Springtime in Edinburgh

February 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Edinburgh and its surrounding area really bloom in the springtime. The city plays host to several festivals and the surrounding countryside comes to life with crops, flowers and animals, making the spring months an exciting time to visit. The city itself is particularly beautiful at this time of year as it fills with flowers. Cherry blossoms in the Meadows fill the air with their sweet unmistakeable scent, daffodils lead the way up to the castle and crocuses, snowdrops and tulips poke their heads above ground, brightening up the city and transforming it into a colourful springtime wonderland.

Edinburgh’s beach, Portobello, starts getting busier at this time of year too with people hitting the promenade to enjoy a spring walk, fish and chips and an ice cream or two. The walks along the Water of Leith walkway become even more popular as people visit the attractions like the National Gallery of Modern Art or the Botanical Gardens along the way, perhaps stopping at one of the pubs on the shore to enjoy a pub lunch before continuing along the walkway, discovering some of Leith’s pretty hidden gardens.

If you fancy a springtime trip to this fine Scottish city, here are some ‘must see’s’ to add to your itinerary:

Visit the Farmer’s Market

You won’t get food fresher than at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market. Held every Saturday from 9am until 2pm on the Castle Terrace, it’s not to be missed during a trip to Edinburgh, especially in spring when the produce is so varied. Over 55 local producers can be found at the market and you’ll find the perfect ingredients for a leisurely picnic at the Meadows right here. One such producer is Bakery Andante, the makers of fine artisan breads and sandwiches, just perfect to pop in your picnic basket. You’ll also find pies, soups, handmade chocolates, delicious cakes and pastries, olives, chilli jams and chutneys and even some locally produced fruit juices and wines.

Beltane Fire Festival

Marking the beginning of summer, this ancient Gaelic festival was brought back to life in the 80’s and has gained huge popularity since. Join hundreds of other festival goers up on Carlton Hill as you watch the May Queen and the Green Man welcome summer as they light the huge bonfire. With over 300 performers, a huge procession which starts at the National Monument, a stage performance, dancing, drinking and feasting, it’s a wonderful evening to be a part of. You’ll even get to watch the handfasting ceremonies of members of the Beltane Fire Festival Society who want to take that step in their relationship. A truly unique and memorable celebration which says goodbye to spring and welcomes in the summer.

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, with so many attractions and activities to enjoy during spring, or any time of year – you certainly won’t regret taking a holiday here. Book into one of the centrally located and great value Travelodge hotels in Edinburgh and enjoy spending a few days enjoying all that it has to offer. From the unusual festivals to the stunning parks and open spaces, along with the fascinating history and architecture of the city, you won’t be disappointed.

Rest and Relaxation in Tenerife

July 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Tenerife might be renowned for its party vibe and full-on nightlife, but not every visitor to this sun-drenched Canary Island is here to party the night away. If you’re after a bit of rest and relaxation on your next trip to Tenerife, check out some of these R&R gems…

Playa san Juan
The lovely little town of Playa san Juan is a laid-back gem in Guía de Isora, on Tenerife’s south west coast. Life is all about taking it easy here, and you can kick back and watch the fishing boats chugging to and fro, hauling in the day’s catch.

Golf del Sur
Even if you’re not into golf, the upmarket resort of Golf del Sur is a great place to kick back and relax. There’s not much of a resort; instead it’s all about the hotels, the views, and the laid-back lifestyle. There is a great choice of swish hotels and apartments here, and if you are into golf, then you’ll be in your element.

Puerto de Santiago
Renowned for its natural beauty, this coastal hotspot is nestled between the resorts of Los Gigantes and Playa de la Arena. The resort has a cluster of volcanic sandy beaches while its neighbours have wider stretches of sand, and you’ve also got the fabulous cliffs of Los Gigantes nearby.

Playa Paraiso
The lovely town of Playa Paraiso is a quiet affair with a small beach and a fantastic saltwater lido, which is really the star of the show. Here you can sit back and enjoy some quality sunbathing, or head off to the nearby resort of Playa de las Americas for a spot of shopping.

According to Tenerife.com Hotels, the island is home to a number of popular resorts and it’s packed with accommodation to suit virtually every taste and budget imaginable. From low-cost apartments and hotels to swish spa resorts and villas, there is plenty of choice for holidaymakers from all walks of life. Which Tenerife resort gets your vote?

Understanding Sun Protection this Summer

July 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

There’s nothing more important to consider as part of your stint this summer, than sun protection. What’s the point in booking Neilson active holidays to spend time outdoors if you don’t protect your skin and end up spending the duration of your so-called holiday laying in a tepid bath suffering from heatstroke?

Let’s not forget the long term damage that you could be causing to your skin if you choose not to protect yourself. Even when there’s considerable cloud cover in the sky, you still run the risk of burning which will just put a dampener on your vacation. Being sensible abroad doesn’t mean being boring. Brush up on your sun protection knowledge and take the necessary steps to keeping you and your family safe, this summer.

