Fethiye

I haven’t blogged in a good couple of months due to being overwhelmed with life and responsibilities! It was a well deserved break in fact and I have had time to re-evaluate my life in that time. Since then much has happened, I resigned from my job had and amazing family holiday and my daughter was featured in a national tv advert so life has in fact been extremely busy from taking her to and from lessons, auditions and castings and film sets! It was great to take a two week break from everything.

We booked what was supposed to be a 14 day holiday but due to awkward flight times it really turned out to be a 13 day holiday. We found the cheapest possible holiday we could ( still not cheap!) towards the end of the summer holidays. One tip I would give it to always either book your holiday a week before the school term ends or right at the end. I almost cannot believe how expensive it is to holiday during the summer holidays! More importantly is how do people afford it? I do feel like it will be a good while until we go away in peak season again due to cost of it all. I must mention we did take our kids out of school. In fact they missed the first 2 days of the new year. Not a decision taken lightly. We simply felt we needed some family time away and could only afford to do so at the end of the summer holidays.

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Oludeniz Beach

The first few days consisted of exploring the hotel and it’s amenities. We have visited this hotel before so we were familiar with what was available. The hotel felt a bit different this time around. Staff are always friendly making sure we were comfortable. There is lovely little coffee shop we visited every day in the late afternoon hence all my weight gain. You can enjoy biscuits, ice creams, macaroons, Turkish delight of course and tea and coffee. I have since become addicted to Turkish tea.

Now anyone with small children knows that your family holiday will consist of the beach, pools and ice cream literally and not much else 🙄. We tried our best to get out but manged 2 days out of 13 leaving the hotel which was fine because the kids had such an amazing time.

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We also managed a day long boat trip from Fethiye town at an extremely low cost. One thing to be aware of is that many of the hotels will charge tourist prices for boat trips and extra activities. Don’ t be afraid to explore the market on your own and fish for better prices. We nearly paid £100 for a 3 hour boat trip supplied by a TUI! We decided to do our research and managed to walk around the harbour for an hour before getting a day long boat trip for under £30 for the whole family. One thing to mention is expect to be taken advantage of by some people if you’re not Turkish. We were overcharged on a taxi fare once and only realised the driver had ripped us off after getting out the taxi!

Overall this is a good spot for a well deserved family vacation. The hotel has an adults only area included if you prefer not to be around families. I also feel the need to mention that the beach in the location is a rocky beach so if that might bother you,    you may want to rethink the location. The staff however do their utmost to serve you and this contributed to us having a successsful vacation!

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Table tennis and play area for kids below

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A Day out to Flatford Mill

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This past weekend was warm and sunny skies in Suffolk. We visited Flatford Mill and the kids had a lovely time! Flatford Mill was once owned by the Constable family. The Mill is consists of an exhibition dedicated to John Constable’s paintings detailing the beautiful surroundings of the area in which he lived in the Dedham Vale. We decided to have a picnic along the waters and watched the boats go by. John was keen to fly his drone and this was the main reason for our visit, however when we arrived and asked about drone flying were told that National Trusts do not allowed drone flying so this was news to us. Nevertheless it turned out to be a brilliant day indeed!

5 Things to do at Flatford Mill……

Go Boating

Boating is available for adults and kids. You are responsible for rowing your own boat which makes the experience more exciting.

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Go Geocoaching

Get the kids Involved in the hunt! Also known as the “Flatford Mill” series, geocoaching is for the whole family. There are 4 coaches hidden in the area. You can download the Geo coaching app on your smartphone and attempt to find caches using the app.

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Have a Picnic and some Ice Cream!

Make sure you bring some loose change for an ice-cream. We tried to make use of the day as much as we could. After our walk in the nearby fields we had a picnic along the lake. The ducks and swans tried to join us which was a little scary for the children! We brought some sandwiches and fruit along with us and the kids were able to enjoy an ice-cream afterwards. There is a lovely little cafe just around the corner from the main area where you can purchase food, however I like to keep costs down by bringing a packed lunch. I don’t mind spending a little bit on an ice-cream after.

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Visit Bridge Cottage

You can visit the nearby Dedham Village. Walk to the Bridge Cottage which is a heritage house not far from the Flatford Mill National Trust Cafe. This cottage built in the 16th century is in the center of the Dedham Vale (located very close to the bridge). The cottage houses John Constable’s paintings and has various opening times. John Constable grew up and was raised in Dedham and attended the nearby Grammar school. He thoroughly enjoyed growing up in the area and would walk to school in the fields nearby the mill. There are many pictures depicting his life at the mill.

