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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. 5 Things You MUST Do Before A Family Holiday *

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    Don't forget these before boarding the plane!

    Is there anything better than going on a holiday? What with all the sun, sea and sand it’s the perfect way to relax. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a holiday won’t go to plan if you don’t do the preparation, especially a family holiday. They are notorious for going off the rails, which is why you want to do everything possible to make sure it goes smoothly. Thankfully, you can with these tips.

    Here are the five things you need to do before you board the plane.

    5 Things You MUST Do Before A Family Holiday

    Dig Out The Passport

    ‘Oh no, where’s my passport?!’ it’s the last thing you want to hear or say, but plenty of people do it on a yearly basis. The reason is that they assume everything is okay with their passport. Then, when they get to the check-in desk, they find out there is going to be problems. To prevent this clichéd pitfall, you just have to dig out your passport before you finalise the holiday. That way, you know that everything is fine and you will be able to get on the plane. Let’s face it – no one wants to book a vacation and find out their passport is expired.

    Make Sure You Have All Of Your Documents

    A passport is only the beginning. Before you land at your destination, you need to prove a few things. The first is that you have a return flight out of the country. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed by how many people book a one-way trip. A good trick is to print off all the boarding passes and keep them in one place. The next box you need to tick is the visa. Do you need one? If so, contact your travel agents for advice and arrange one. Britons have had it easy because of Europe and Schengen, but far-flung countries have different requirements. Oh, and don’t forget a list of emergency contacts in case the worse happens. No one wants to be stuck in a foreign country if they lose their credit card and passport.

    Arrange Transport

    Going away is amazing, but getting to the airport is always hard work. You don’t want to miss your flight, which is why organising transport is a must. If you don’t plan on driving, pre-book a taxi that will take you straight to the terminal. Try and use a company you have previous experience of for extra security. Anyone that plans on driving to the airport needs two things. The first is a detailed map of the route so that you don’t get lost. The second is a parking spot in the airport car park. Whatever you do, don’t be late.

    Go Shopping

    Now it gets real! Shopping is a must before you go on holiday because you want to look your best. After all, you have waited for this moment for the past year. The thing is you don’t want to spend a fortune. The holiday itself is expensive, so there is little room for splashing the cash. Thankfully, the internet has your back with sites like Get the Label. These types of online retailers specialise in selling quality gear at low prices. And, they have clothes for all the family. With sites like these, there’s no need to buy clothes on the high street.

    Secure The Home

    While you’re away, the house is vulnerable. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone can break in if they know no one is home. It’s not a nice thought, but it is one that you need mull over before you set off for the airport. Otherwise, you might come back to an empty property. Obviously, securing your home is essential, and it isn’t difficult either. An alarm is more than enough to keep burglars at bay and alert the neighbours. Some people even go as far as installing CCTV cameras because they scare thieves to death. Another tip is to ask a friend to keep an eye on the house.  Ask them to draw and close the curtains, leave the lights on, and just watch out for anything suspicious. They can even stay there as long as they’re tidy and leave before you return!

     

  2. The Daily Commute: Activities for Boring Commutes *

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    How to use time wisely when travelling

    Whether you are riding shotgun in a car, taking the bus to work, or have a kid in the backseat that keeps saying, "Are we there yet?" long commutes can be extremely boring and dull.  Commuting is the life-sucking time of day that seems to take forever and is unproductive, but you can turn it into a fun experience when doing activities that keep your mind busy. 

     Picture of girl waiting for tube for blog post titled The Daily Commute Act

    I-Spy Bingo

    Keep your eyes peeled for new and interesting things as you travel by playing I-spy bingo with others in the vehicle. This is a fun activity for kids and adults alike as it can be customised for different age groups. You can purchase pre-printed bingo cards or make up some of your own. Simply mark out the spaces on the cards when you see the object or action you are looking for and scream out, "Bingo!" once you have marked out a row. Bring prizes along so that the winner can enjoy something extra special.

    Audio Books

    Audio books are great for people who have to drive long distances or just want a break from reality for a while. Audio books are available for many fiction and non-fiction publications and can be checked out from the library for free, purchased from bookstores, or downloaded to your device using one of the popular audio book apps. Audio books are perfect for passing time and will keep kids engaged and learn while you travel. Put your earbuds in and let your mind wander and fantasise about storylines on that dreaded commute.

