Thursday, 29 September 2011

Our Day Out To The Water Park

On the last day of our holiday we decided to visit Baku water park in Corralejo. The kids were very excited about going to the water park as they both love swimming and are up and down the slides at our local pool all the time.

We were up early doors for the bus picking us up at 9.10am. Everyone was shattered but we were all looking forward to enjoying a day out and being somewhere different. On the way to the water park, we stopped at the sand dunes which were stunning. Husband, with his mind of useless useful information, told us that the sand in the dunes was different from the beach because it had blown over from the Sahara desert. It definitely felt different and the views from on top of one of the dunes were breathtaking and we were sure we could see the island of Lanzarote in the distance.

It took about 30 minutes to get to the water park and we were able to get into the park straight away. We could see the slides which looked like a lot of fun and we headed over to the baby/toddler area which was in the middle of the park. It wasn't very busy as it was a dull day and I guess at this time of year they are coming to the end of their season. It had cost us 54 Euro to get into the park and we noticed that not only did you have to pay to hire rubber rings, you had to pay to use a sun lounger which I thought was a bit cheeky. Thankfully no one came round to ask for the money for them and we got use of the sun loungers for free. We also managed to find some abandoned rubber rings so we "adopted" them.

The baby/toddler area was good. The water wasn't too deep, probably just under waist level on Miss C and there were a few slides for them to play on. Just along from the children's pool was a diving area and a raised rock area where we could jump in to the deep pool from. Circling the baby/toddler area and diving area was the "lazy river". I went on it with Wee Z and boy was it lazy. They definitely needed a bit of current to help push you around because it took about 15 minutes to swim round in a rubber ring. I was knackered!

There were 3 slides Wee Z was able to go, 2 of which he had to go on unaccompanied. He didn't like them at first and refused to go on them until his Daddy took him down them but he was quite happy to play in the children's pool. Husband and I were able to enjoy the grown up slides and made sure we had a shot on all of them. There were 5 different slides we could go on, some of which needed a rubber ring whilst the others were steep drops and twisty-turvy. As it wasn't busy we didn't have to queue at all so we were able to get on them all within 10 minutes. It was great being able to go on a slide that wasn't a gentle ride into a shallow pool with a toddler on your lap!

We were able to come and go from the park as we wished so we headed out for lunch and into town, which was a 2 minute walk away, and found a lovely little pub called the Prince of Wales. We ordered burgers for ourselves and the kids had sausages and chips with beans. That burger is one of the best burgers I have ever tasted. It was delicious and was the best meal I ate the whole holiday. When Wee Z's sausages weren't quite cooked right through, they replaced them for us, no fuss, and didn't charge us for his meal. We were able to catch up on the world news on Sky News and Husband could enjoy some "real" beer. I'd definitely recommend them if you are travelling in Corralejo. After lunch we browsed the shops and picked up some souvenirs.

We were aiming to be back at the park for 3pm which was when the wave pool would open. We made it back just as the sun started to shine but unfortunately the wave pool wasn't working. We had a few more shots on the slides and then got ready for the bus picking us up at 4.30pm. The kids were shattered and had had a really fun day out. I couldn't wait to get back to our hotel for a little siesta!

The Baku water park was definitely a fun day out however it did seem a bit run down. The pools were beautiful and clean but the areas around them looked in need of some TLC. Apparently the park has a mini golf area but it didn't seem like this was open and the children's park areas were empty and didn't look very safe. There was only the one area for young children and over 4's have to pay 16 Euro to get in, which I wouldn't say was worth it for Wee Z based on what he could actually get on (although we said he was 3 as 0-3 years go free...!) Even at that though, unless your child is over 1.30m they will only be able to use the small slides. We heard from a couple we met on the plane that the Oasis Park was amazing and although we had a good time I think the Oasis Park would have been more up our street.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Listography - Top 5 Celebs I'd Like To Go For A Beer With

Kate has decided to take a few celebs out for a beer and asking who we'd take with us. Well I don't drink beer so for the sake of getting sloshed, we're drinking cocktails.

Jennifer Anniston - She's just gorgeous and seems like a genuinely nice person. In a way I kind of hope she would be like Rachel in Friends because she was my favourite.

Kelly Rowland - After seeing her on Xfactor I've really taken to Kelly. She seems really fair, honest and most of all fun.

