Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review

A few weeks ago it was mine and the Hubby's anniversary. At the time we were unable to arrange babysitting so we didn't celebrate properly. We didn't really mind and it ended up being pretty much like any other day.

Not long after that we arranged babysitting and had a weekend child-free, I was a little excited to be honest. As luck would have it I was then invited along to Jamie's Italian Nottingham for a review. Given that we had babysitting arranged already I figured it would be the perfect opportunity for the Hubby and I to have a belated celebratory meal out.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: A lovely looking restaurant from the outside.

As we drove towards Nottingham for our night out we chatted in a quiet car, it was lovely to not have to shout over arguing children.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: All dressed up, and waiting for some awesome food at Jamie's Italian.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Morgan Prince enjoys a sneaky limoncello before eating some awesome food.

We arrived at Jamie's Italian a little early and decided to have a drink in the bar before going to our table. As it was an Italian restaurant we both decided to stick with the theme and have drinks to match. The Hubby had an amaretto and I had limoncello, the sweet, citrusy liqueur was just what I needed to start a great night.

I loved the bar, although it was small the decor made it feel homey and the barman was courteous and polite. We weren't in there long though, as soon as we'd finished our drinks we went to our table.

We followed the host upstairs to our table which was located in the central dining room. I could see another dining room next to ours. As I walked into the dining room I felt like I was walking into someone's home to have dinner. Small candles sat on top of all the tables and I could see an old fireplace in another dining room. 

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Inside Jamie's Italian Nottingham, a lovely homey feel.

When the waitress brought us the menus we were spoilt for choice and it took a while to decide what we wanted to eat. We decided to order drinks before we chose our food. After perusing the cocktail menu the Hubby decided to try Jamie's Mojito and I chose a Stiletto Manhattan.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Mojitos for the Hubby at Jamie's Italian.

If you've ever had a mojito you'll know that it's a fresh, minty drink made with white rum and sparkling water. Jamie's Mojito is made using Bacardi Superior Rum and topped with Jamie's Prosecco. The Hubby enjoyed it. 

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: The Stiletto Manhattan, a lovely drink for the ladies!

The Stiletto Manhattan is made using Jack Daniels, amaretto and Martini Dry, and I thought it would be quite strong and therefore last a while. I also loved the name! The sweet taste of amaretto disguised the other alcohol enough to make the cocktail very drinkable, it didn't last as long as I'd hoped.

Once our drinks had been ordered we looked at the food menu. There were so many tasty sounding options it was a difficult choice to make. In the end I chose Italian Nachos for starter and Fresh Crab Spaghetti for main and the Hubby chose Fresh Crab Bruschetta for starter and Tagliatelle Bolognese for main.

Italian Nachos

"Crispy fried ravioli stuffed with three cheeses, served with arrabbiata and Parmesan"

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Italian Nachos, a yummy starter at Jamie's Italian.

I'm not a big fan of cheese, apart from when it's on pizza, so this isn't something I would usually choose. However, I love Nachos and that's what tempted me. When the waitress brought this to the table my mouth watered, it looked so yummy. 

The Nachos stayed crisp as I bit into them, even with it soaked in arrabbiata which had a kick to it. I'm not sure which three cheeses they use but it doesn't matter, the whole thing was delicious. If the Hubby hadn't pinched a couple of these nachos before I started he wouldn't have been able to try them. I would definitely have these again.

Fresh Crab Bruschetta

"Dressed with finely sliced fennel, lemon and chilli"

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: I love crab and the Fresh Crab Bruschetta was awesome.

When this arrived at the table I was almost disappointed that it wasn't my starter (I hadn't tried my nachos yet). I love bruschetta and crab is one of my favourites too. Within minutes the Hubby had finished it off, luckily I'd pinched a piece before it all disappeared.

The crab was succulent and the fennel, lemon and chilli complimented it. The bruschetta was crispy and crumbled in my mouth. Another great choice that I would recommend.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: More homey pictures of Jamie's Italian.

Once the starters were finished with I looked around the dining area again. I loved the homey feel of the area. The tables aren't too closely packed and even though there were 5 other groups in the dining room it wasn't too loud. As I was sitting waiting for the main course to be served I enjoyed the homey ambience. 

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Cheers! I enjoy more of my Stiletto Manhattan.
In the past, at other restaurants, we've been served our mains almost as soon as we've finished our starters. In Jamie's Italian we waited a while, which I liked, it gave me a chance to enjoy my starter and not feel stuffed too soon. 