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Visit the Cafe…

Flatford Mill Tea room is also managed by the National Trust and is popular for their tea and delicious cakes. The location overlooks the river and guests can enjoy a slice of cake while enjoying the prestine views!

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Top 7 All-inclusive Family-Friendly Hotels in Turkey

It’s nearly that time of year where families are getting ready to take their family holidays. We hope to visit Turkey this year and I’ve recently been looking at various hotel options the last few weeks and I have to mention that I find all inclusive holidays to be by far the easiest holidays to book purely because these types of holidays cater for the whole family.  If you are lucky enough to have the option of travelling outside of school holidays this is always the best. We now have both children in school and I have to admit we have seriously considered taking them out of school just to avoid the peak prices during the half terms. We have decided to travel towards the end of the summer holidays as its the best we can do to avoid peak season prices. I have come up with a list of some of the top 7 all inclusive holiday options in Turkey in terms of adult and children’s activities, swimming and food options to suit the whole family.

Bodrum Imperial Hotel TUI First Choice Turkey

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Bodrum is one of many of Turkey’s popular holiday spots for couples and families. Located in the south west coast of Turkey, Bodrum boast sunny weather and attracts a multitude of tourists all year round. This particular resort offers an array of activities for families which include:

  • Mini golf
  • Water polo
  • Cinema
  • Situated close to beach
  • Pools with slides
  • Free WiFi
  • Price Range:  Peak Season £850 per person for 7 days

                                    Low Season £520 per person for 7 days

Barut Hotel Sensatori, Fethiye

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www.firstchoice.co.uk

Fethiye is best known for its blue waters and fish markets! We visited the Sensatori Fethiye back in 2016 we thoroughly enjoyed it! This 5 star resort is located near Butterfly Valley, southwestern Turkey and I love that it is located away from the buzz of tourist with the nearest town, Fethiye being around 25 minutes way from the quiet location of the hotel.

Price Ranges: Peak Season: £1100 all inclusive for 7 days           

                            Low Season: £653 pp all inclusive for 7 days

  • Hotel located on the beach
  • 6 Restaurants
  • Kids Club
  • Kids evening Entertainment
  • Pools & Water slides
  • Gym

Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort

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food area

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  • Hotel located on the beach
  • Aqua park with 11 waterslides
  • 7 ‘A la carte restuarants
  • Kids Club & Playground
  • Bowling Alley
  • Cinema
  • Sports
  • Gym

Price Range: Peak Season £1092 per person for 7 days

                         Low Season £592 per person                   

Holiday Village Turkey Dalaman TUI

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Located in the southwest coast of Turkey near to Fethiye. This beachfront complex is a busy location with bars and restaurants at your doorstep.

  • Beach location
  • 7 Pools
  • Free Wifi
  • Ariel Adventure course
  • 10 Pin bowling

Price Range: Peak Season: £1156 per person for 7 days

  Low Season: £681 per person for 7 days

Resort Club Marvy Ozdere Turkey

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This 5 star resort is located on a private beach with Wi-fi, Spa and 5 swimming pools. The hotel has been opened since 2010 and includes a tennis court.

  • Children’s Playground
  • 5 a’ lacarte Restaurants
  • Mini bars in rooms
  • 8 Bars and 2 snack bars

Price Range: Peak Season: £682 per person for 7 days

                         Low Season: £1078 per person for 7 days

 

10 Reasons why you should visit Durban, South Africa

Video courtesy of ‘Novos Digital Cinema’ (Enter Durban)

Durban will always be one of my favorite places because of the warm weather, the friendliness of people and it’s rich culture so here are 10 reasons to put Durban on your bucket list of places to see!

Walk along Umhlanga Beach Promenade

Umhlanga Beach stretches along a beautiful coastline and yet still remains close to the city center. The shoreline stretches to nearby towns including La Lucia, Umdloti and Ballito.

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Sardine Run

The east cost of Africa attracts millions of sardines between the months of May and July. The sardines are visible even by satellite and swim up to 15 kilometers long, 3.5 km wide and 40 meters deep! This is a popular event for South Africans and its worth renting a kayak at uShaka Marine World (Durban Theme Park) at a price of around R100 per person (about £1.10) (price availability as of 2015).

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Umgeni Steam Railway Train

Take a steam train from Kloof, Durban to Ichanga and enjoy the scenery along the way. The train runs on the last Sunday of each month.

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Max’s Lifestyle

Experience township food and culture in Umlazi, North of Durban. Despite what people might say, this places is perfectly safe for tourists who visit all year round.

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Rent a Rickshaw

Rickshaws have always been a significant trademark of Durban. Rent a rickshaw on the along the beach and enjoy an interesting ride around the Durban promenade!