    Colouring 

    Colouring is a soothing activity that promotes creativity and reduces stress. If you are in for a long commute and need to entertain yourself or the kids while traveling, check out the Color Book for Me & Mandala app on Google Play. This app allows you to experience all of the joys of colouring without having to carry colouring materials around with you. You can choose the colouring pages you want to experiment with from a large catalogue of free offerings. With this app, you can colour when you want to and save your work to finish at a later time.

    Create Lists and Get Organised

    Make the most out of your commute and create lists of things you need to buy at the store and things you need to get accomplished. This is also a great exercise for kids to do as it teaches them to plan ahead. Commuting from point A to point B is the perfect time to get yourself organised. You can write out lists in your planner or use an app to get the mission accomplished.

    A boring commute can be turned around into the wonderful gift of free time when you plan ahead and make sure you have activities to keep yourself busy along the way. Play games, take advantage of the technology on your smartphone and get organised while you go.

     

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  3. Is there such a thing as vegetarian food in Poland? *

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    Is there such a thing as vegetarian food in Poland strawberry soup

    I’ve never visited before, but one day I’d love to find a cheap holiday to Poland and explore the cities such as Warsaw and Krakow.  The architecture looks beautiful; I’d even go as far as saying it’s quite pretty.  If you love castles, Poland has over 100 ready for you to explore.  Away from the popular cities the scenery doesn’t look like it will disappoint with its incredible mountains, lakes and wooden lodges scattered about.    It’s renowned for its super cheap prices and it’s not that far away at all, only two and a half hours by plane and there are always incredible cheap deals online.

    The only trouble I find I have when I do travel to Europe is whether restaurants are vegetarian friendly.  Being vegetarian in Europe can sometimes make me feel a bit like an alien.  Many people seem to have no concept of the idea at all.  Someone once replied ‘oh yes, I’m vegetarian too, I eat vegetables’.  Turned out they actually ate meat with those vegetables!  One time, in Florence, I was served a plate of sliced plain aubergine. Apparently that’s all they could muster up for an awkward veggie like me.

    Is vegetarianism a thing in Poland?

    Inspired by this guide to Poland’s regional food I decided to scour the web to see what Poland’s take on vegetarianism is.    As I thought, it’s pretty non-existent.  Though according to Wikipedia, 3.2% of Polish people are vegetarian.  How accurate this data is or how they find out, I don’t know.  I have no idea how anyone official would know I’m a vegetarian as I’m sure it’s not a question on a census?  In the same article it says 2-12% of the UK are vegetarian – quite a large range really.  But if the lower 2% were true then Poland could have more vegetarians than us, yet I have struggled to find much about the very subject of vegetarianism being much of a trend in Poland at all.  Most articles seem to be about the struggle of vegetarians when eating in Poland, but surely there are plenty of side dishes that don’t contain meat?

    As the infographic below shows there are lots of meat themed dishes, as I expected, but there is also a surprising amount of food that seems totally fine for us veggies.  The strangest of these being a strawberry soup (Zupa Truskawkowa); totally bizarre, right?  I do love a strawberry smoothie though and I like sour cream so perhaps it’s not too strange?  I’ve seen images of it served with pasta online though which is a little too strange for me! 

    I don’t eat sugary foods, but if I did I’d give the Polish ‘tree cake’ (Sekacz) a whirl!  Doesn’t it look fabulous!  I’ve never seen anything like it.  What a great centrepiece for a get together.  I was almost drooling over the description of their ‘zupa cebulowa’ which I think is their version of French onion soup or quite similar?  I’ve never actually tried French onion soup, believe it or not, so tell me if I’m wrong!  This Polish version has fried onions, noodles and lots of delicious gooey egg yolk (I think the egg yolk is what’s selling it to me, yum!).

    Have you been to Poland?  Is there much choice there for vegetarians?

     

  4. How To Exchange Your Leftover Foreign Holiday Currency, Coins Too! *

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    How To Exchange Your Leftover Foreign Holiday Coins Notes Obsolete Leftover

    Change your foreign coins with Leftover Currency

    Isn’t it such a pain when you come back from a holiday abroad and you have a bag of useless foreign coins?  Not that money is ever really useless, after all it is money.  But unless you are going back to the same country where you can spend it then there’s not anything you can do with it once home.  Annoyingly, every time I’ve returned from abroad and visited a foreign exchange counter they will not accept any coins, only notes.  I’m writing this blog post to tell you how to exchange foreign coins too.  There is now a really easy way to convert all of your foreign currency.

