Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Reluctant Traveller

I'm not a reluctant  traveller far from it, I thrive on the planning , the anticipation and arrival of the event , where as Mr T is happier when he's just got there  . I think the planning of a holiday adds to the ambiance and overall happiness of a holiday ,planning a holiday really doesn't have to be a stressful affair. If you take simple practical steps then in no time you can be having your own adventures of a life time , now I think I've been to far flung places but when I look at friends and families lectures there are adventures yet to be taken and  tales yet to told.

Perhaps I saw one to many adventure films as a child , my adventuring as a child was limited to Europe and anyone going to the U S A back in the 80s at my school was basically a travelling god , think the brat pack 'Breakfast club' and you've got it.

I hasten to add my adventuring I suppose started as a baby flying backwards and forwards to the Outer Hebrides where I'm from ( I'm Scottish with no accent and I don't even have my own tartan)

The trick is to figure out where you want to go first say New York perhaps ?

The first steps you need to take are :

1.  To ask yourself  do you want from a holiday destination - is it a beach, peace and solace, culture , life and soul partying ? action-packed entertainment and so on and so forth ?

2. The next question being is how far do you want to travel  is long haul for you  ? or do you want to start off with short haul and built up ? etc.

3. Don't just rely on a holiday brochure to describe or think about your destination - As such descriptions can  short on detail? Research the country before you book! ask friends and family, research , research !

4. Does your chosen country suffer with weather that is extreme , such as hurricanes? Do not rely on the brochure; check out their  weather information sites before you book your holiday - will the  weather problems exist around the time you want to travel? ( this can be a given in Florida at times but don't let that stop you going )

5.. Check out if the country has political problems  ? We have been to Egypt before the troubles erupted again and whilst Mr T was nervous it was an experience I am glad that we took when else am I going to see the pyramids again !? Also does the country have a poor record on human rights  how do they treat their citizens that live and work in tourist areas . Check out information sites and local newspapers online! Also is there any festivals etc on , perhaps there is a religious occasion I know that when we went to Dubai it was Ramadan so eating and drinking  out in public is frowned upon .

6. When you know where you want to go  , do check that the resort will met your expectations - for example, is there  lot of building work - check out reviews, gazetteers  or visit Google Earth and ' stroll' round the resort , I expect in a few years we will be able to immerse ourselves in 3D an look !
7. Is the hotel what you really want? - check out reviews from other holidaymakers - is there a constant  pattern of  problems at a hotel or resort? I have down this with every hotel I have ever gone to , so I know what to expect when we get there, I even do this with UK accommodation . The last time we went on holiday and it wasn't me that booked it , I knew that even though the holiday cottage was beautiful , it only had one shower for 4 adults and 3 children. it did however have 3 toilets and a bath so I need that we would have to have the sofa on a rota or escape to the bath and hide from the children !

8. Check the airline that is suggested you fly on , do they offer a lounge like the V lounge from Virgin for instance a relaxed start to the holiday makes all the difference before you fly. And if there is food,drinks and entertainment for the children and adults it makes the wait go quicker, the only problem you will have is tearing them away from all the new found fun ! Also if you in the lounge of the airline you are flying with you can sort out any last minute requests, book trips etc they are there to help after all and a happy traveller will come back time after time.
9.  If you are in doubt about anything check , check check and please do  ask your  tour operator and get them to confirm their responses in writing ( then you have it and black and white)
10.  Travel insurance is a given ( make sure you take it out and do shop around) - Make sure always declare any preexisting medical problems to your insurers, also once at your resort if you become aware of any problems let someone know. If  you are travelling in Europe, please carry your European Health Insurance Card! but also get travel issuance as well. Also check if you need a Visa before you visit your intended country.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Pets We Want Them To Live Forever

The trouble with pets is ....

They don't last forever.

Don't worry Jack and Rollie are fine.

It will happened one day I know and though my son will be a little older , it will be hard , some might say it's just a pet.


A pet is so much it is your friend , your brother or sister your confidant.

And when you are an only child it is such a comfort you wouldn't believe ( I had a cat growing up called Boots ; "Puss in Boots" how twee is that?!( and yes I was an in,y child as well)

Having only had madcap hamsters before who died it doesn't really prepare your child for the eventuality of what will come . It is an issue time old which we dodge , and when the go conservation comes it is hard to know what to say.

I know he's a teen , he's still a child and and as such the concept of how long lives can be elusive to the young .

So how did you broach this subject according to your child's age?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Jammy Smiles Biscuits

This weeks baking boredom buster is the  accomplishment of making a jammy dodger or in my case a jammy smile. I am mastering my skills I hope to make a Victoria sponge cake one day whilst this is not hard in some peoples eyes, I am rather late to the baking and cooking bandwagon, but as they say you are never to old to learn new skills.

