Monday, 11 February 2019

Felixstowe Things to do with kids

Felixstowe is a seaside town in Suffolk and has the largest container port in the UK.  However we discovered Felixstowe is more than just a port and makes a perfect family seaside trip.  Here is my list of things to do with kids in Felixstowe.

Felixstowe Pier

Who doesn't love a seaside pier.  The new Boardwalk restaurant and bar is lovely and sitting on the pier overlooking the sea is just beautiful.  The kids love the arcade which is a great size with a mixture of machines and small bowling alley.  Unfortunately you cannot walk the length of the pier as it's closed due to health & safety but still a lovely place to enjoy some chips, an ice cream and the view.

Leisure Centre
Good size swimming pool with slide, soft play area, café, creche and gym.  Opening times vary but approximately 7am to 10pm.  Fun pool and flumes are open at certain time so check the timetable.  £5.15 per adult and £3.30 per child for a swim session.  Perfect for a rainy day or if you are on a site with no pool.

Adventure Golf
Sea Road, Felixstowe, IP11 2DH
9 hole mini golf course £2 kids and £2.50 adults.  Nice water features and small but entertaining course.

Martello Park
Lovely play area hidden behind the beach huts.  Lots of equipment for all ages.  Ice cream Kiosk and café not far away.

Landguard Fort
Viewpoint Road, IP11 3TW
This was the defence for Harwich Harbour and now an English Heritage building.  £5.50 adult and £2.50 child under 5's free.  Café, Museum, Exhibition and free parking.

Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry
This is a 58 passenger foot & bicycle ferry which goes between Felixstowe and Harwich from 1st April 2019m to 3 November 2019.  Single fare £4.50 adult and £3 child 15 minute crossing.  Return fare if £5.50 adult and £4 child.  A great way to experience a different method of transport and have a little wander around Harwich.  

Watch the boats at the port
My kids loved watching the huge tankers loading and smaller boats coming in and out.  Have a paddle on the shore and you can even try your hand at fishing.  For refreshments you can visit Landguard View Point Café.

The Beach
Finally the beach! Enjoy a paddle, swim, ice cream and fish & chips.  Felixstowe is quintessentially British and unlike it's neighbour Norfolk didn't feel crowded which was just perfect.

Felixstowe has some amazing bars, cafes and restaurants and unusually not many chains which made a welcome change.  We visited Delphine's Diner (Americana on the sea front), Fish Dish Restaurant (Fish & Chips on plates with wine), Ruby's (Traditional Café) The Alex (Café Bar), The Boardwalk Café Bar (Exactly what it says!) There are loads of other fab places to eat and drink so have a wander and see where you end up.

Felixstowe Things to do with kids
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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Lanzarote things to do with kids

Lanzarote is a beautiful canary island with warm temperatures all year round and 300 days of sunshine!  A 4 hour flight makes this a perfect place to take kids and there is loads to do in Lanzarote.  Prior to travelling to Lanzarote I hadn't known much about it other than it was known as the windy island but we had a brilliant time and I would happily recommend to families.  Here is my top things to do with kids in Lanzarote.

Timanfaya National Park
We took a trip to this National Park as part of an organised coach trip.  We experiences a camel ride and the volcanes.  On top of the Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountain) volcano is a visitor centre and the famous El Diablo restaurant that actually uses the heat from the volcano to cook.  A guide also demonstrates the geothermal heat by poring water down a shallow pit.

Los James del Aqua
We stumbled across this as part of a coach trip and LOVED it.  You enter a dark cave and witness a natural lake full of tiny albino crabs.  It is just beautiful.  Once you emerge into the daylight you'll see a beautiful swimming pool although sadly no swimming is allowed (although a few people dipped their feet).  Another room has information about volcanoes and their is a café.  At night you can have an a la carte meal and experience music and traditional folk dancing.

Museo de la Pirateria
This pirate museum was a big hit with the kids.  Look for a small castle(fortress of Santa Barbara) perched on a large hill overlooking Teguise.  Open daily 10am to 4pm.  3 euro's per person children under 12 are free.
If you visit on a Sunday you'll also experience the markets in Teguise.

Aquapark Costa Teguise
Open 10am to 6pm Closed until 7th April 2019.  22.50 euro per adult and 16 euro per child (4 to 12)
Great waterpark (not massive but we stayed for 3 to 4 hours)  Do check the height restrictions as very strict and young children only allowed in certain areas.

