Groundhog Day Escapes

website ideas

When I’m at home and I’m not looking after my kids or doing housework I’m on the Internet devising my next Groundhog Day Escape (“GDE“).

Here are my favourite websites for organising date nights, days out, holidays with kids and that all important mummy time:

For the next GDE date night:

The clock tower of Big Ben at dusk. The north ...

When you’ve got kids, date nights are few and far between. When you manage to find a babysitter and the stamina to go out you want to make sure that your date night is going to be worth the effort! Too many times my date nights have flopped due to lack of planning. Thankfully this website has done the work for you. Whether you’re after dinner and drinks, a bit of culture or even romance, you’ll find your night has been sorted here. Phew! 

This is actually a dating site that sets out some great date ideas in London. I prefer the Great Date Guide website but if you run out of ideas, even though there is some overlap between the sites, you should be able to find something different here.

I discovered this website only recently. It’s a go to guide for the best bars, pubs, and nightclubs in London for “the discerning drinker”. If you’re out in London and you’re looking to quench your thirst, this site will give you the lowdown of the best places to go to in any given area and will also let you know your chances of getting in. If you would rather have a date night in than a date night out you can still enjoy a cheeky cocktail or 2 by knocking them up in your kitchen with their handy cocktail recipes!

Time Out is basically all things to all people. It caters for everyone – families with it’s kids section, foodies with its restaurants, fashionistas with its shopping directories and people like me that just have a need to know what’s going on. Time Out also do deals on restaurants, events and exhibitions in London which are also worth checking out before you venture out on your date night!

If you happen to be a London socialite and think you know every restaurant and bar to go to in London, then think again. The Nudge It features all the new restaurant, bar and club openings in London as well as all the pop ups. So if you’re feeling a little stale or want to impress with your insider knowledge, then this is the website to come to for something different.

This website covers most of the restaurants in London. You can search by area, cuisine, price, and even type. Once you’ve found your restaurant you can book a table and maybe even score a deal! You earn points through booking through the site and more points through reviewing the restaurant you went to.

This is similar to toptable above. It too has a handy “best for” feature so if you have no idea where to go but you know what kind of experience you want, chances are you’ll get it right here. You can also accrue points through booking through the site to reap rewards such as free dinners and even cookery classes!

For that battery recharging GDE vacation with the kids:

Travel Guides

Travel Guides (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))

This website actually won the Conde Naste 2012 Favourite Travel Website. If you visit this site, you’ll soon see why! It features a stunning range of handpicked boutique hotels all over the world. As the name implies, this website was mostly aimed at DINKs types. The creators of the company quickly realised that the Mr and Mrs Smiths of the world eventually go on to have kids. To cater for that, there is now a range of child friendly properties on offer that still manage to be stylish and individual. The great thing about booking through this website is that you will get some bonus extras thrown in, and they guarantee that they won’t be beaten on price!

This is another website that offers exclusive luxury holidays. There is a luxury family holiday section so if you’re travelling with kids you won’t have to compromise! There are some beautiful properties featured here in some striking locations all over the world that offer kids clubs, creches, and baby-sitting facilities. If you’re thinking about treating yourself and the kids, then check this website out.

Travelling with kids is no mean feat. The journey itself is challenging enough – by the time you get to your destination you’re ready to go home. This website features properties all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world that offer all the facilities that you’re going to need to cater for your little tykes without compromising on taste. These aren’t just child-friendly properties – they are child-tailored properties!

A specialist in family travel, tots too offer a great range of luxurious properties all over the world. Most of their properties are 5 star resorts in warm sunny places like Cyprus, Crete, Tenerife, the Maldives and the like. The resorts are described in detail and tell you exactly what facilities they offer for children and parents alike, and most importantly, what type of childcare is available. Most of these resorts offer a creche or kids club so if you’re after a holiday in the sun where you can relax (ie offload the kids 🙂 ), then this is the website to visit!

This is another luxury holiday provider (if you’re going to dream, then you may as well dream big right?!). Scott Dunn tailor makes it holidays according to what you’re looking for. Not surprisingly, for families, this will often involve childcare. This is something that Scott Dunn does very well. On their ski and villa holidays you can take advantage of their private nannies and Scott Dunn children’s clubs. Wouldn’t you?!

I have to say that this is by far and away the best travel website in the world!!! If you don’t already use it then you’re missing out! This is my go to website for all things travel. Before I book anything I do my research here. The website ranks hotels, B&Bs, villas and cottages based on travellers’ reviews. I’ve found them to be spot on and have booked the best holidays based on the information I’ve found here. Its a fail-safe, at least in my opinion. I especially love the forums. I’ve spent hours on here trawling through posts on destinations that I’m travelling to. If you like to organise your own holidays, then this is the website for you.

