Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Family Holiday

 

 

Choosing A Family Holiday

Just when I think I’ve found the perfect type of holiday for my family, BOOM they’ve gone and grown up a little more. As everyone knows we spend a lot of time up near Oban in our small cottage by the sea, but when you live in Scotland sometimes a bit of sunshine and city life can be sooo tempting.

This year we are venturing further afield and taking the kids to Spain. Starting in Madrid, where we are staying in a small hotel outside the city by a lake for 4 days to get acclimatised to the heat (will post about it on return), then 3 days in an apartment in central Madrid from the Airbnb website. We haven’t used them before but are curious to see how it pans out staying in someones vacated home. Followed by, and this is sadly the bit I’m most excited about, the bullet train to Barcelona, it is 671 km and takes only 2.5 hrs.

high-speed-ave-train-spain

My husband and I love Barcelona and have been longing to take the kids for them to enjoy some authentic Tapas. We don’t mind staying a subway journey into the heart of the city especially as this can offer the pleasures of a beach and marina being only  minutes into the heart of a beautiful city with interesting architecture and amazing markets.

barcelona-modernism-and-gaudi-walking-tour-in-barcelona-168394

 

 

 

tapas

Then flights back from Barcelona to a gorgeous Scotland in full summer….

Interview

Hooded towelLiz Fordham of Splash ‘n’ Swim

Splash ‘n’ Swim is a website dedicated to offering information to adults and kids alike about learning to swim and it’s health benefits, with a large database of swimming clubs, lessons and pools Liz is aiming to be an important stop for anyone interested in learning to swim. She kindly talked to us about her motivation:

1 When did you start Splash ‘n’ Swim, and why did you create it?

LF) I started Splash ‘n’ Swim because I wanted a business that I could run from home, that I could fit around my children.  I thought it would be useful for parents to have a swim school directory that they could easily access to find swimming lessons near to them and the ideas grew from there.

2 What do you feel makes your enterprise special?

LF) I think it is appealing to both teachers, parents and swimmers. I am willing to listen to other people’s ideas and aim for the website to have a friendly, helpful feel. It is regularly updated with a new blog. I am constantly working on new ideas for the website and even though you might not be able to see them on the computer, it doesn’t mean to say it isn’t happening!

3 If you could magically give all children one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?

LF) The confidence and self belief that they can swim or can learn to swim.

4 If you could ask your group members one thing and get an answer from all of them, what would that question be?

LF) What would be the most beneficial item to have on the website?

5 Feel free to give a shout-out to some of your power-users or most active members.

LF) Don’t have power-users, I am slowly building up a following on Facebook and Twitter and I really appreciate those who have chosen to either like my page or follow me.

6 Does anyone come to mind, and what do you like most about them?

LF) Paula Norris, the people I work with, Camilla Golledge and Jane Hardy, as they give me ideas/material for my blogs and lots of encouragement!

7 For someone new to this community, how do they get the most out of it?

Ask questions, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and read the blogs!

8 Has anything surprised you about owning a forum about early years?

LF) I wouldn’t say that Splash ‘n’ Swim is particularly about early years. Learning to swim can happen at any age and the ability of swimming isn’t comparible to age. Eventually I would like to add more advanced swimming articles/information like ideas for sets etc. I suppose the one thing that does surprise me (and I’ve learnt this as a swimming teacher)is that a parent’s view of the child’s swimming ability can vary wildly compared to that of the child’s teacher’s judgement!

9 If you could give just one blogging tip, what would it be?

LF) When you write a blog, go away, do something else for a couple of hours. Come back and edit with fresh mind and fresh eyes, it so much easier!

 

Thank you so much Liz I know how passionate you are about helping to get kids swimming!  To contact Liz visit her website at http://www.splash-n-swim.co.uk/

 

Millarochy Bay, Scotland

Open Water Swimming

Interview with Robert Hamilton10330435_572010842922243_150072017489074870_n

 

I love Open Water Swimming but only do it in Scotland in the summer. We spoke to Robert Hamilton from Vigour Events about his passion for Open Water Swimming, maybe he can persuade me to don the wetsuit in winter too!

Check out their website http://www.vigourevents.com/ and become totally immersed.

 

1. When did you start to be interested in Open Swimming and what motivated you?

I became interested in open swimming 7 years ago as I enjoy the challenge and exploring different environments and can cope with the Cold!

 

2. Do you feel you have created a community of followers keen to get open swimming out in the open shall we say?

We have over 800 followers and this is growing.

Wow you have another one now Robert!

3. If you could ask your die hard swimmers one thing and get an answer from all of them, what would that be?

If I could ask my die hard swimmers anything it would be FREEDOM!!!!!! (William Wallace)

Open swimming certainly gives you that, Robert!

 

4. Feel free to give a shout out to some of your most active members.

My most active members are: Scott McQuaid, Joyce Watt, Gary Smith, Brian Wiseman.

 

5. What are some of the topics close to your heart that you feel need to be addressed to get more kids swimming?

The topics close to my heart is to raise more awareness of water safety as at times I feel that this is not a high priority in peoples agendas.