125g unsalted butter or low fat spread
75g Caster sugar or sugar substitute
200g Plain flour
1-2 semi skimmed milk or skimmed milk
Tea spoons of strawberry or raspberry jam or infact any jam for the number of biscuits that you bake.
Icing Sugar to dust ( optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C ( Gas mark 4)
Either line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper or my personal favourite use Lakeland Cake release on the baking tray.

2. beat together the butter and sugar. Add the flour and milk, and bring together until it make one big ball.

3 Divide the mixture into 4

Sprinkle your rolling pin and work surface with a little flour and roll until the dough is around the thickness of a one pound coin.

4 Using your desired cutters of choice cut out your desired shapes ( mine was smiley face shales from Lakeland )

5 Bake for 7-9 minutes till the biscuits are slightly golden brown around the edges 
. Leave on the trays to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack.

6. Now you can just leave it at jam in the middle but you don't want to do that do you ?!

7 Treat yourself and make some buttercream and then place the jam on top ! Jamtastic

 100g butter, 200g icing sug, up to 1tbsp milk 1tsp vanilla. Beat butter, beat in icing sugar & vanilla, add milk til fluffy.

You feel sad that happy little smiley is going to it's dome don't you?


Monday, 21 April 2014

Tales From The Black Country Museum

  • The Black Country Living Museum is an open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings in Dudley in the West Midlands of England. It is close to Dudley Castle in the centre of the Black Country.

    Places like this this quite frankly see me torn between my Heritage Conservation qualification and love of history , architecture and archaeology. You are stepping back in time and through the countless building you will explore , there are people who will explain the times to you with many actually remembering the times. The houses are complete with furnishings as they were, the ambiance is completed with cobbled streets and the detached small plots of garden, the outside toilets ( I had one at my old Edwardian house) also there is a irony mongers, blacksmiths etc . 

    An absolute much is a visit to the fish and chip soap of which there are two but be prepared to queue can get fish and chips (fried in beef dripping, the proper way my husband tells me , or vegetable oil elsewhere in the village). Years ago you used to be able to buy the batter bits from the when they fried the fish but for some reason they stopped ! so be sure to ask for 'scratchings( the batter bits) if you so wish. 

    At the pub you can  treat yourselves to faggots and peas and all sorts of amazing sweets, cakes and drinks. There's a pub on site, as well as cafes and all sorts of old shops from throughout the ages.There is a cafe which is pricey but you are welcome to bring your own food and eat that at the locations round the museum.

    You are able to take a trip on the canal this a payable extra and is well worth it , who doesn't love the gentleness of a canal trip.

    I feel sad when I see the products and efforts of our industrial past rusting away , but least here it is saved for us to see our imperial heritage.

  • Our past hidden and lost but saved here in the Black Country Museum.

    Take a stroll down an Victorian street.

    You can hear a sermon in the Chapel on special Sundays.

    Ideal for families even with pushchairs though you'll not obviously get a pushchair in some of the small houses , young children might be afraid of the walk in mine where you will don a hat hat and hold a torch ( lantern) and travel down the mine to view animated models describing what life was life working down the mine and how dangerous it was.

    I downloaded a 2 for 1 voucher from voucher cloud ! It's amazing what a bit of poking round in the net will do. I bought the child's ticket separately on line and was able to use the voucher for us adults when we got to the museum. 

    Save money by buying your Museum tickets online
     Ticket typeOn the doorOnline
    Young people (5-16 years)£7.95£7.15
    Children aged 0-4
    Family ticket  (2 adults and up to 3 young people)
    Small Family ticket (1 adult plus up to 3 young people)
    Car parking
    Group rates are available for parties of 15 or more
    Optional canal tunnel trips and fairground rides available at additional charge. (Please note, the fairground is partially closed for servicing and restoration work and will reopen on 1 April.l).
    * Concessions pricing applies to:
    Seniors - 60+; Students with NUS Card; Jobseekers
    Without proof of eligibility, you will be asked to pay our standard admission fee.

    Saturday, 19 April 2014

    Failure Is The Ultimate Success

    Failure is the ultimate success.

    Strange .

    I think that failure makes us stronger , I've failed ,so many times you wouldn't believe .

    Failure on so many levels.

    Whilst not to dwell on failure , it's made me better.

    Blogging wise yes I've upset the apple cart but I've come through it you are not going to see eye to eye with all and you can't make folk like you.

    Shyness I don't think I'll ever get over my social shyness or awkwardness like not moving to go to toilet till the cinema lights go down.

    To those who say but you seem so confidant,  I think my shyness is my ally it  is like the angel and devil sitting in your shoulder ,it is and and always will be a conflict of emotion.

     "When niggling things in life all of a sudden make sense  , it reall does make you make you remember what life is really all about . *lightbulb moment* this quote is from Alice Hassell 

    So will you Stand By Me ?

    Through thick and thin.

    Fight the fight.

    Or not as failure is my ultimate success.



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