it has a dry top snorkel – basically what this means is that if the top of your snorkel goes underwater, which it tends to do from time to time if you’re not used to it, it won’t let water come through.  A valve stops it.  So if you’re worried about panicking if water gets in your snorkel, this is an excellent feature.

For an all round kit it’s a really good buy and as it has everything you need fits my criteria for the best snorkel gear!  Check out the latest prices and reviews from other people on or Amazon UK


Best full face snorkel mask

I love the look of these full face snorkelling masks for a number of reasons.   First of all they give much better vision while under water and second because it takes the worry away from having to have your mouth around the snorkel tube.
The Seaview 180° Snorkel Mask is suitable for both adults and kids and the no fuss design is just perfect if you want to worry less about your equipment and just get swimming with the fish!  Simply put the mask on and go.  Again the snorkel tube has a valve meaning that water won’t flow down in to the mask if you inadvertently put your head down too deep.

Of course you won’t be able to pinch your nose with this kind of mask to release pressure from your ears, but you shouldn’t really be that much below water for this to matter too much.

One other thing I like about this mask is that it has a mount for a GoPro camera on it.  If you’ve ever wanted to take videos and pictures of fish when you’re snorkelling then a Go Pro set up would be a great investment and you’ll not need to worry about carrying it while you swim.  (Check out Go Pro cameras for snorkelling here – US / UK) and if you want to see what it’s like to take video underwater have a look at this video.

For beginner snorkelers and people who might be worried how they’ll get on under water I think these full face masks are a great idea.

You can find out more info on the Seaview 180° Snorkel Mask on or Amazon UK


Best snorkeling fins

If you choose a mask such as the full faced one above that doesn’t come with fins and want to try some out then you’ll need to purchase them separately.

These Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins are an excellent choice for travelling because they are a compact size.  They’ll fit nicely in carry on luggage and so if you’re fighting for space in your suitcase getting some compact snorkeling fins will be a sensible plan!

They come in a variety of colours and come with a mesh bag for easy carrying down to the sea.

Find out more about these snorkelling fins here – or Amazon UK


Best snorkel vest

If you’re not 100% confident in the water or just want something as a back up so that you don’t need to concentrate so much on keeping afloat then a snorkel vest is a great safety investment.  This SealBuddy Inflatable Snorkel Vest, which is available in pink, yellow and orange, comes highly recommended and is suitable for all sizes.

If you’re at all unsure about how you or your family will fare in the water while snorkelling then I highly recommend getting one of these snorkel jackets.

You can read more about them, plus reviews here on and a similar product on Amazon UK


Best kids snorkel set

If you’re looking for a snorkel set for kids then the size will be an issue for you.  Some masks, such as the full face one I mention above, are suitable for both adults and kids.  Make sure to check the product details and measurement guides to get one that fits your kids.  There’s nothing worse than having equipment that doesn’t work well once you have excited kids!  Even if you’re not finding fish in the sea, kids often like to practice in swimming pools like my two above!

This US Divers snorkel set for children comes highly recommended and has two sizes so will be suitable for ages 6+ (although some reviewers state they used it with younger kids – obviously depends on the size of your kids).  It comes in a blue colour or a purple/pink set and again comes in a mesh bag to keep the whole set contained.  Great to make sure no-one forgets anything!

Find out more about this set and read reviews here on and Amazon UK

If you’re after a toddler snorkel set then I’d recommend taking a look at the Aqua Sphere Sphera Reef Junior toddler swim and snorkel mask.  It’s suitable from a young age and will help to get little ones used to the water.  Although it doesn’t come with a snorkel tube it may be that really young children would struggle to use one anyway. You can check out the toddler snorkel mask here on or Amazon UK


Best travel toiletry bag – for solo travellers to families and kids

Best travel toiletry bag – for solo travellers to families and kids

Finding the best travel toiletry bag doesn’t need to be hard.  There are loads of options on the market, but narrowing down the choice depending on what your travel style is, how much you like to take and how long you’re likely to be travelling for will make choosing your travel wash bag much easier.

Finding the best travel toiletry bag

Are you looking for cheap toiletry bags or lightweight wash bags?  How much are you likely to be taking with you?  Is it just for you, for you and a partner or are you a family?

These are the things you’ll need to weigh up when looking for a good travel toiletry bag.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all answer to the best travel wash bag, but I’ve tried to seek out the best rated through reviews and best selling in a few different categories on this post.


Best hanging toiletry bag for travel – lightweight

If you’re looking for a generic travel wash bag that are suitable for carry on and are light weight then these will fit the bill nicely.  As I mention below in the family travel wash bag section, what we’ve used previously have always been really bulky and padded – not what you always want when travelling light!

Sea To Summit Toiletry Bag

The Sea To Summit wash bag has been designed specifically for travellers in mind and so is light weight.

It is still a good size but it’s interior is made of mesh which cuts down the weight considerably and also is great for keeping everything aired.  There’s nothing worse than a toiletry bag going mouldy – hopefully the design of this one will deter this!

I love that I can hang it up and still fit in everything for us all.  It’s available in both a small and a large size so go with what you think will be best for your travel style, although many have said that since it packs down so small it’s worth going for the large size.

>>> Click here for more details and reviews of this item on and Amazon UK <<<


eBags pack it flat toiletry kit

I love my packing cubes that eBags make so I was thrilled to learn that they have a toiletry bag available too.  What I really love about their design is that it’s flat, that means that you’re likely to not try and stuff too much in as it will make it more bulky and less likely to fit in a bag – that’s my theory anyway!