    My husband and I regularly visit Germany as he has family there.  For about three years we had a bag of approximately 50 Euros just sitting in our cupboard.  We forgot to take it with us on a couple of trips; always realising we had left it a home once arriving in Germany!  In the end, once we finally remembered about this bag of coins, we gave them to a German family member.  After all, they were of no use to us in the UK.  Or so we thought!  If only I had known about the amazing website ‘Leftover Currency’ we would have been able to easily exchange Euros including coins!

    At leftovercurrency.com you can convert all of your foreign currency back into spendable cash quickly and conveniently.  By ‘all’ I mean notes, coins and obsolete currency!  Leftover Currency impressively accepts currency no longer in circulation.  They are by far the most comprehensive foreign currency exchange platform I have come across.  If you are a keen traveller it’s now time to check out your drawers and find those notes you once thought were of no use and get your money back!

    The process is simple too:

    1. Browse the accepted currencies on the website as if you were shopping for it and add to your cart what you have.  Your shopping cart will show the total price, but the awesome part is this price is what you’ll be paid.  If you love form filling then you can skip this part and fill out a postal form instead, but I think the shopping cart feature is way more fun.
    2. Next, simply post your currency including your reference number or postal form.  This is perhaps the most off-putting part at first, but use a service such as Special Delivery to make this worry free.  Once your currency is received and checked, you’ll receive your money by whichever method you selected (PayPal, cheque or bank transfer) within 5 days.
    3. Spend your cash!

    If you’re thinking of having a New Year type ‘Spring clean’ and declutter, then be sure to keep an eye out for all those foreign coins and notes you previously thought were unusable and give Leftover Currency a go!

     

  5. Our First Time... At A Trampoline Park!

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    jumptastic gloucester trampoline park toddler toddlertastic review lifestyl
    Boing!  Picture Source

    Toddlertastic Review at Jumptastic, Gloucester

    We had the absolute best time two weekends ago when we attended Jumptastic Trampoline Park in Gloucester for the very first time.  Jumptastic had been on my radar for quite a while, perhaps even a year since first hearing about it from the mums at Bella’s old playgroup.  It sounded fantastic – a whole warehouse filled with trampolines attached to one another!  Who doesn’t love bouncing around right?  It certainly makes me feel like a big kid whenever I get on a trampoline or bouncy castle, so this place sounded awesome!

    I’d originally tried convincing Ben to go with me on one of our date nights, but these are few and far between and the chance hasn’t yet arisen.  Searching their website one day to show Ben what we’re missing out on, I was amazed to discover they have a Toddlertastic session suitable for under fives!  No way!  This meant we could take both Bella (4) and Reuben (1) together and go as a family to try it out.  Even better!

    Toddlertastic Jumptastic blog review gloucester lifestyle blogger uk

    Bella was super excited.  We don’t have a trampoline in the garden and she has been asking for one so we must get one next year.  The excitement didn’t fade when we got there either!  Bella is often quite shy in new places and situations and takes a while to settle in, but not here!  She was running around totally hyper and loving every second!  Boinging from trampoline to trampoline and even jumping into the foam pit!

    Reuben had an absolute whale of a time.  The huge parachute material was draped over one of the vertical trampolines and he couldn’t clamber up fast enough to keep sliding down the super slippy slide it created!

    Ben and I also had tons of fun!  There was plenty of room for everyone there so we got to bounce around a fair amount too!  I love the feeling of butterflies it creates in my stomach and it gave me a bit of a silly high!  It’s the funniest and most fun thing we’ve done in a long while and it was great to do our first activity as a family of four which we could all enjoy.

    I really want to go back for a date night with just Ben so we can boing around unrestricted without the young children there, but we’ll also go back for Toddlertastic in the New Year as it was so much fun for everyone.   We couldn’t stop talking about it all day!

    Jumptastic is in Gloucester and their website is http://www.jumptastic.uk/

    I’m sure there are plenty more trampoline parks across the country, so why not find one near you?

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