 

6. Have you learnt any really useful tips to help parents?

Useful tips to help parents would be to allow their kids the chance to develop their abilities in the water by themselves and at their own pace.

Holidays Over Xmas

Holidays Over XmasSometimes Christmas here can just feel a little too commercial for my liking. We’ve all forgotten it’s true meaning and with  3 ‘what I want for Xmas’ lists to go through and seeing my neighbours have started to put up trees in very obvious windows onto the street the pressure is starting.

 

That got me thinking about leaving it all behind and asking the family if they would swap it all to go away for xmas. After a bit of Googling I discovered the rise in voluntourism companies and one especially called Hands Up Holidays .

Hands Up specialise in authentic and rich travel experiences for individuals or whole families of any age. If you want your kids to develop a desire to give back to those less fortunate ( that would be financial, not necessarily spiritual ) they could do a lot worse than participate in one of these community development programs that aim to give you a real sense of achievement and maximise the amount of money retained by the local community.

As well as building and renovation projects where younger children are encouraged to play with the village children and understand their way of life, older children can become English reading or teaching partners to kids needing to practise basic conversational English or in Buenos Aires run short computer classes in the cities ‘hogares’ ( childrens homes).Other examples are joining teams to rehabilitate working elephants in Thailand who have suffered at human hands.

Along with this sort of work they also offer tours of the country you are staying in to jungles, volcanoes, different tribes, beaches and much more.

These are not cheap holidays, but I feel, from reading their reviews, that customers return with not just great memories but with changed values and ideals.

20 Family Breaks For under £500

20 Family Breaks For Under £500

_TG_saloon_01

 

Firstly I would like to congratulate Family Traveller on being nominated for a BSME award for their superb magazine, well done! Here is a snippet of what they write about, click here. It has to be no 7, the horse drawn gypsy caravan in Wiltshire, for me.

How To Keep Your Hooded Towels Soft And Fluffy in 4 Easy Steps

 

soft and fluffy3807

 

Our velour towels are soft and fluffy for drying your wee ones and using these 4 steps you can ensure that they stay that way.

1. Sounds gross but every three to four washes avoid using detergent, and instead, use 100ml of white vinegar (I add it to the draw before the rinse cycle).This prevents a build up chemicals which leave your towels feeling stiff and scratchy.

2. Don’t overload your drum.

3. Use a 60° cycle ( our hooded towels can safely be washed at 60°) in the washing machine and a medium heat in the tumble dryer, any hotter and the integrity of the fibres break down.

4. Never use a fabric softener as this can create a waxy build-up and affect the absorbency of the towel.

Happy drying!

Hooded towel

Family Traveller

Any family who travel with kids can’t help but be impressed with this website dedicated to family holidays and now they are stocking our beautiful hooded towels. Check them out here. Hooded towelThanks guys!

Easy Suppers

Easy Supper Ideas

To start I want to thank all of you who have told me they find my recipeless recipes useful. So today I’ll post what we had for tea last night, this is so simple and you can add other veg of your choice, we quite often have courgettes, fennel or aubergine in it.

Roasted Halloumi Cheese And VegetablesHallomi ing again

  • Chop veg of your choice, I’ve used peppers, red onion and tomatoes.
  • Toss in a roasting tin with chunks of halloumi cheese, oil and woody herbs eg thyme, rosemary.Easy suppers
  • Roast in a med to hot oven until the veg are cooked and the cheese is starting to brown.
  • Place the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling stock to come 2cm above the grains, leave for 15mins.
  • Serve the couscous and the roasted veg and cheese together with a salad or just some dressed avocado.

Simple and healthy!

Easy Suppers

Easy Supper Ideas

Carrying on with my series of easy suppers, I’m someone for whom the one pot meal was invented and this is my favourite.

It is another of Joseline Dimbleby’s and has so many flavours you could just add some steamed broccoli or a salad to go with it.

Chicken With Chickpeas And Chorizo

  • In a large casserole add some chicken ( I use boneless, skinless thighs), sliced chorizo sausage, chopped garlic, chickpeas and some chopped or dried oregano.

 

Easy suppers

  • Add a tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • Add enough chicken stock to almost cover.
  • Place the lid on and cook in a preheated oven at 150 C for a couple of hours.Chicken done

This is so easy and always gets finished off in our house.

5 Easy Meals For Everyday Suppers

What’s for tea tonight?

That interminable question. I love cooking but as a mother to 3 growing children I feel the need to produce meal after meal quite tiresome. I’m sure other people must feel the same so I have put together some of my all time favourites, favourites because the kids eat them, they are fairly easy to heat up for the husband and they don’t take a lot of prep. My first is courtesy of Joseline Dimbelby;

Pork And Tuna Rissoles In  A Caper Sauce

  • Mix together 500g minced pork, 1 x tin of tuna (drained of its oil), 1 x egg, chopped rosemary, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and form into approx 20 rissole shapes.Meatballs
  • Fry until cooked through and removed to keep warm.
  • Crush 3 tsps of capers and add to the frying pan with 300ml double cream.

Serve the rissoles with the sauce and pasta of your choice. Rissoles

Next week I’ll be making a favourite 1 pot meal, Chicken With Chickpeas And Chorizo which is simple and almost impossible to overcook.