Not to mention the fact that I got to enjoy sipping my Stiletto Manhattan while I waited!

Fresh Crab Spaghettini

"With capers, chilli, fennel, parsley, anchovies and lemon."

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Fresh Crab Spaghettini, a highly recommended main at Jamie's Italian.

The Fresh Crab Spaghettini comes in two sizes, I chose the larger one. As I said earlier I love crab and this main course did not let me down. I wouldn't hesitate to order it again. The spaghetti was soft and tasty, the crab was moist and a refreshing change.

Selecting the larger option may have been a mistake because I couldn't finish the whole thing. I was stuffed but still wanted to eat because it was so nice. I would have the Fresh Crab Spaghettini again in a heartbeat, it was heavenly.

Tagliatelle Bolognese

"Rag├╣ of beef shin and pork shoulder with herbs, Chianti & Parmigiano Reggiano and crunchy, herby breadcrumbs."

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: I didn't even get to try the Hubby's Tagliatelle Bolognese.

When it comes to Bolognese you pretty much know what you're getting. There are only so many bolognese you can have before you're bored of it right? 


This is one of the best Bolognese I've tried (yes, I pinched some of the Hubby's food) and the Tagliatelle somehow seemed better than spaghetti because it was soaked in the bolognese. The Hubby finished it off in record time (ok, that's just my opinion) and said it was really good. He'd have it again if given a chance.

Polenta Chips

"with rosemary chips"

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Jamie's Polenta Chips

After a recommendation from +Dadyougeek we tried the Polenta chips. To be honest I was so engrossed in enjoying my Fresh Crab Spaghettini that I only had one of these. The Hubby had more and enjoyed them. 

The dessert menu had four things that we wanted to try, it was really hard to choose and the Hubby even tried to convince me to have four desserts!

One of my favourite dessert flavours is lemon so I selected:

Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

"Velvety mascarpone and lemon cheesecake topped with Italian meringue, served with lemon curd and blackcurrants."

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake at Jamie's Italian was to die for!

In the past I've found that cheesecake can be a very heavy dessert and I often avoid it but the lemon convinced me to try it. 

I am so glad I chose to have this dessert. The mouth-watering, lemony scent filled my nose as I ate my first bite. The cheesecake was rich and creamy, the meringue sweet and airy, and the base was crumbly. The lemon curd and drizzled blackcurrants added an extra fruity taste to the whole thing. It was the best cheesecake I have had in a long time.

The Hubby, after much complaining at not having two desserts, chose

Sour Cherry and Almond Tart

"Almond sponge and buttery pastry studded with sour cherries, served with whipped honey cream and smashed amaretti."

Jamie's Italian Nottingham Review | Morgan's Milieu: Sour Cherry and Almond Tart at Jamie's Italian.

I was lucky to even get to try this dessert because the Hubby liked it so much. Again, sponges can be on the heavy side but this wasn't. The sponge was moist and the sour cherries were delicious. The Hubby enjoyed it so much that on Saturday, as we were walking past Jaime's Italian, he wanted to go in, just for the Sour Cherry and Almond Tart!

As a family we look forward to going to restaurants but sometimes put it off because of cost. Jamie's Italian is not the cheapest restaurant, nor is it the most expensive, and given the quality of the food it is one of the best options. 

Both the Hubby and I loved our meal at Jamie's Italian Nottingham and will definitely be returning (with our boys in tow) in future.


Is Retirement on Your Radar?

The younger you are the more likely you've not even thought about retirement yet. If I'm honest if it wasn't for the Hubby I wouldn't have done.

The Hubby takes care of most of the financial stuff in our house but I do like to know where our money goes and what money is coming in. I think it's important to keep track of your financial position, that way you're aware of any upcoming problems. Like retirement.

Many of you may be thinking,

"But I'm not even close to retirement age so why bother thinking about it?" 

But here's the thing, if you don't think about it now you could end up with problems when the time comes. You should be saving for your retirement NOW.

My Rock 'n' Roll Dad

The day before Father's Day I was a bit down, the Hubby was out on his brother's Stag night and I was missing my dad. 

We live far away from them and life often rushes by without me realising it's been almost 6 months since I saw him last. It sucks.

On Saturday night I sat watching dull TV and thinking about my dad. It was then that I was hit with inspiration, this hasn't happened for a while.

I opened up my laptop and typed away, writing a poem for my dad. I'd like to share it with you now...

How Do You Train Your Brain?