Rancho Texas  
Animal park with bird, dolphin and sea lion shows.  There is a swimming pool to cool off .  A bus service is included in ticket price.  Open 9.30 to 5.30pm 30 euros adult, 22 euro child and under 3's free.  There is also an evening Country and Western show if you fancy something different.

Aqualava Playa Blanca
2nd waterpark on the island.  The pools are heated with geothermal energy and therefore open all year round.  21 euro per adult and 14.50 per child.  Opens 10am daily.

Cueva de Los Verdes
This is a lava tube created by volcanic activity and one of the longest in the world.  Also known as The Green Caves.  Best enjoyed as part of a coach tour.  No café so most visitors only stay an hour or 2.  

Pedalo & Glass bottomed boat on the many beaches

Catmaran trip
This was our favourite outing.  An all inclusive trip aboard a catamaran.  You also had the opportunity to swim and kayak.  Perfect way to see the island.

Lanzarote things to do with kids
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Barcelona things to do with kids

Barcelona is a fab city break with kids.  A short flight, easy transfers from the airport and lots to do.  Here is a list of my top things to do with kids in Barcelona.

Cable cars
Transbordador Aeri del Port or Teleferico de Montjuïc
The city is flanked by 2 mountains.  Montjuic takes you to the castle and the other overlooks the sea. Approximately 10 minute journey per cable ride.  16.5 Euro for round trip. Children under 6 travel for free. My kids loved this unusual transport method and if time allowed we would have experienced the other one too.

Transbordador Aeri del Port

Montjuic Castle
This is an old military fortress and offers amazing views over the city and when we visited a cooling breeze and the space was a welcome respite for the kids.  Open 10am to 6pm.  Standard admission 5 euro's.  Free sundays after 3pm and 1st Sunday of each month.

Montjuic Castle

Montjuic Castle

Montjuic Castle

Olympic Stadium (Stadio Plimpico)
After visiting the castle we walked past this impressive stadium and wandered in as it's free entry.  The Olympics were in Barcelona the summer of 1992 and was nice to read a little of the history.  Worth a visit if in the area.

Olympic Stadium (Stadio Plimpico)

Cuitadella Park
Escape the hustle and bustle and visit the park.  City zoo, row boats, fountains, plaza, play areas and life size mammoth to entertain the kids.  The play equipment was on the small side perfect for toddlers/young children but not so great for my 8 and 11 year old.

Cuitadella Park Mammoth

Magic Fountains Montjuic
Located at the base of Montjuic during the summer the show is nightly Wednesday to Sunday 9.30 to 10.30 each show lasts 15 minutes and is amazing! It gets very very busy! You can see from most places but if you want a prime spot arrive early.

Magic Fountains Montjuic

Magic Fountains Montjuic

Barcelona Bus Turistic - Tourist bus
37 stops available and 2 hour approx. route.  A great way to see the city with kids as saves tired legs and was perfect for my son.  We didn't have time to fit in Nou Camp but he was thrilled just seeing it from the bus.  Day ticket 30 euro adult and 16 euro child under 4's free.  Prices do vary and sometimes offers.

Park Guell
7.50 euro adult 5.25 euro children free 0-6 year olds
Designed by Gaudi this park is full of enchanted paths, mushroom houses, mosaic arches and structures.  Lovely view over the city.  We personally found this a lot smaller than we expected and not really worth the time/journey.  If you love architecture it would be a must but a pass for us.

La Rambla Placa Catalunya to the port
Stroll along and look at the stalls, street artists, musicans and mime artists.

City Beaches
Olympic village more family friendly.  Barcelonetta is the old fishermans quarter.

Tibadabo Amusement Park
Enjoy an unforgettable day in the Tibidabo amusement park
and enjoy the best views of Barcelona in the Sky Walk. 28.50 euro per adult 10.30 euro per child located Tibidabo Square, 3-4 08035 Barcelona.

L'Aquarium De Barcelona
Opening times vary depending on season 10am to 9pm (latest) 20 euro per adult, 15 euro child 3 & 4 year olds 7 euro.  Located in Port Vell this Aquarium is one of the largest in Europe.  Visitors usually spend 2 to 3 hours here and a good way to get young children out of the heat.  

A hotel with a pool
Swimming! My kids loved our hotel with it's rooftop pool.  After spending the day sight seeing they LOVED jumping in the pool to cool off and relax and we could enjoy a drink and the rooftop view. 

To see more of Barcelona and what we got up to watch this video.  Our top 3 were the Magic Fountains Montjuic, Cable car and Montjuic Castle.