The material used for this and the packing cubes is great, really sturdy but also not bulky so this will be great for lightweight travel.  I like all the little pockets this one has and also that you can extend the area to make it larger if needed.  It comes in a variety of colours too so you can match your packing cubes or be a little different!

>>>For more information on this toiletry bag and reviews see it on and Amazon UK <<<



Best toiletry bag for women

Toiletry bags for women often come marketed as cosmetic organisers or even make up bags.  If you’re looking for the best make up bags for travel then the following would be a good choice but also check out the options in the family category below as they may suit as well, especially if you don’t need quite as much space as this one.

Lavievert Toiletry Bag

What attracted me to this bag was the organisational element to it.  If you’re looking to take a lot of make up abroad with you or more than a cursory amount of toiletries then this will be great for you.  There are many separate compartments, mesh separators and areas to store toothbrushes, make up brushes or eye liner pencils etc.

It’s quite a large toiletry bag so might not be suitable for carry on luggage, but if you check your luggage when you travel this would be a great choice.

Like many of the options on this page it can be hung up in bathrooms if need be.  I think this would not only be a great choice for women, but it would be a good choice if you’re looking for something roomy enough for two people’s toiletries.  There are also three colour options – black, blue and purple.  They are all nice and classic so will never go out of fashion.

To find out more, read more reviews and check the latest price of this bag click here.


Best mens travel wash bag

TSA Approved Men’s travel toiletry bag

This is one of the best mens wash bags that I found on Amazon.  I even learned a new phrase – dopp kit!  That must be an american phrase right?  Anyway, it has everything that we look for in travel toiletry bags – it has a hook for hanging up in a bathroom, it has many different sections to keep away smaller items and avoid them getting lost in the bag and it’s sturdy.

I like that it’s a very neutral bag, not girly in the slightest, it’s also available in a dark blue which might appeal if you’re fed up of black!

>>>It’s a highly recommended wash bag – check out the reviews and price on Amazon .com and Amazon UK <<<


Best family toiletry bag

A travel bag suitable for all the family needs to be a few things – large but also with plenty of organisation.  If you’re taking a lot of toiletries you really don’t want them to be stuck in a random mess in a big bag.  We try not to take too much with us when we travel – you can always buy things when you get there – but we always seem to need a decent amount of space even then!


Reisenthel wash bag

This is the toiletry bag we’ve used as a family over the last couple of years – Reisenthal is a German make and it’s a really well designed wash bag.  It’s a hanging wash bag with a nice area at the bottom that fits a number of containers (so long as they’re not too tall) and has other pockets to stow away things like nail clippers, razors, q-tips and toothbrushes.  I find it keeps everything really well organised and I love that I can hang it up to keep it from getting wet and dirty while travelling.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s well padded.  For some that might be a plus, but for me it just makes it a little more bulky than I’d like – we tend to travel carry on only so space is an issue!

>>>Click the link for more information about this wash bag on or Amazon UK <<<


Best toiletry bag for kids

I love these wash bags for kids for a number of reasons – they are robust and also fun.  Kids love to take responsibility for their own luggage if given the chance and these little bags will be perfect for them.  They’ll even come in handy when on sleep overs and when staying with grandparents.

Lassig 4Kids Mini Toiletry Bag

This mini toiletry bag is perfect for small hands and for small amounts of toiletries.  It’s a fun unisex design and there’s a few more animal designs in the range too (rhino, tiger, elephant, giraffe and turtle).  What I love about this one is that there are organisational pockets inside which helps to keep everything separate.  This is perfect for travel, but also as a way to encourage organisation in little ones too!

It’s part of a larger luggage range too for matching bags!

>>>To find out more about this product and read reviews click here for or Amazon UK<<<


Stephen Joseph Carry All Bag

This kids wash bag is another fab design – this is the shark version but there’s also a ladybird, crocodile, butterfly and a monkey to choose from.

This one doesn’t have the organisational compartments I liked in the Lassig bag above and is just one big space, but it’s well made and if appeals to your kids would be a great addition to their luggage.

>>>Check it out on or Amazon UK<<<


If you’re looking for ideas for luggage for kids then click here for my reviews of some of the best available.


Clear carry on toiletry bag

TSA approved carry on clear travel toiletry bag

If you’re looking for a transparent toiletry bag that you can take easily outside of your carry on luggage then this small container is perfect.  You don’t need anything fancy but you do need something that is strong and that will not be too big.  It’s great for men, women and even kids.  It’s got a strong zip and is made of a nice sturdy see through plastic.

If you’re going carry on only then something like this is a must.

>>>To find out more including the latest price see on and a similar version on Amazon UK. <<<


Travel organizers for toiletries

The best travel toiletry organizer you can get is travel toiletry bottles.  They’ll cut down what you’re taking immensely and make sure that you’re not taking too much.  Other gadgets that are worth getting are toothbrush heads so that you’ll cut down on any transfer of germs or soap to your toothbrush.  These are the kinds of things that I find indispensable when travelling to keep ourselves organised.

GoToob travel bottles

These little travel containers are excellent for transporting any liquids you might need to take with you.  They make sure you don’t take too much and I love the fact that they have the little sucker on them so you can attach them to walls wherever they’re needed.  As they’re food grade you could even use them for taking food that you might miss from back home!

>>>Find out more about what you can use these for here – and Amazon UK.<<<


Steripod Clip-on Toothbrush protector


These are the next step up from just plain old toothbrush covers.  While I love mine for travelling, these go to the next level by using active vapours that take out fungi and bacteria.  You don’t need to be wanting to worry about these things when travelling so I’d definitely recommend getting these!

>>> Click here for more reviews and the current price – or Amazon UK <<<