Katie Price - Love her or hate her I definitely think I'd have a great night out with Katie.

Tom Hardy - There was no way he wasn't going to be included in my list. There would be dinner, cocktails and a night on the town with this hunk.

Michael McIntyre - He is hilarious. I saw him 2 years ago and I was crying with laughter from the off. He would definitely be a hoot on a night out.

The Gallery - Home

After returning from Fuerteventura and reading Tara's Gallery prompt this week, I couldn't help but think it was a really fitting theme for how I was feeling. By the end of our holiday I just wanted to get home. I missed my home comforts - proper tea bags, proper milk and most of all, my bed.

My bed! I could literally stay there forever. I'm a right hand-side of the bed person (or the left if I'm lying in it), 2 pillows (well one against the headboard and the other under my head) and tucked up right under the duvet all curled up like a sausage roll. When Husband is night shift I sleep starfish style, otherwise I'm curled up on my side or front. I missed being able to lie on my front so much when I was pregnant.

No other bed can compare with my own bed. I just don't sleep right. Homer Simpson has an ass-groove in his couch, I have a Laura shaped groove in my bed. It's a shame I can't spend a little more time in it!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Home.

Monday, 26 September 2011

We've All Been On A Summer Holiday

There's nothing quite like coming home to your own bed after being away from it for a week. Early hours of Sunday morning, I fell into my bed and was asleep before my head hit my pillow. Bliss!

We were away on our (late) summer holidays for the week in Fuerteventura. We stayed in Costa Caleta at the Broncemar Beach complex and had a fantastic time. Our flight times were pretty rubbish so we didn't arrive until after 9pm on the Saturday night but waking up to glorious sunshine on Sunday morning made it all better.

Our first day we spent at the pool. There was no need to rush off and explore; we had all week to do that. The kids weren't keen on the pool at first (the water was pretty cold!) but once they got in, they loved it.

On Monday we went down to the beach which was only a 5 minute walk away and the kids and I walked along the shore, jumping over the waves and looking for shells. We walked right along the harbour and up on to some rocks so we could get a really good view of the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday we spent the morning at the beach building sandcastles with moats.

Wee Z made a few friends including a little Polish girl who he really clicked with and they spent a lot of time playing together which was really lovely. I was pleased to see my little boy making friends very easily and they were lots of families there with young children. In the evening after dinner, we went to the kids disco in the Pool Bar. We booked our holiday with Thomas Cook so there was a Thomas Cook Entertainment Team. They were fabulous! Wee Z and Miss C were really taken with them and loved joining in with the games and dance routines. They also got to meet Dizzy and Shades, but weren't so keen on being photographed with them. I also won 65 euro when we played bingo one night which made my week! There were plenty of activities on during the day such as Kids Club and also games of water polo and volleyball which Husband enjoyed.

The Broncemar Beach resort is a complex of apartments and inside the resort they have a supermarket, laundry service, buffet restaurant, a pool bar with an a la carte menu, 2 swimming pools, 2 Jacuzzis and a children's pool. We stayed on an all inclusive basis which was great for us. The food was reasonably good with something different offered every lunch and evening time. Breakfast was the same every day, offering hot and cold options, and Wee Z enjoyed one of my favourite childhood foods from living in Mexico - churros dipped in hot chocolate. The hotel was only 5 minutes from the beach and 2 minutes from the town centre which had plenty of shops and restaurants.

This was our first family holiday and we really had an excellent time. We've been looking forward to the holiday all year and it really was worth the wait. I don't know if we'll go back again as I think I want to go to one of the other islands in the Canaries or to Turkey next. Oh and Disneyland Paris is definitely on the cards - better get saving those pennies!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Gallery - Guilty Pleasures

My guilty pleasure will probably comes as no surprise...

I honestly think I could eat cake all day. Ahhhh, if only it wasn't fattening!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Guilty Pleasures. I would have posted some pictures of HOT MEN cause I like them a lot too, but the pictures do have to be my own and I'm not sure if I quite like men as much as I like cake...toughie!!