Barcelona things to do with kids
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Sunday, 3 February 2019

A Week of Slimming World Evening Meals

I have done Slimming World on and off for years.  Recently I re-joined so thought I would share a week of Slimming World evening meals.

1. Shepherds pie (technically cottage pie as beef but I always call it Shepherds pie whatever the mince!) 5% mince and lots of veg.  I always put peas, sweetcorn, onion and mushrooms in mine.  I usually put a splash of milk in the mash potato and about a tablespoon of gravy granules to the mince mix.

Slimming World evening meals

2. Pitta Pizza - Use a wholemeal pitta cut in half (HEXB) and spread a thin layer of tomato puree over.  Then add whatever toppings you want.  I usually put red onion, red pepper, sweetcorn, sliced mushrooms and ham.  40g 30% fat cheddar (HEXA) grated is then sprinkled over the top 20g on each.  Put on a baking tray and in the over on 200 for approx. 10 mins.  Serve with a big side salad.

Slimming World evening meals - Pitta Pizza

3. The good ol' jacket potato - Prawns, beans, cheese (HEXA), tuna, chicken the world is your oyster.  Serve with a big side salad.  My favourite is tuna mayo using light mayonnaise.

Slimming World evening meals

4.  Chicken wrapped in bacon with chips - To make the chips I part cook the potatoes in the microwave and then slice.  Spray with frylight and season.  I often add paprika or garlic powder.  Cook for 20 to 30 mins (depends how crowded your tray is).  Serve with mushy peas, beans, veg or side salad. I usually just go with whatever I have left.  On this occasion my veg/salad draw was a little low. Carrots are speed.  Corn on the cob free.

Slimming World evening meals

5.  Chicken kebab with rice.  Chicken diced and threaded on a skewer with peppers, mushrooms and red onion.  I serve with Uncle Beans rice at 2.5 per pouch and some sweet chilli sauce 1.5 syns per tablespoon.  Plain boiled rice would be syn free.

Slimming World evening meals

6.  Good ol' breakfast dinner - A quick meal if you are in a rush.  Beans, scrambled egg, mushrooms, bacon all fat removed (medallions are easier) and wholemeal toast (HEXB).  Can also add hash browns, if shop bought will need to syn or Linda McCartney sausages free to 1 syn per sausage depending on type.

Slimming World evening meals

Slimming World evening meals

7.  Spaghetti Bolognaise - A good crowd pleaser.  5% mince.  I pack it with veg.  Couple of carrots diced, 2 or 3 peppers diced, mushrooms sliced, onion diced, garlic and tinned tomatoes. I often add an oxo cube for added flavour. 40g of cheddar (30% less fat) is HEXA.

Slimming World evening meals

So they you have it a week of Slimming World evening meals.  Not ground breaking but easy and family friendly.  My children eat all of the above (with the exception off eggs and mushrooms - they fish them out and put on my plate).  This means no cooking separate meals which is a win-win.  Some of these meals can easily be adapted if veggie.  Quorn mince in the Shepherds pie ad Spaghetti bolognaise.  Omit the bacon from the breakfast meal and the Jacket potato topping can be changed simply.

Friday, 18 January 2019

What are you watching on Netflix? in Partnership OLED televisions Panasonic

Winter for me is all about telly.  I quite like hibernating especially after Christmas when all the festivities are over and the fairy lights are down.  Snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket, cup of tea and shutting the cold, dark world out. 

The OLED televisions by Panasonic offer ultra-powerful Studio Colour with a sleek design to deliver pictures that represent the filmmaker’s vision more accurately than any of their TVs before.  If you love films or just TV in general and are after a late Christmas present then this might just be for you.  If you would like to know more about the next generation OLED televisions then click here.

As I said Winter and TV go hand in hand for me and I have recently been obsessed with Luther and binge watched from series 1 on Netflix over the last few weeks.  I quite often find that I don’t get into a series until later than everyone else but obviously Netflix, BBC iplayer, ITV player etc let you watch on demand when you want.  I was a little disappointed with series 5 of Luther.  It was far too much Luther/George/Alice and not enough actual police investigating stuff.  I'm still bereft by the departure of DS Ripley and series 1 was definitely the best for me.

Another series I love and frequently binge watch is RuPaul's Drag Race.  Series 2 to 7 did disappear from Netflix but on 3rd November they all reappeared! Hallelujah.  I therefore have hours and hours to get me through to spring/summer as I was late to the Ru Paul party and have only watched 3 series.

