Bjorn To Travel? Try Scandinavia!

Bjorn To Travel? Try Scandinavia!

Do you ever get bored with travelling to the same Balearic every year for your annual fix of sun, sea, and sand? While a package holiday is often the simplest and most convenient means of travel with a brood in tow, it is rarely the most exciting. More recently, parents are choosing to shun the traditional package holiday for something more authentic, if a little more tricky to organise. If you have plenty of time to do your research, enjoy making plans and want to immerse your little darlings into a culture rather than allowing them to see a hotel pool and holiday complex for a fortnight, then a jaunt to a lesser trodden land might be just what you’re looking for.

 

It is not set in stone that you need to take your annual vacation during the summer months. Instead, you could choose to take a winter break with your rabble. This can often allow you to secure cheaper prices for flights and accommodation when heading away off-season and you could face less tourist crowds. If you fancy hot-footing it abroad for a snow-filled holiday, take a look at why Scandinavia could be the ideal family holiday destination.

Geological Wonders For The Entire Family

 

When you think about Scandinavia, thoughts of Vikings, blizzards, Hans Christian Anderson, and Fjords may come into your mind. The joy of this northern region of Europe is the sheer variety of interest and activities it has to offer.

 

Take a jaunt to Iceland on your travels, and you could find yourself enjoying the vista of a geological spectacle every day of your trip. You might fancy whisking your brood away for a night time hunt for the Northern Lights. Many specialist tour companies know the best spots on the island from which to try and spy the natural phenomenon. Before you know it, you could be witnessing the solar flares lighting up the darkened skies with green and pink laser light shows.

 

During the day, you might want to explore the delights of a glacier or two. You could take your family on a snowshoeing trek across a glacier, or a hike up a dormant volcano or even a dog sled ride across the snow covered lunar landscape. The geysers and geothermal springs on the island mean you could take a bathing break in the spa-like Blue Lagoon or traverse Pingvellir National Park with its methane filled walkways while straddling two tectonic plates. If your little cherubs are curious and love the great outdoors, Iceland in the winter could be your perfect holiday destination.

Getting Back To Nature And Wildlife

 

It isn’t just Iceland that offers up some amazing opportunities to get closer to nature and explore the outdoors. Spending some of your winter in Finland would allow you to head to Ranua to feed a pack of elusive polar bears, head off on a whale watching tour to try and spot minke and humpback in their natural habitat or hot-foot it to a reserve to spend some quality time with a troupe of reindeer. If your kids adore animals, but you aren’t keen on the zoo, a trip to Finland could be a perfect way for your children to see conservation in action.

 

You might want to extend your trip with a jaunt to Norway to venture even further off the beaten track. The Lofoten Islands is the prime location from which to see killer whales and the Norwegian Svalbard offers the perfect vista in which to see walrus, arctic foxes, and lynx. Even if your kids aren’t into wildlife before a trip to Scandinavia, when they return home, they’ll be keen to make it as the next Sir David Attenborough.

Cosmopolitan Cities

It’s not all snow, ice-capped mountains, freezing temperatures and volcanic vistas. Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark all have their fair share of cosmopolitan cities that are well worth a visit.

 

The beautiful city of Reykjavik is renowned for its friendliness and down to Earth ethos, stunning architecture and exquisite cuisine. You could while away your days sampling Skyr in the cafes near the harbour in the morning, experiencing the joys of pickled herring and fermented shark for dinner, and stop off at some achingly cool vegetarian eateries for a snack or two. With a full belly, you might be keen to explore the iconic Hallgrimskirkja, the incredible cathedral in the centre of the city. You can scale the tower to view the city vista from the stained glass windows. The outside is just as spectacular as the interior with a unique spaceship style architecture.

 

Oslo feels a tad more traditional, with Victorian red brick style buildings adorning the city. The most special thing about the Norwegian capital is the stunning inner city fjord. For the more active family, this offers up plenty of chances to have a go at kayaking, canoeing, fishing or sailing. For those who fancy a more relaxed pace for their holidays, a fjord beach might be more appealing.

 

If you fancy a more coastal capital, Helsinki might be more up your street. The kids could enjoy the beach, paddling in the sea and having a kickabout in one of the many green spaces throughout the city. The pastel hued buildings are picturesque, and the whole city has a very laid back, and hipster sort of vibe. If you do venture here in the winter, you may find yourself cross-country skiing with the locals when traversing the city. Finland natives commute to work on their skis and will often pick up their salopettes rather than their car keys making this a green, eco-friendly and special metropolis.