I’ve tried staying in hotels with my kids and its always been a nightmare. Self catering is definitely the way to go. Why stay in a hotel and bunk up in one room when you can stay in an apartment or cottage with separate rooms for your kids and your very own kitchen. This website offers some fantastic properties where you can have all the space and luxuries you have at home but on your holiday! Its also usually much better bang for your buck!

Logo of Groupon

Logo of Groupon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For that GDE on the cheap:

Finally, but most importantly are the GDE deal websites – not only do you get inspiration for your next GDE but you get it at a discount!

If you have kids then put this one in your favourites! This website always has the best names in quality kids fashion, toys, baby items and maternity at great discounts, such as Boikido, Pluie Pluie rainwear and Baghera. Beware though. If you’re counting your pennies you will be way too tempted to resist. They have new sales on every day. Stock up for Christmas!

This site is also great for kids fashion and sells some top quality designer gear from all over the world including France, Italy, Australia and the US at fantastic prices. They have a new sale every week or so.

This website offers great deals on family days out, mummy time and kids activities. I just recently purchased discount tickets to family day at the Design Museum on here. They also have discounts on kids lessons like swimming, music and art. A great way to give your kids a taste of a variety of activities without breaking the bank!

This is probably my favorite website for discounted fashion. There are new sales everyday for the whole family. There is an amazing range of womens fashion from the High Street such as French Connection, Ted Baker and James Lakeland to designers the like of See by Chloe, Calvin Klein and Gucci.  There is an equally good offering for men too. Just recently there was a sale of Oliver Sweeney shoes. It’s also great for homeware and on occasion sells discounted experiences such as driving days and cooking classes. If you’re looking for kids fashion, Zulily and Half Pint Chic are better.

My friend recently told me about Achica. It primarily sells high quality homeware and furnishings. There is also a fine food “hall” with some real delicacies (check out the chocolates). There are new sales everyday for you to check out when you have a bit of mummy time.

Cocosa sells designer fashion for men and women including Michael Kors and Pringle of Scotland. It also sells beauty products. It’s like a virtual mall. I love the presentation. Everything looks so expensive! Unfortunately it is, even after the discount, but its definitely much cheaper than paying full price! If you have a bit of mummy time, its definitely worth a browse.

Another website for discounted designer fashion with offerings like Hunter footwear and Kenzo. A bit like Cocosa but with less sales perfect for mummy time.

If you’re itching for a holiday but are short of inspiration and money then you have to check this website out. Featuring boutique hotels, villas and resorts from all over the world in stunning locations, you are spoilt for choice. You can book the holidays with or without flights and for different durations. Definitely luxe for less for the whole family.

Before you eat or shop on the High Street check this website out first for deal for the whole family. There are always discount codes available for places like Boots, Monsoon, Karen Millen, Clarks and restaurants like Pizza Express and GBK. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t!

I subscribed to these emails when I joined Mumsnet. Every couple of days they send out an email with some fantastic deals for mummy time ranging from discounts at the White Company to discounts at Vertbaudet. They also do a few group buys. Just recently one of their group buys was for Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair at over £10 off!

Time out have some fabulous discounts on musicals, operas, restaurants and experiences such as Don Giovanni, Tower of London, dance classes and London tours. This one is great for , days out, date nights and the whole family. I get a daily email and I have all too often pressed “buy”. I recently bought tickets for a chocolate walking tour!

I subscribed to these emails when I got pregnant with my 3rd baby. There are some great deals here for kids. They often have substantial discounts on car seats, nursery bedding and baby toys from top quality brands such as Britax and the Entertainer. Definitely one to subscribe to if you’re having a baby or have young kids!

This is a great deals website for the whole family. It offers discounted classes, travel, restaurants, days out and pampering perfect for mummy time.

This is one for mummy time. The ultimate pampering discount website. I recently bought a voucher for a hair cut and blow dry at Steven Carey in Mayfair. It was about gbp115 full price and I only paid gbp29! The stylist knew what he was talking about and really took his time with me. Very impressive considering how little I paid. There are lots of discounted facials and massages too! You can really go to town here and plan the perfect mummy time pampering day.

This is a fairly new deals website only having launched in August this year. There are some great offerings here, particularly to events around London. I recently bought discounted tickets to the Ski and Snowboard Show at Earls Court and a tour of Shakespeares Globe through this website. There is a new deal on every day for the whole family. Highly recommended.

I can’t not mention groupon. I believe this website was pretty much the first of its kind. It offers everything from discounted products, to restaurant deals and holidays. Definitely another one for the whole family. Its true what they say about never paying full price again – there are definitely enough deal websites out there!!!

Let me know if I’ve missed any websites that should be on this list! I’m always on the lookout 🙂


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