Your brain is one of the most amazing things in the universe, it controls everything going on in your body. But certain factors can affect your brain and it can get tired and lazy. Yep, that's right your brain can be lazy.

So what can you do to ensure that your brain doesn't get lazy?


Like anything else your brain needs to be used to stay healthy. Puzzles to solve, a different kind of thinking, can all help. Not to mention foods that are known to help with memory and keep you alert throughout the day. I have been sent a pack of brain training goodies to try out.

Morgan's Milieu | How Do You Train Your Brain?: A pack of brain-training goodies.

Do you remember the Rubik's cube? Remember how it would drive you crazy because you could never quite manage to do it?

Nokia Lumia Smartphones - Which is Best for You?

Until recently I had written off Microsoft when it came to mobile phones. To be honest I hadn't used any windows device in a long time, and didn't miss it. 


With our recent search for a mobile phone for Big Prince I learned that I shouldn't have dismissed Microsoft. It turns out that their phones are actually very good. The Nokia Lumia 635 is a good phone and a great introduction into the world of smartphones. 

But what about those of us who know how to use the phones and are looking for a phone to do something in particular. Well the Lumia range can handle it.

First up something that every blogger NEEDS - a great phone for Photography/Video.

Nokia Lumia 930

"With a 20MP PureView Camera and 4 directional microphones with Dolby surround-sound, you can capture high quality photos and immersive video with sound that's more true to life than ever before. Use Lumia Camera app to take full creative control of your photos, then unleash your creations through Lumia Storyteller, Instagram and your favourite social networks."

Over the last couple of weeks I've been using the Nokia Lumia 930 for photos when out on walks with the boys and I was impressed with it. Even with me taking the photos I got some good ones, and that's something special! 

On the phone itself you can edit photos using the Lumia Creative Studio which allows you to change colour, brightness, and a number of other settings to ensure you have the best photos possible.

The 32GB storage isn't a limit either because you can easily upload your fabulous photos to Microsoft's OneDrive, their cloud storage. It's fairly quick and easy and can be done from anywhere as long as you have 3G, 4G or WiFi. If you don't want the hassle of uploading the photos yourself you can set the phone up to automatically upload all your photos to OneDrive.

When you have your best photos sorted you can share through Lumia Storyteller or any other social network app you have installed on the phone. They're all (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) available on the Windows Store.

Below are a few photos (unedited) taken using the Nokia Lumia 930.

We attempted to bake Cinnamon Rolls
And then added icing sugar... mmmmm.
A walk along the canal after those Cinnamon Rolls
I loved the reflection of the boat in the water, and the sun came out! Yay!
The lake was filled with swans, ducks and geese.
They soon swam off when they realised we had no bread.
The ducks stuck around a little longer.

If you have more of an artistic eye than me (not difficult) I'm sure you could make these photos look amazing. This is the limit of my talent when it comes to photos - although I will play about with the Lumia Creation Studio to see if I can make them any better.

Another essential requirement for bloggers is to have a device they can work on from anywhere. Well the Lumia Range has you covered for that one too.

Microsoft Lumia 640

"Open the box and power on your Lumia 640 to access the full range of free Microsoft Services built in and ready to go. Connect to friends and family with Skype, enjoy instant access to your photos and music on OneDrive, and edit files with Microsoft Office from wherever you are. Balancing your work life and personal life just became easier."

Having a device that you can work on while out and about is useful and the Microsoft Lumia 640 does its best to help. With Office you can type out documents using word, or even edit documents that already exist. You can keep track of your Excel and Powerpoint documents too. I found typing on the phone a little strange but then I'm used to physical keyboards. I don't do a lot of working on my phone. Perhaps this can change now?

The social network apps are available on the Windows Store and I do like how Twitter looks on the Lumia 640. In the home feed you can see three tweets on screen but they're large and the 'favourite' and 'retweet' buttons are big enough that it's not awkward to tap them. Facebook is pleasant to use too and I find it easy to update my status and share photos.

The Lumia 640 comes with a one year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which includes the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote). The subscription includes use on one PC or Mac and 1 tablet, plus 1TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 free minutes of Skype Unlimited Worldwide calling per month. 

Sounds like a good deal to me.

Now we all need down time and playing games and streaming videos on our mobile devices has become increasingly popular. I've been know to spend a bit of time playing Candy Crush and Crack Attack! 

Again the Lumia range has you covered, enter the...