 

Forget the sun-filled balmy days reading the latest bestseller by the side of a kidney-shaped pool on a Costa. Instead, opt for something different for your annual vacation, embrace the snow, the ice and the colder conditions and venture a little off the beaten track. If you fancy a winter break for your next family holiday be sure not to overlook the joys of Scandinavia.

 

This is a collaborative post.

5 things for kids to do in Bristol this summer

5 things for kids to do in Bristol this summer

The summer holidays are nigh! And whether the prospect of 6 weeks with the kids at home fills you with dread or excitement (or a strange mix of both), I’m sharing a few suggestions of things for the kiddos to do over the summer, in and around the Bristol area.

1 – Gromit Unleashed 2 Trail

It’s back – the ever-popular Gromit trail! This time with over 60 giant sculptures, designed by high-profile artists, featuring 3 of Nick Park’s characters; Gromit, Wallace and Feathers McGraw.  You’ll explore some of the city’s most iconic locations whilst you seek them all out!

To find out the locations of the sculptures, download the Detect-O-Gromit 2 app or, if you’d prefer, pick up a good ol’ fashioned paper map from the following locations:

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway (in the GU store), Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, M Shed, Tourist Information Centre, Aerospace Bristol and the Gromit Unleashed HQ on Upper Maudlin Street.

Happy searching!

Visit https://www.grandappeal.org.uk/trails-exhibitions/gromit-unleashed/ for more info.

2 – Kids’ Club at Clifton College (for 3-13 Years Old)

This summer, Clifton College in Bristol are hosting their popular kids’ clubs, with a group suitable for all ages between 3-13 years of age. Each club includes a wide variety of activities all with the aim that your children enjoy themselves and learn different skills on the way. The Mini’s Kids’ Club (3-4) focuses on personal development and interaction with others, while the Junior Club (5-7) focuses on encouraging children to pursue their interests and develop their skills through their own choice of activity. The oldest club, the Kids’ Club (8-13) promotes self-expression, confidence building, offering complete flexibility and choice of involvement. Of course, all three groups offer FUN, with activities such as arts and crafts, outdoor play and even afternoon swim sessions (Kids’ Club and Junior’s Club). 

Price for all clubs start from £22 for half a day and £44 for a full day. The Mini’s Club starts from 6 July 2018 while the Kids’ Club and the Junior’s Club starts from 9 July 2018. For more information, please visit www.cliftoncollege.com

3 – Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2018 

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. Made possible last year by Bristol Energy, the Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, there will be a large number of trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

For more information about the Fiesta visit: http://www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk/

4 – Visit Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The cost of days out during the school holidays can soon add up, so why not check out some of Bristol’s free family attractions. Let your littles explore the collections of art, nature and history on display in a beautiful building. Find out about the last billion years of Earth’s history, explore the region’s natural wonders and discover more about peoples’ lives, past and present. You’ll not be disappointed!

For opening times visit: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/opening-times/

5 – Visit Bristol Zoo… at Twilight!

This summer you can experience Bristol Zoo as the sun sets with their Friday Twilights ticket entry (£5 per ticket or £4 for members).

You’ll be able to enjoy the following…

• Live music throughout the evening.

• Exclusive Friday Twilight animal talks.

• Explore the award-winning gardens.

• Enjoy a delicious treat at the immersive restaurant.

• Transform into an animal with our fantastic face painting!

Buy tickets online here: https://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/whats-on/friday-twilights (hurry – they’re selling out fast!)

Jenna xxx

This is a collaborative post.

You don’t need to go far for your first family holiday…

You don’t need to go far for your first family holiday…

Working out the logistics of one family holiday seriously is hard. The more you try and plan it, the more you realise that the list of things that you have to consider just grows and grows. How long will the flight time be? Does the hotel have kids facilities? It’s going to be too hot? Is it going to be too cold? These are all things that you’ll now have to consider, which if we carried on listing, would seem like one big ball of stress. So, how do you think you would go about your first family holiday then? Well, we know you wouldn’t have to go far. In fact, you can have some great family holidays, right from the comfort of our beautiful country. All you need to do is pack a bag, pack the car, and go on a little adventure not too far from where you live. If you want a cracking first family holiday, here are some of the ways that you can make the most of it, without having the leave the country.

 

The Perfect Location

The perfect location does exist in the UK. In fact, there are so many different locations that we would class as perfect, it just depends on what you’re looking for. If we’re talking a family holiday, you need to go somewhere with plenty to do. So your first option is to go to a beach destination, such as the likes of Devon. Devon attracts so many tourists, and not just families either! There are plenty of holiday parks in Devon for you and your family to go, that will cater for a range of different ages in terms of activities. If you want a real family adventure, then you should go for a caravan or camping holiday, rather than sticking to a hotel. Plus, you’ll save a hell of a lot of money doing it this way! If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, you might want a city break. However, it’ll still have to be somewhere with plenty to do for children of all ages, so somewhere like London might be the place for you.