Ah well I DID take this one of Husband

Friday, 16 September 2011

Preparing For Our First Family Holiday Abroad

We try to visit my family down south at least once a year for a few days and packing everything we need into our car can be a tad stressful. It's a bit of a running joke with Bella and Pops when we turn up with a boot full of stuff for a 3 day visit and they ask if we are staying for a week but you can never be too prepared when travelling with young children. Since Miss Baby K was born, my Mum invested in a travel cot to keep at their house and we took down some toys to keep there for the kids to play with when they visit, so that's a few less items I need to take.

We're going to Fuerteventura this weekend and I have done most of the packing with only a few bits and bobs to pop in my case before we leave and a few things to pick up at the shops too. I had my trusty list (I'm a list person, I need to tick things off or I don't feel right!) written out awhile ago so I'm fairly confident I haven't forgotten anything we'll need. I try to tell myself that if we forget something we can always get it there but that doesn't usually sit right with me (I must be strange!) so I've made sure I have enough toiletries to last me a fortnight (we're only going for a week!) and plenty of outfits in case one gets covered in ice cream. For the kids, not me although I have made sure I have plenty too. I can see me being over my 15kg allowance!

Travelling around a lot when I was younger, I know how boring a flight can be so we bought Miss C and Wee Z their own little rucksacks to have as a carry on. Wee Z got a Lighting McQueen one and Miss C got a Tangled one (they were £1 each in Asda...bargain!) and they then chose an activity to put in their rucksack to enjoy on the plane. Wee Z chose a sticky mosaic by numbers which he loves and Miss C got some Disney Princess colouring books with magic pens. Hopefully that will keep them amused for the flight!

Whilst things like clothes and shoes and toiletries are fairly obvious for travelling, there are definitely a few more essential items on my list that weren't there before I had kids.

  1. First-aid kit - Plasters, antiseptic wipes, ice/cool pack, Savlon and medicine.
  2. Factor 50+ suncream - I got water resistant stuff for the kids
  3. Travel cot - I took mine with me when Wee Z and I went to Portugal as the hotel couldn't guarantee a cot for us
  4. Something (toy or book) to keep them amused in case of any delays (touch wood)
  5. Sunhats and sunglasses
  6. Change of clothes in their carry-on (touch wood our cases don't get lost or delayed!)
Pretty much everything is ready to go, I just need to look out the passports and travel documents and we're all set. I fear though that I'll only be able to get into holiday mode as soon as we've landed in Fuerteventura, got our cases and made it to the hotel. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Gallery - A Happy Memory

As we're preparing to go on holiday this week, Husband pulled down our huge suitcase from the loft and inside, all wrapped up was my wedding dress. My wedding day brings back such happy memories for me. I loved everything about the day but definitely getting to wear a gorgeous dress and feel like a princess was one of my favourite things on the day.

Dress hunting was a fun filled day and it only took one shopping trip to find my dress. I chose a white dress with gorgeous flower beaded decorations all over but prominent around the sweetheart neckline, down the back of the dress and all over the train.

I had wanted to have the dress made into naming ceremony gown for Miss C but I just couldn't face having my beautiful dress all cut up. It holds such special memories for me and was part of one of the happiest days of my life.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is A Happy Memory.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Pros and Cons of Babies

It's been a busy few days as we've had Miss Baby K visiting us since last Thursday. Staying almost 4 hours apart, I don't get to see my family very often so when they do visit, we like to make the most of it.

We've mainly spent the days inside, not doing very much, however we did venture out for a shopping trip on Sunday for the bits and bobs I need for going on holiday this weekend. Wee Z is getting on great with Miss Baby K, keeping her entertained with songs and funny noises. She laughs so much at him. Miss C has been a bit put out with Miss Baby K being here. She must think she's no longer the baby in the house, but we've been making sure to give her plenty of cuddles and kisses.

Having Miss Baby K here really reminds me of how much hard work a baby is. For awhile there I was feeling particularly broody and, whilst this is no reflection on Miss Baby K herself, having a baby in the house has somewhat put me off. Here is why: -
  1. Babies don't sleep all night
  2. Babies need fed every few hours including during the night
  3. Babies wear nappies
  4. Babies get fed up with a toy after a few minutes
  5. Babies cry a lot when they don't know what else to do
  6. Babies can't speak to tell you what they want
  7. Babies need help bringing their wind up and often it gets stuck
  8. Babies sick up quite a lot and usually you are the target and you then smell of sour milk
  9. Any plans you make are made around your baby
  10. Going out with your baby requires thorough planning and a well stocked changing bag