A bottle of suncream is an absolute essential addition to your suitcase. If you’re travelling with children, specific child-friendly creams that provide higher SPF are also recommended. Make sure you take into account any sensitivity that may exist – children are particularly susceptible to skin sensitivity and may suffer from prickly heat if certain creams are used. Test the lotion on a smaller area prior to your holiday, just in case.

Pack sunhats and sleeved tops to protect the head and shoulders from the heat. Cover up when in the sun and retreat to the shade when it’s at its highest (i.e. during the mid-afternoon).Apply suncream 15minutes before you head outside and reapply at regular intervals (typically every two hours), particularly when you’ve been in the pool or have taken part in any of the watersports activities on offer.

Encourage children to take an active role in learning the importance of sun protection. Teach them how to apply it and what parts of the body are commonly missed (such as the ears, knees and feet).
Sun protection is vital and will help to prevent against skin cancers in later life. Enjoy Neilson active holidays this summer, safely.

>Sleepless Night<

June 22, 2013 at 12:17 am

I’d been having sleepless night, I’m not sure if it’s caused by the pressure of getting a professional certification, from work load, or just because I don’t have a good pillow to rest on.

When it’s time to sleep, I can’t sleep, when it’s time to wake up, I feel sleepy.

I probably should invest in a good neck pillow to at least relieve this problem a bit. You have any good one to recommend?

>Saxophone<

June 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Besides guitar, another thing that Zaria said she would like to learn is the saxophone. Of all instrument a saxophone?

Maybe it’s the gold and shine of a bari sax that attracted her, or else I can’t see why she would prefer this instrument over a piano. Moreover, there aren’t so many female saxophonist out there.

Nope, at this point in time, I’m still sticking to piano for them.

>Toolbox content<

June 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm

When the hubs does his DIY stuff at home, the girls like to crowd around his tool box to check out the different tools and items he has there, e.g. different screw drivers, pliers, threaded standoffs, screws of different shapes and sizes, allen keys etc.

I’m glad the girls get exposed to these things too and not just the girlie stuff I can share with them.

Clubbing in Faliraki: The Lowdown

April 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm

It’s loud, it’s proud, it’s Rhodes’ answer to the craziest of clubbing destinations, it’s Faliraki.

Faliraki is the Nicki Minaj of the party rocking world stage. There’s no time for anything a little bit low key. Faliraki is unapologetic, its events are epic, and the weather is just another lovely little perk.

Whenever you travel from May onwards, Rhodes is gonna ensure that you’re bathing on the blue flag Faliraki beach in 30 degree C heats. Thanks to its nifty location on the cusp of the Med and the Aegean Sea, the east coast of the island is absolutely scorching.

And when we say hot, we’re talking FHM and Cosmo Top 10 hot – pack your beach binoculars.
Whether you’re a 24/7 party person, or you prefer to chill in the day in preparation for some massively messy nights on the town, Faliraki is happy to oblige.

Right through from Monday to Sunday, there’s a real weekend vibe in the air in Faliraki. The feel good factor is brimming from the beach to the bars, and everyone’s around for the same reason – to let their hair down and do Faliraki like the sun ain’t gonna rise.

UV and Foam parties, silent arenas, and skool discos – book with a reputable clubbing holiday company and you are in for some seriously sensational shenanigans.

Get on board with the reps and be guided round not one, but two strips. Just in case, you know, one wasn’t enough. Bars such as KGB, Climax and Tropical are where debauchery goes down.

You’ve not done mentally messy until you’ve done Faliraki. It might be the liveliest and loudest of the Euro clubbing scenes, but that’s why we love it, and it’s also why thousands of diehard disco freaks flock back year after year.

Exotic Getaways

March 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Planning a holiday somewhere exotic this year or next? Whatever you fancy, there’s a magical array of destinations on offer to some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locations. And what’s more, you can visit many of these gorgeous gems through a package holiday tour operator, which helps to make things that little bit easier.

There’s the dreamy shores of Thailand, magical Mauritius, and glorious Goa – a place that epitomises paradise. Located on the west coast of India, this glorious corner of the world is home to lush green jungles and a fabulous coastline. Florida is another exotic gem and, away from the hubbub of the theme parks and rollercoasters, a visit to the dreamy Florida Keys is an absolute must. Here you can paddle around tiny islands to your heart’s content, bathe in bath-warm waters or enjoy a refreshing sundowner in chic Miami.

Then there’s the heavenly desert-island style beaches of the Maldives, which are like a lost paradise. Here you can sink your toes into powder-soft sands, sit back under the shade of a gently swaying palm, or dip beneath the sparkling surface of the Indian Ocean to explore a magnificent underwater world that’s teeming with marinelife.