 

Relaxation & Fun

Just because you’re staying in the UK, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a taste of relaxation in the sun, especially with the weather we’re having at the minute! If you want to relax with your family, the best way to do this is to go to the local nature reserve, wherever you may be staying, and go for a picnic. Your children can play, and you can relax in the sun with some lovely food. If you’re looking for fun, you’re definitely going to have to hit a family attraction such as the zoo, or a theme park.

 

Trying Something New

Having a holiday is all about trying something new, and the UK has plenty of that for you. There are destinations in Wales where you can go into caves and do fun underground assault courses, or you might have a go at one of the Go Ape centers. It’s all about giving your children new experiences, without having to pay the prices of a holiday abroad.

So, we hope the destination that you choose is the UK. Besides, with the amazing weather we’re having at the minute, it’ll feel like you’re in the Costa Del Sol anyway!

This is a collaborative post.

How you can get free tea and coffee 

How you can get free tea and coffee 

If there is one thing that we Brits love, it is a cup of tea which we all know makes everything better.  This is why one of the most popular freebies is a free cup of tea or coffee.  This is one of the freebies that people will come back for time and time again.  If the idea of free tea and coffee seems a bit too good to be true, you should consider why a company would offer this to you. 

To Introduce Their Product to You 

Coffee and tea companies want you to try out their products and fall in love with their brand of warm beverage.  They are hoping that if you like the free tea or coffee they offer you, you will come back and buy their product.  This is a good marketing technique because most people will try something if free including samples of tea or coffee.  This offers the business a great method of introducing their products to new customers.   

As there are a lot of different tea companies and coffee shops out there, these companies have to think outside of the box.  Freebies are their way of getting you to try out their brand instead of their competition. Sites like WOW Free Stuff have a free food and drink section you can check to get free tea and coffee. 

To Make You Loyal To Their Shop 

If there is a supermarket which is giving away free tea or coffee, you are going to be more likely to want to do your shopping there.  When tea and coffee are offered as a perk for shopping there, the company is enticing you to want to spend money in their store.  The reason is that they are giving you something extra that you would not get at their competitors.  This means that you should make the most of your grocery shopping and claim a free cup of tea, after all, you deserve it.  

How Can You Get A Free Tea Or Coffee? 

The method of getting your free tea or coffee will vary depending on the place.  However, the most common method is through loyalty cards which you need to sign up for.  Free tea and coffee are on offer by John Lewis, IKEA and Waitrose as part of their membership loyalty bonus.  All you need to do is sign up for their cards and then collect your free tea or coffee when you want.   

 There are other places across the UK where you can get a free hot drink if you do not want to head to the supermarket.  Coffee chains such as Costa and Starbucks as well as certain restaurant chains often announce when they are giving away free drinks.  These announcements will generally be made on their social media pages, so you will have to follow them.  

There are tea companies like Birchall & Redbush and Twinnings that regularly send out free samples.  These samples allow you to test out new flavours before you commit to buying a full pack.   

 Where Can You Get Free Tea Or Coffee Now? 

If you are now ready for your free cup of tea or coffee, you need to know where you can get one.  There are a number of places that are offering free tea and coffee right now. 

 Waitrose 

To get your free hot drink, you will need to sign up to the myWaitrose loyalty scheme.  You will be sent a membership card and then you can start getting your free drinks.  Of course, you will be required to make a purchase in a Waitrose store before you can get your free cup.  However, there is no limit on the value of your purchase.   

When you get your warm drink, you can choose from tea, cappuccino, Americano and latte.  You could even get a hot chocolate if you want.  All you have to do is sign up for the free scheme.  

John Lewis 

The John Lewis freebie offers double the excitement because you get a free hot drink as well as a free slice of cake.  To get this, you will need to register to the My John Lewis membership programme.  You will then receive a voucher at least 3 times each year for a free hot drink and slice of cake from the John Lewis cafe.   

The John Lewis reward programme also helps you make the most of your time spent there as you collect points as well.  As you collect, you will also gain rewards and unexpected treats.  The John Lewis card will be sent to you within 2 weeks of signing up.   

IKEA 

IKEA is a family favourite store and they have joined in with the hot drink freebie fun.  If you are a member of the IKEA Family programme, you will be able to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee anytime you visit the store, but only during the week.  This is ideal because we all know how stressful a trip to IKEA can be.   