Nokia Lumia 830

"With a 1.2GHz Snapdragon quad-core processor and an exceptional, sharp 5" ClearBlack display you can enjoy faster, smoother web browsing and gaming action even in daylight conditions. In addition, its super-sensitive touch technology with Curved Gorilla 3.0 glass ensures easy use even with gloves on."

As I said I've spent a fair few hours playing games on mobile devices. The screen on the Nokia Lumia 830 is bright and colourful. It is responsive and they have some great games in the Windows Store.

Using the Lumia 830 I've played Candy Crush and Sonic Dash. I'm usually quite rubbish at playing games like Sonic Dash but on this phone I managed to last longer than ever before. I'm quite impressed!

The video streaming on this phone is good too, I love the YouTube video of Daniel Radcliffe doing the Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics and it played brilliantly on this phone. I can imagine the Nokia Lumia 830 being great for older children who are familiar with smartphones but are looking for something with a bit more power.

The Nokia Lumia 830 is powerful enough to play games and stream videos but not too expensive that you'd constantly worry about the phone being lost or stolen. 

The Lumia range is great and offers all kinds of options. Below is a table listing the specifications for the phones in this article.

Nokia Lumia 930 Microsoft Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 830
Height:       137mm

Width:        71mm

Thickness:  9.8mm

Weight:      167g
Height:       141.3mm

Width:        72.2mm

Thickness:  8.8mm

Weight:       145g
Height:       139.4mm

Width:        70.7mm

Thickness:  8.5mm

Weight:       150g
5" Full HD Display (resolution 1920x1080)
5" Display (resolution 1280x720)
5" Display (resolution 1280x720)
20MP Camera 8MP Camera 10MP Camera
32GB Memory 8GB Memory (expandable with MircroSD) 16GB Memory (expandable with MicroSD)
Quad-core 2.2GHz Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Processor
Max Talk Time (3G):  17.9 hours Max Talk Time (3G):  17.5 hours Max Talk Time (3G):  14.8 hours
Max Standby Time: 16 days Max Standby Time: 36 days Max Standby Time: 22 days

If you're considering buying a new phone perhaps take a look at the Lumia Range, with great phones that have all kinds of capabilities you'd be crazy not to.

This is a collaborative post.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Working from Home and the Influence on our children

Both the Hubby and I work at home. The Hubby spends his days surrounded by mobile devices and stares at the screen as he creates his games. I sit upstairs, in front of the computer, and write.

The Hubby usually starts work at about 7am, as soon as he gets downstairs in a morning. My workday starts at about 9:15am when I've returned from taking the boys to school. 

I love my little office these days.

I have been at home since Big Prince was born, I've raised them and been there when they needed me. It has only been the last couple of months that the boys have realised I do work while they're not at home. They love it when we get sent books or toys to review!

Residential Trips for Children

On 29th June Big Prince sets off on a residential trip to the Lake District. Given my recent nervousness about his first steps to independence you would think I'd be quite nervous about him being away for the week.

Morgan's Milieu | Residential Trips for Children: A photo of a child walking along a country path
He's on the road to his teens - and getting there fast!

But I'm not.

Would You Let Your Child Play 18 Rated Games?

The Hubby has worked in the games industry for nearly 20 years and the majority of that time was spent working on 'shooters'. One of the first games he worked on was GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. 

He's played all kinds of shooters, including Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.

Morgan's Milieu | Would You Let Your Child Play 18 Rated Games?: Photo of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and Grand Theft Auto Five

I've witnessed the disturbing scenes in Grand Theft Auto V and there is no way on this earth that I would let either of my children play this game. 

And yet there are some parents out there, that haven't seen the game, that will allow their children (sometimes aged 10-11) to play.

I know some of them. If I'm honest I don't think they're aware of just how gruesome and shocking the game is. 

Choosing a Mobile Phone For Your Child

We are on the verge of big changes as Big Prince prepares to go up to High School in September. Yesterday he took his first steps towards independence and got the bus home from his Induction Club.

I'm happy to report he made it home!

Of course I knew he would, but I can't tell you how good it felt to see him walk through the door.

I don't know how our parents coped with it, especially when, back then, there were no mobile phones. I'm not sure I could cope with it if BP didn't have a phone.

Morgan's Milieu | Choosing a Mobile Phone for Your Child: Photo of different phones side by side.

I am much more at ease knowing that he can phone me if he needs to. 

First Steps to Independence

Okay, so who's responsible for keeping this a secret? 

Every single parent out there needs to be aware of the utter dread you face.

Because the moment is coming.