Having said all that, it has been nice to have a baby in the house too. Children grow up so quickly, you often forget the things they did as babies, the milestones they reach.
  1. Babies coo and make cute little noises when they are happy
  2. Babies are fascinated with new things
  3. Babies love to watch you, you are their favourite person
  4. Babies love to chew their feet, when they can actually start to grab them
  5. The simpliest of things make a baby smile
  6. Babies don't have tantrums
  7. Babies don't answer back
  8. You can leave a baby on their play gym without having to worry about them playing with something they shouldn't - unless they start rolling over!
  9. Babies love cuddles and don't generally refuse cuddles or kisses cause it isn't cool
  10. Babies have that lovely "baby smell" (except when they are sick - see con 8)
Now Miss Baby K has gone back home, we'll definitely miss having her making us smile with all her little noises and her giggles. However, I'm definitely put off having another baby - if just for a little while.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Come Dine With Me Part 3 - The Final

Two weeks ago we attended the last evening in our Come Dine With Me neighbourhood event which was hosted by Wee Z's God Father and his girlfriend. Preparations leading up to the night were rather traumatic when God Father came to use my printer to print off his menus (marks off). He had to change my ink and upon completion stood up and cracked his head open on the side of my wall-mounted DVD cabinet. He was bleeding all over my computer room (more marks off) but he seemed OK and did manage to successfully deliver our menu half an hour later. The menu arrived in a treasure chest filled with golden doubloons and chocolate coins (marks added on) which the kids thought was fantastic.

He did stress that even though the menu had been presented in a treasure chest, there was no theme and dressing up would not be required. Of course this meant Husband and I would have to find some outrageous pirate-themed costumes just to annoy him. After all, he did turn up to our night in pyjama bottoms, an outrageous tie and shirt.

The menu read as if it would eat well, for me anyways. Husband hates rice (unless it is fried rice from the Chinese take-away) and he hates Ferrero Roche. My only flaw in the menu was that I was going to have to share my dessert.

Husband and I acquired our costumes from Mummy N and Daddy J and Husband caused much hilarity with the very tight luminous green tights from the children playing out that night. Cupcake neighbour and her partner had already been down to our house to share some adult juice so they were prepared for our outfits but God Father and his girlfriend were quite surprised when Peter Pan and Tinkerbell showed up for dinner.

It was now 8pm and having had no dinner and some adult juice (wine) I was slightly tipsy. We were presented with some mad champagne cocktail concoction which tasted OK but more than anything it was doing the job of getting us all quite merry. Before our starter we were given some homemade bread with tomatoes in it - there could have been something else in it but to be honest I was too hungry to notice - which was quite tasty. God Father had a kitchen malfunction which meant he forgot to turn the oven on so we had to wait awhile for our starters so more adult juice was consumed instead.

When the starter arrived, a selection of kebabs made with pork, chicken and steak, we devoured them. The steak was my favourite as they'd cooked it with lime juice and it reminded me of the tacos we used to have in Mexico at our favourite restaurant, Don Taco. I could have kept eating them! The main course was ok but by that point I was slightly more merry so I couldn't eat a lot and by the time it came to dessert I was glad we were sharing.

The best part of the evening was the games God Father and his girlfriend had prepared. We had to wear celebrity face masks and ask everyone questions to try and figure out who's face we were wearing. Husband ended up with Piers Morgan which I knew he'd never get and as there were shots involved in this game, I kept trying to whisper the answer to him but he never clicked on. I was the first to guess mine as Richard Hammond but even after the game was finished, we decided to keep our masks on as it was a lot more fun. I think we looked better anyway!

At the end of the night we did our scoring and announced the winner as it was the last night. Cupcake neighbour and her partner won and we came in second place. Poor God Father didn't seem to chuffed that he hadn't won but there was only a point between us so it was really close. To celebrate we're all going out to dinner at an actual restaurant though I don't think they'd welcome our antics quite as much as our friends did.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cake Masterclass

My sister made a comment on my Facebook status yesterday which said "We get that you love cake!" Well, I do. There. If there was an AA for cakes then I'd be going to it...CA. Cakes Anonymous. My name is Laura and I'm addicted to cake.