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Explore the Saturday Markets

If you’re after anything South African, make sure to visit the local Saturday markets including ‘I Heart Durban’ and ‘Essenwood Markets’ and buy South African cuisine, cakes, clothing or accessories.

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Phezulu Cultural Village

Explore the outskirts of Durban and visit Phezulu Cultural Village situated at ‘Valley of a thousand Hills’. The village is home to the Gasa clan. Get a glimpse of Zulu culture, beliefs and rituals. Children and adults can also visit the crocodile enclosure and experience crocodile feeding!

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Sharks board

Learn about shark behaviors and how sharks feed at this educational facility which aims to educate the public and bring environmental awareness.

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uShaka Marine

This theme park which was opened in 2014 houses an exciting aquarium, swimming facilities and provides restaurants, food and entertainment for the whole family. The dolphin show is a must-see! Dolphin shows are available throughout the day.

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Moses Mabidha Stadium

This state of the art stadium was built in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup that was hosted in Durban. Post World Cup, the stadium is used for activities such as bungee jumping, football, concerts and motor sports.

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5 Places to visit in Snowdonia

Our February half term was spent in North Wales, Snowdonia. In my last blog I wrote about the Airbnb we booked which was a true representation of a beautiful countryside cottage. We visited a few attractions over the long weekend however there is so much to see in the Welsh region. I have come up with at least 5 places you need to visit while you’re in Snowdonia.

Snowdonia National Park

Today we managed an hours walk in Snowdonia National Park. Located in North Wales, Snowdonia National Park is one of the largest parks in Britain. Here you’re surrounded by the mountains, rivers and mini waterfalls where the kids can run and explore the beauty of the park. There are over 150 attractions to visit!

Cost of Entry: Free 

Miniature Steam Railway Museum and Railway Shop

Betwys-y-Coed has a tourist railway station where you can take the kids on a mini train ride. It’s mostly the younger kids who would enjoy this 5 minute train ride as it is so miniature. your toddler on a mini train in Snowdonia. It’s only a 5 minute journey but well worth it. My kids loved it!

Visit Website: http://www.conwyrailwaymuseum.co.uk/railway.html

Visit Llanberis Lake Railway

The Llanberis Lake steam engine takes visitors on a 5 mile journey into the center of Snowdonia. The are cafe stops along the way including a stop at the National Slate Museum. Here you can watch the train driver  stoke the fire or buy gifts at the gift shop. The entire trip is around 60 minutes.

Cost of tickets: Adults and children: £2 each

Visit Website: http://lake-railway.co.uk/index.php/en/

GypsyWood Park

We didn’t get to visit GypsyWood Park because we were only in Snowdon 3 days however this is at the top of my list when we return later this year particularly when the weather gets warm. Kids can enjoy the mini zip wire, trampolining, or enjoy a game of magnetic fishing for the whole family! There is a whole lot more going on at this popular attraction site. Picnics are allowed in designated picnic spots.

Cost of entry:

Family (2 Adults & 2 kids)- £24.99

Adult- £7.95

children (3-15)- £6.49

toddlers under 3- £3.95

Visit Website: http://www.gypsywood.co.uk/

Visit ‘The Hangin’ Pizzeria’

Our family trips out almost always involve grabbing a bite to eat once the kids have had enough of exploring. After a day out walking, we ended up at ‘The Hangin’ Pizzeria’ located in Betws-y-Coed which serves freshly made stoned baked pizzas. This place caters for young families and children so its the perfect spot for a late lunch!

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to pack and your bags for a winter retreat in Wales!

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My first Experience of Airbnb…Would I do it again?

Before exploring Airbnb I was a little worried about how difficult it would be to use for families looking for somewhere to stay. We initially looked at staying in a hotel in North Wales however found very difficult to find established hotel brands within the Welsh region. We are prone to book premier inn hotel or Holiday Inn if it’s a case of visiting attractions with the children. Mostly we usually need somewhere to lay our heads. This was a special occasion with it being my birthday so Premier Inn would not have been ideal in any case. Upon arriving in Ruthin Wales, we drove through nearby villages and towns and realised most accommodation on offer were bed and breakfast options. There are hotels in Snowdonia town itself but most offers were mainly bed and breakfast. We felt we had no choice but to consider booking through Airbnb which we did. The website navigation is simple enough for most people who may not be internet savvy like myself.