Whether your little one is 6 months or 6 years the inevitable is imminent. 

It might not seem like it but believe me, it's coming.


For parents that is the one word that can fill you with fear, am I right?

Morgan's Milieu | First Steps to Independence: Photo of a tween walking with hoodie on.

My Ultimate Bucket List

Last week I was tagged by the lovely Amy over at Mr and Mrs T Plus Three to share my ultimate bucket list. I have to say I'm not much of a dreamer these days and my thoughts are often consumed with the day's to-do list rather than what 'might' be.

Morgan's Milieu | My Ultimate Bucket List: Photo taken on Daytona Beach
Living near this beach would AMAZING!

Putting this list together was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It seems I already have a lot of the things I dreamed of, lucky me.

Here's my ultimate bucket list (in no particular order)...

  1. Visit Red Square in Moscow.
  2. Live in Orlando, Florida (just for a while)
  3. Get over my fear of flying.
  4. Own a Dior dress.
  5. Finish and publish my novel.
  6. Walk in heels all day and it not hurt my feet.
  7. Live closer to my parents.
  8. Have a safe but gorgeous tan.
  9. Attend a blog conference.
  10. Tell people I write for a living.
  11. Inspire someone to start blogging.
  12. Earn money from blogging.
  13. Hire a cleaner.
  14. Hire a cook.
  15. Learn how to make myself look 'fabulous in five minutes'.
  16. Live by the sea.
  17. Tell my family I'm a writer.
  18. Have the confidence to sing on stage.
  19. Get into Tots100.
  20. See my children get married.
  21. Meet grandchildren.
  22. Get the house decorated.
  23. New bathroom for the en-suite.
  24. Have beautiful hair every day.
  25. Be the best mum I can be.
  26. Be the best wife I can be.
  27. Watch my boys become men.
  28. Fly first class.
  29. Have my teeth whitened.
  30. See my boys achieve their dreams.
  31. See the Hubby achieve his dreams.
  32. Have all the time I need, every day.
  33. Learn how to take better photos.
  34. Get the blog professionally designed.
  35. Get professional head-shots done.
  36. Have perfect vision.
  37. Get a blogging award.
  38. Find the cure for self-doubt.
  39. Touch/stroke a leopard (without fear)
  40. Visit Niagara Falls.
  41. Go on an ultimate shopping spree in New York.
  42. Be able to take my grandchildren to Disney World, Florida.
  43. Sit. Just sit and do nothing.
  44. Have nothing on my to-do list.
  45. Learn another language.
  46. Be better at taking calculated risks.
  47. Own an Aston Martin DB9 (James Bond's car)
  48. Learn to draw.
  49. Have my writing touch someone's heart.
  50. Make sure my family is happy, healthy and secure.
That was REALLY hard. 

I'm tagging these lovely bloggers if they want to join in...


Father's Day Gift Ideas

This year Father's Day falls on 21st June. I always find it hard to come up with new ideas for gifts, there's just so many things out there what on earth do you buy?

For a couple of years now the boys have wanted to make something for their dad, and I'm sure this year will be no different. It's always nice for them to put the effort in and make something they think their dad will like.

At the same time there's always those little gifts, whether they're joke gifts or just novelty ones, that add a little something to the hand-made gifts.

Morgan's Milieu | Father's Day Gift Ideas: A pint glass sliced in half.

For any beer-drinker there's the half-pint glass. This glass looks like a full pint from the front but from the side you can see it's a pint glass sliced in half. Big Prince thought this was great and wants one for himself! At £9.99 it's a great little present that is dishwasher safe (bonus).

My Top 5 TV Dads

As it's Father's Day in a few weeks I've been thinking about my favourite TV Dads. I used to watch a lot of TV when I was a kid and with my list I'll be showing my age, but here goes.

Morgan's Milieu | My Top 5 TV Dads: Jim Robinson from Neighbours
First up and my all time favourite has to be Jim Robinson from Neighbours. Jim raised his four children alone, with the help of his mother-in-law, Helen. Neighbours began in 1985 and Alan Dale played Jim Robinson until his character was killed off in 1993. I loved Jim Robinson because he clearly loved his children and at the same time strived for a life for himself. 

Morgan's Milieu | My Top 5 TV Dads: Charles Ingalls from TV show Little House on the Prairie

Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie is next. I must've been very little (or the TV show was repeated) when I watched Little House on the Prairie. I remember sitting down to have Sunday Lunch and watching the programme, it was our Sunday routine. I loved the show and thought Charles was a brilliant father, even after everything that happened to his children he managed to continue. He was admirable. 