Baking and decorating has definitely become more and more popular especially with cupcakes. Those seem to be everywhere...not that I'm complaining. One of my friends did ask me if I'd thought about starting up my own cupcake business but there are definitely too many people out there with the same idea and I don't think I could get into the competitiveness of it. I also think I'd want to eat the goods instead of selling them.

What I have thought about doing is making my own birthday cakes for the family. When I was at school I did a GCSE in Food Technology and that involved baking and decorating cakes. I had to design my own cakes, including my own recipe and fillings and I absolutely loved it. I was never quite as creative as some of the other girls in my class (I'm not being sexist - there were no boys in that class) but I loved making my cakes and then eating them afterwards. They didn't make it home very often. I got to visit a cake shop as part of my course and help out for the day. I loved it and I learned how to make a number 1 shaped cake. I also used to make cakes with my Mum and Sister and I will never forget the novelty boat cake we made for my Step Dad complete with sailor and cheeky topless mermaid. Her boobies were very impressive!

I've been sent Mich Turner's Cake Masterclass book (published by jacqui small and available to buy now at £30) to read and hopefully to use to pick up some decorating tips. Using her skills from being the owner of the Little Venice Cake Company, Mich shows you how to decorate the most beautiful cakes as well as providing excellent recipe ideas and hints and tips.

The book starts off with the essential equipment you need for cake baking and decorating. A simple cake tin isn't enough if you want to make gorgeous cakes. You need piping bags, cutters and tools for adding intricate details. Following on from that, Mich shares different ways to make cakes such as creaming or an all in one mix and shares some delicious cake recipes.

One of my favourite decorations on a cake is a rose. We had sugar paste roses on our wedding cake and I've always wanted to learn how to make them. They look easy enough to make; there isn't much to them and Mich shows you how to make them in this book. Wee Z and I had a go together and we think we did a fairly good job.

My favourite section in the book was the cake gallery. This chapter features the techniques, such as piping and painting, stacking and icing Mich uses throughout the book on finished cakes. They all look absolute stunning, however my favourite is the Purlesque. The pearls on the cake are made from royal icing and simply coloured in ivory, caramel and white and piped on to the cake but they look so realistic. There are also some cute fun cakes featuring flowers, ladybirds and bumblebees which Wee Z can't wait to try out.

The Cake Masterclass is definitely going to help me out with my dreams of creating beautiful birthday cakes and would be a great addition to any bakers book collection.

I received the Cake Masterclass book for review purposes. The opinions in this post are my own.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pinch Punch It's September...Already?!

I can not get over how quickly this year has gone passed. I can remember the days when time seemed to drag by in what seemed like an eternity when infact it was only an hour.

I'm really excited about September though. It is a month I've been looking forward to for ages - from last year actually. We've booked up to go on holiday with our friends, Mummy N, Daddy J, Miss E and Wee L and we're off to Fuerteventura for a week of sun, sea, sand and probably none of the other S. (Sangria!!)

It's our first family holiday abroad and I'm really looking forward to it. I love going to the airport and browsing all the shops and duty free. I'm not too keen on take off or landing and I don't know whether I'm looking forward to the flight itself as it is about 4 hours long and I think the kids, especially Miss C will become restless. However, I'm really, really looking forward to having a cooking free, cleaning free week with my family and friends.

Our last holiday abroad - Wee Z was 15 months old

This weekend we're off on a short weekend break to the Isle of Arran in Scotland. I've never been before and I'm quite excited as I've been told that it is really beautiful and the food is fabulous. I love places with good food.

My Sister is also coming to stay next week with Miss Baby K for 5 days and I can't wait to see them both. Miss Baby K is almost 5 months old now and I haven't seen her since she was a few weeks old so I'm looking forward to giving her lots of cuddles to try and ease my broody spell and maybe even put me off babies altogether (through the sleepless nights you understand - not because she is so cute!) I also can't wait to see Wee Z and Miss C interacting with her. Last weekend we ran into Cupcake neighbour who was out with her friend who has a 7 month old daughter. Wee Z was really taken with her and the baby kept reaching out to hold his hand and staring at him. It was so sweet.

I can't wait to see how much this little pudding has grown

After the busy spell this month I'll be looking forward to some relaxing time (and some cake) around my birthday weekend. I think I may need another holiday to recover!

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