I've heard loads of good things about You but haven't watched it yet. Have you? (pardon the pun!) Is it worth getting into?  Also, Black Mirror but I’m not sure if that’s a little bit too out there for me.

What is your binge watch go to?

Emma xx

Disclaimer: This is a paid collaboration with Panasonic OLED televisions.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Disneyland Paris Tips Travelling by Eurotunnel No Meal Plan

The Disneyland Paris for Brits Facebook group is amazing and virtually every question I've pondered was answered by some kind soul.  However the precise planning of some did make me have a mini panic attack so these Disneyland Paris tips are for the Eurotunnel no meal plan, winging it families like us!

If you want to meet characters and eat at specific restaurants you must book/plan but my children aren't interested in meet & greets so we went pretty free & easy apart from Buffalo Bill's which we did prebook.
We travelled by Eurotunnel and anyone panicking about driving really don't. It is very straight forward from Calais. A26, A1, A104 and A4. The last part is fully signposted. The motorways were much clearer than England and speed limit in places was 130kph which is 80mph. It took approx 3 hours. Whilst driving we listened to Skyrock which alternated between a French song and English - beware though they do not edit out swear words! One song came on frequently and we learned where to turn the volume down briefly.  Luckily the kids watched a DVD for half of the journey so weren't even listening much.
Toll was €18.80 there and €22.10 back. Large gap between tolls so don't worry you haven't missed it.
We stayed at Cheyenne texas stowaway room.  It was smaller than expected but we were rarely in it. As others have said no kettle or fridge.
We did pop to Val de Europe (10 minute drive away) once and had a cheaper lunch and got a few bits in Auchan (Supermarket) but with no fridge the food shop limited. We did get 5 croissants & 5 pain au chocolat for €4.50 which did 2 breakfasts on the go. 12 small bottles of water was €2.04. There was a massive Primark if anyone wants a cheap Disney jumper or ears.

Disneyland Paris

Cheyenne has a general store but very expensive. An idea on prices Vittel water/Coke/Sprite €3.69 and Kronenbourg can €4.99 and packet of sweets €3.99.
A shuttle bus is provided from Cheyenne and drops you by the station and you then pass through security but we preferred walking.  It was nice to have a little peace and the walk past the lake and Disney balloon was lovely.

Disneyland Paris Balloon

Now to the park. Use your extra magic time. 8.30am the park opens for hotel guests. Do plan this as can take time to get through the security and park entrance.
Depending on age of children Fantasyland is good and can get 5 rides done very quickly. We headed straight to Buzz twice (kids favourite ride) and Ratatouille once. Queues minimal. Unfortunately Crush's Coaster broke whilst we were in the queue and although magic time and initially small queue ended up in it for over 90 minutes!

Disneyland Paris Buzz

Crush's Coaster was a wierd one for us. I thought you would be in a blue underwater scene with turtles swimming about and maybe a little splash. However it is mostly VERY dark and quite loud. My 8 year old HATED it and cried - not quite such a magic time. Just a warning for others.

Disneyland Paris

Stitch Live was a surprise big hit as was the Studio tram tour. The stunt show was fab, make sure you arrive on time as we got there late on 1st attempt and weren't allowed in.

Disneyland Paris

Buffalo Bill's was brilliant and our whole family loved it, the food was pretty good too and we were all full. No need to arrive an hour early though 30 mins will be fine.

Disneyland Paris Halloween Goofy at Buffalo Bills

We also ate dinner at Annette's and Rainforest Cafe (walk in no booking required) both were nice. Fueute del Oro in Frontierland was good for lunch and brilliant Coco decorations as we were there during Halloween.

Disneyland Paris Halloween Coco

We loved the illuminations at 10pm and would have liked to have watched twice but the 8 year old couldn't keep awake that late the following day. The Halloween parade was brilliant and I actually preferred it to the main 5.30pm parade. We didn't watch the villains show as my children weren't bothered although I would have liked it 😊

Disneyland Paris Halloween Minnie Mouse on Parade
Obviously the parades and special shows will change depending on the season.  Always check the times.  The hotel should give you a leaflet with them all on.

Disneyland Paris Halloween Main Street
Take comfy shoes, be patient and most importantly have an amazing time.  If you travel during the winter months do take plenty of warm clothes.  Layers are probably best and it gets very cold queuing especially for little ones.
Hope this helps some of you. Happy Disneyland Paris holiday.

We have been twice now and I thought that would do but I would happily go a 3rd time.

Emma xx

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