Whatever you fancy, paradise doesn’t have to cost the earth. You can find cheap Goa holidays and affordable trips to Florida by scouring the deals online, and searching for last-minute departures. If you look for holidays departing within the next few weeks you’ll find that many packages have had their prices slashed and, while you might not find anything quite as cheap as a budget trip to Benidorm, you can often find some good deals that helps to make things that little bit more affordable.

And what’s more, any saving you make can be put on one side to enjoy when you get there, giving you more to spend on day trips, excursions, or perhaps on those exotic Miami cocktails…

Top Tips for Grabbing a Last Minute Deal

February 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

In the cruise industry, ‘last minute’ generally refers to snapping up a deal for a departing cruise that
sets sail between several days and a couple of months in the future, giving excited adventurers the
element of spontaneity and the chance to head out onto the ocean waves without so much as a
second thought.

With the magic of the Internet providing a plethora of offers, including the luxurious decks of Grandeur
of the Seas
and many other Royal Caribbean cruises, at your fingertips, 2013 is a perfect time to be a
little spontanious and go for it.

Last Minute

Keep an eye out for sailings heading out to sea between 60 and 90 days in the future, because this is
usually the timeframe that passengers having already booked, can cancel without charges.

Be aware that chances of a peak time last minute deal at rock-bottom prices is fairly unheard of. Be
prepared to sail out of season to realise the best possible savings. There’s no need to worry about a
less than perfect trip as out of season for some destinations can still mean a fantastic climate and jam
packed itineraries – just do some research online.

Repositioning Cruises

Look out for repositioning cruises which can sometimes offer some fantastic bargains because of their
very nature. These can often mean a longer sail, sometimes across whole oceans, to get to their new
homeports. Weigh the cost of the ticket up against the airfare home and you could walk away with a
superb deal.

Accomodation Flexibility

Be as flexible as you can. You may not be able to get a premium cabin type on a cheap, last minute
deal, but should weigh up the discounts on offer for the less desirable accommodation – inside berths
or obstructed views for example. Read the small print fof every offer you see, so that you know
exactly what to expect and are aware of any hidden charges that may exist.

Most of all, be spontaneous and you could have the experience of a lifetime for less with a Royal
Caribbean cruise.

Growing Up Milk – Do You Really Need The Extra Sugar?

June 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm

After realizing the sugar content in the girls’ growing up milk, I was really looking into switching the girls’ milk.

I started doing research on the web.

There is a lot of information on the web about sugars in children’s growing up milk from various milk companies. Most have stated their reasons on why sugars are added. I.e.
1) Children need carbo because carbo generates energy which is required for their rapid growth
2) Sugar is added for taste and what’s added by milk companies is compliance with Malaysia’s Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation
3) Added sugars are from natural plant sugars
4) High lactose is not well tolerated by Malaysian children, therefore natural sugar is added instead of lactose

However, these are my thoughts :
1) Sugars are sugars, natural plant sugar, natural sugar, they are basically the same. If I want the girls to have natural plant sugar, I would give them watermelon (a fruit which has the highest natural sugar) for example, and not what is added to their milk for whatever reasons. And to be honest, I won’t give them watermelon every day, because of its sugar content, so why would I want to feed my children milk added with sugar every day, three times a day?

2) I don’t want the girls to develop a sweet tooth. I’d tried a few brands of growing up milk, IT IS very sweet, overly sweet for my liking.

3) I read on the net and also was told by a dietician, and got this – Under Malaysian food labelling regulations, the ‘carbohydrate per serve’ number in the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) on growing up milk is only made up of two things:
a. Lactose which is sugar naturally present in the milk. The natural lactose level in a glass of standard milk is approximately 9g-13g per serve (200ml).
b. Sugars that are added to the milk powder. Anything higher than 9g-13g for ‘carbohydrate per serve’ in growing up milk is equal to added sugars

So as parents, we have to make informed decision about getting what growing up milk for the kids.
1) Check your child’s growing up milk powder pack/tin – look only at 2 things.
a. The ingredient list – corn syrup solids, sucrose, glucose syrup solids, these are all added sugars.
b. The carbohydrate per serve in the NPI – remember, anything above 11g-12g per serve (the lactose present in milk) is added sugars

2) Taste the milk. I do that often when I want to introduce a new brand to my girls. If I find it too sweet or too artificial tasting (some milk tastes like plastic!), I won’t consider.

3) Talk to people (other parents, your paed etc), do your own research and find out more.

For now, while still hunting for the right milk, Zara, being almost 7, has stopped drinking growing up milk but is on fresh milk now; as for Zaria, because she’s still not 5, she’s still taking her growing up milk. As fresh milk lacks the added nutrient, we are supplementing Zara with multivits.

Once we’d found the right growing up milk, both girls will be switched to that.

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