A free cup of tea is the perfect end to your IKEA shopping trip, but this is not all that the scheme has to offer.  IKEA Family members also get other extra benefits such as discounted rates on products, free product insurance and an extra 10% off all of the sale items.  These are not bad benefits for a loyalty programme that is free to join.   

PAUL 

When you sign up for the PAUL loyalty card, you will be getting some good freebies.  You will be able to claim a large coffee, a hot chocolate or tea and a pain au chocolate or croissant for free.  All you have to do is pick up a loyalty card and register online.   

If you have never visited Paul for breakfast, you are in for a treat.  You will be able to kick-start your day in the best way possible with an amazing Parisian Breakfast for free when you visit any PAUL store before noon.   

Greggs 

Greggs is everyone’s favourite snack shop on the high street and is also a great place to get a free hot drink.  All you need to do is sign up to the Greggs Rewards App and get your free welcome hot drink.   

The Greggs app is very user-friendly so anyone will be able to claim their free drink.  You will need to download the app and register your account.  You should then swipe through to the rewards section and find your free drink offer.   

Booths 

If you live in the North-West of the country, you can get a free regular hot drink at Booths.  This will be the perfect post-shopping refreshment for people.  All you need to do is sign up to their loyalty programme.  

The programme also allows you to keep track of you’re shopping with electronic receipts, you can enjoy a discounted Afternoon Tea for Two as well as weekend newspaper discounts.  All you need to do is pick up your free temporary card in store to get started.   

Benugo 

If you are in London, you can claim a free coffee from Benugo by signing up for their newsletter.  Benugo has cafes and restaurants in some of the most beautiful spots in the capital.  So why not sign up to the newsletter the next time you head to the city.   

 It is important to note that the free coffee voucher you get is only valid for a month from the date applied.  This means that you need to plan when you get the voucher to ensure that you get your free drink.  

Costa 

 If you are a Three customer, you will already know about the great freebies and benefits you get with the reward app Wuntu.  Wuntu will often team up with Costa to offer free hot drinks to users.  This means you need to keep an eye on the app.  

Cafe Nero  

O2 Priority customers know that Tuesday is a good day.  If you are an O2 customer, you can get a free drink from Cafe Nero every Tuesday.  You will also be able to collect loyalty Nero stamps at the same time. 

This is a collaborative post.

Tips for building an outbuilding in your garden

Tips for building an outbuilding in your garden

If you’re looking for a way to increase the value of your home, your garden is a gold mine. If you’re looking for a place to escape from the family, food missiles being thrown by toddlers, and an incessant noise that you’re convinced is giving you tinnitus, your garden is a gold mine! We all need time to escape from the hub of the home, and an outbuilding is the perfect solution. Not only is it an extra room for your house, but it’s can look stylish for a relatively low cost. But, what do you need to consider when building an outbuilding?

Is It Going To Have Multiple Uses?

The possibilities of an outbuilding are endless, from an entertainment room to a gym, to a place to store all of your garden tools. If it’s going to have multiple users, you need to consider the materials for the building. If it’s going to double up as an art studio, while also a place to store plants in the winter, is it going to be warm enough or cool enough for the purposes? You need to think about the overall practicalities and factor these in when creating a budget for the outbuilding. The floor materials, as well as the internal walls, need to be practical enough, and so if you are working out the polished concrete floor cost, in relation to the interior and exterior walls, but you don’t have enough in your budget, it’s important to go back to the purpose of the building. Because if you want it to be an extra room, but it’s completely uninhabitable in the winter, you’re not going to get much use out of it, and therefore it’s a waste of money.

Does It Need Planning Permission?

This is when it gets into many technicalities. The bottom line is that if you are hoping to make it an extra room used for the purposes of getting five minutes away from everyone, rather than it being an extra bathroom, kitchen, or any other type of accommodation, you don’t need to acquire planning permission. If the outbuilding is within the Permitted Development Rights, you don’t need to get planning permission.

Other Concerns

If you live in a terraced house, you need to consider if building an outbuilding will prove to be annoying for your neighbours. This goes back to the purpose of it, but also, if you plan on setting up the building close to one of the neighbour’s walls, is this going to cause strife further down the line? If it’s a place for the kids to go and play, you need to think about the noise levels. It’s worth bearing all these in mind.

An outbuilding is a great idea to get an extra room, especially if you are all sandwiched together, but there are many things for you to consider. It can be a great place to go and escape to, but if it’s not practical enough, especially when the weather gets cold, are you going to be using it much? In which case, aren’t you just better hiding from everyone in the toilet?

This is a collaborative post.