Finding the location

I have read some reviews of Airbnb stating that some of the homes are not easy to find en route. Taxi drivers may not find home addresses on their GPS systems so be aware of this especially when travelling in a foreign country. Some hosts are helpful enough to meet guests in an agreed location and take them to their accommodation. In our case, our cottage was situated far out in the countryside. It would have been impossible to find the cottage without help. The owner was kind enough to meet us at the local Tesco and we were able to follow him in our car. It took about 20 minutes to reach our cottage. The roads were extremely muddy and we were unable to drive our car down their driveway. We walked short a distance to the house taking all our shop bought food from the local Tesco with us with the children helping. Airbnb is not a bed and breakfast so either bring your own food or you can eat out. It made sense for us to cook all our meals with the nearest pub being 20 minutes away. We did have our evening dinner at the local Witherspoon in Ruthin village. Of all the Weatherspoon pubs I have visited my years of living in the U.K. this was by far the poshest pub I’ve eaten in. Meal prices are standard Weatherspoon price, cheap and easy food for the family.

Weatherspoon, Ruthin Wales

The cottage

We were welcomed to a cosy and warm house. The family lives with their dog and cat which was unfortunate for my husband who is extremely allergic to cats. There were also ducks on the property which was great for the kids. They had the task of taking the ducks out of their coops in the morning and bringing them back in the evenings which was great fun for them!

Pictures: inside the cottage

Good value for money?

I almost already knew the answer to this question when we booked the cottage. We both felt we paid too much for the short time spent there. I did mention that this was a last resort because we were desperate to have a long weekend away although couldn’t seem to find a decent hotel so our frantic search for accommodation resulted in us paying more than we felt we should be paying. While driving around Wales we did however spot what from the outside looked like a few good hotels and bed & breakfasts.

Extra charges

You will be charged fees on top of the cost of accommodation per night you are paying for. Some of these fees include Guest service fees which can charge between 5% and 15% of the reservation total. Guests using the site will be able to see these fees before payment.

Would I visit Airbnb again?

I  could not give a yes or no answer to this question. I do enjoy staying in hotels and all the luxuries that come with hotel stays, shampoo, bubble bath, soaps and all the things that make you feel a little ‘special’ when you’re on holiday. I have a family so my lifestyle doesn’t cater for the curious traveller. I do enjoy coming back to a clean hotel room after a day out and enjoying a warm bath where I don’t have to scrub the bathroom clean once I’m done. My overall experience was a good one. There were a few downsides that make me want to see it as a last resort but overall I had a good first time experience with Airbnb.

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Visit Parkgate on the Wirral..


Visit Parkgate, Wirral…

The village of Parkgate is located on the On the Wirral Peninsula in the North West of England. This February half term we were able to leave our cosy nest of Suffolk for a few days to visit family.  I have been visiting Parkgate for a number of years. This is the village in which my husband grew up. He managed to take his drone along with him on our visit and captured some scenic views.

History of Parkgate

Well known as a port during the 18th century, Parkgate later became a popular spot for bathers on the sea front which was known to cure skin conditions. Some years later however, due to the growth and formation of grass in the water the area was no longer a popular bathing spot for tourists. This meant Parkgate could only be used for small subsistence farming such as fishing. If you happen to visit the North West of England make sure to stop by this former fishing village…

Visit Nicholls Ice cream

Established in 1937 Nicholls ice cream shop is a favorite among residents and tourist throughout the year. With breathtaking views you can visit the shop all year round. A great place to take the children in the summer months!

Visit Mr Chows Restaurant & Fish and Chips

A popular Chinese restaurant and eatery that has been in the area for a number of years,this establishment has been managed as a family business. I have had the pleasant experience of dining here twice over the years. Friendly staff and memorable experience overall. If you fancy treating yourself to a luxury meal out or for any special occasion try not to miss out on this exceptional dining experience! Alternatively you can enjoy fish and chips at Parkgate “chippie” next door, also owned by the same family and enjoy stunning views along the promenade.

Walk along the promenade

Take the family out on scenic walk. The area is covered by marshland. By day and night you can enjoy the view of North Wales across the distance.

Elephant Coffee Shop & Restuarant

The Elephant Coffee shop and restaurant has become one of my newest favorite places when I visit Parkgate. Situated on the promenade overlooking North Wales, this coffee shop by day, lounge/restaurant by night brings on a modern take to Parkgate as a traditional village. Listen to live entertainment every Monday evening and enjoy stone baked pizzas on Tuesdays and Thursdays . There is something special happening every day of the week!

Link to website:   https://elephantcollective.co.uk/elephant-lounge/

5. Explore the Wirral Way

Perfect for cycling and walking, if you love the outdoors get the children on their bikes and cycle the route. There are a few stops along the 3.5 mile route.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. A great place visit outside of Liverpool city and a quiet weekend away for the family . If you have any interesting facts to add please do comment below!