I've only just found out, after doing a quick Wikipedia search, that Charles Ingalls was a real person! 

Morgan's Milieu | My Top 5 TV Dads: John Walton from The Waltons
Another old show I loved as a kid was The Waltons and John Walton Sir was a fantastic father. Again a Sunday routine The Waltons aired on a Sunday afternoon and we'd sit as a family to watch. Their house was big and so was their family but they stuck together through all sorts of disasters and mishaps. I remember enjoying watching, there was always a feel-good ending. 

And my favourite quote from the show? 

"Goodnight John-Boy" 

Morgan's Milieu | My Top 5 TV Dads: Howard Cunningham from Happy Days.
Who remembers Happy Days? And Fonzie - impossible to forget right? But what about Howard Cunningham, the dad. This show was brilliant, I loved watching because it was an American show and I thought Fonzie was cool. Howard Cunningham was a great dad, he enjoyed laughing with his children but was strict with them when he had to be. Tom Bosley appeared as Howard Cunningham in all 255 episodes of Happy Days, the only other character to do that was Fonzie!

Morgan's Milieu | My Top 5 TV Dads: Homer Simpson from The Simpsons.
And finally a dad that isn't always the best but always has his heart in the right place. Homer Simpson amusingly strangles Bart whenever he gets into trouble and gets annoyed at Lisa for playing her saxophone. He works (not hard but he does), he cares for his family, and loves his wife. He may be overweight, a bit of a slob, and spend far too much time drinking Duff Beer but he would do anything for his family. That is a good dad!

Oh yes, and Homer has given us one of the best quotes in the world. Done something wrong? 


What great TV dads can you think of? 
Who were your favourites?

This is my entry into the @CurrysPCWorld competition to win a Samsung SUHD TV this Father's Day.

Home Exchange Membership Giveaway

How many of you have seen The Holiday?

It's a movie starring Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. Kate's and Cameron's characters are desperate to 'get away' for Christmas and decide to do a home exchange. They live in each other's homes for the time they're away.

In the case of The Holiday, Kate's character lives in a small country cottage and Cameron's character lives in a huge mansion in Los Angeles. Their reaction to one another's homes is comical. They then go on various adventures and the movie has a brilliant feel-good ending. A must see.

Now, did you know that you can actually swap homes with other people?

Let me introduce you to Home Exchange.

Home Exchange is an online community where people swap homes for the duration of their stay. Home Exchange's mission is to connect like-minded travellers, help them travel anywhere, live like locals and stay for free.

  • Take a few minutes to list your home so people in the community can see it. It's your home so make sure and show it off! 

  • Browse listings of homes and locations you love and use their messaging system to contact other members. Check out enquiries sent to you from other members and, when you're ready, arrange your exchange.

  • Exchange whenever is best for you. Travel your way and live like a local when you arrive!

There's lots of listings and many of them are beautiful family homes. While looking at the website I found loads of fantastic photos. Here are some photos of the top 10 family-friendly homes in the Home Exchange Community.

Barcelona, Spain (Photos from Home Exchange Listing)

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of two children in a paddling pool

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of inside a lounge area.

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of inside a house, couch, small table and a view outside.

Lincoln, UK (Photos from Home Exchange Listing)

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of a kids playroom

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of a house beside the canal

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of a back garden with a playhouse and sandpit.

California, USA (Photos from Home Exchange Listing)

Morgan's Milieu | Home Exchange Membership Giveaway: Photo of the inside of a kitchen in a house in California.

Some of the listings are truly breathtaking and if you become a member you don't have to think about the cost of accommodation while you're on holiday/vacation. 

Home Exchange is family friendly too, there are pages of testimonials from both adults and children who've taken part in an exchange. 

One year's membership would usually cost £100 but Home Exchange are offering one lucky reader of Morgan's Milieu a 12-month membership for FREE.

As a member you have access to the 65,000 homes listed, you can visit 150+ countries and save up to 58% on typical holiday/vacation costs. You can exchange as many times as you like during your 12 month membership too!

If you fancy living life as a local in some far off country why not enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and maybe this summer you'll be spending time somewhere spectacular!

Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide, Home Exchange is an international community.
No cash alternative is offered.
The closing date is 3rd July 2015.
One winner will be chosen after the closing date.
If the winner doesn't respond within 1 week of being contacted, the prize will be re-drawn.