Carnival Cruise Lines funnest family 2…the one with the waterslides

IMG_0417Food, fun, sport and sea air! Last year we were selected to go on two cruises with Carnival Cruise Lines, and be their funnest family. We had so much fun on board Carnival Sunshine in October, enjoying the ship, the destinations and working with the film crew, and there are now five short films about cruising as a family, featuring us. The days at sea were brilliant fun, and hey I still got the netball skills look…

Film One is here and Film Three, Film Four and Film Five coming soon.

There’s a behind the scenes post of the day the film crew appeared. I’ve answered all the questions I was asked about cruises as a family here. Read more about our adventures in Venice and the sailaway party or have a look through our photo album.

I’m feeling so nostalgic looking back, it really was the trip of a lifetime, but not long until we sail on the incredible Carnival Breeze in the Caribbean.

Tenerife Best Things to do – Five Suprises

284b681d3be74d88907aa27f24ea4ad4teideaereag93.jpg

Have you been to Tenerife? The last time I went to Tenerife I don’t think I did it justice. As a burnt out and pregnant teacher, I was thoroughly uninspired to do very much in the glorious tropical heat and spent a lot of time enjoying a sun lounger by our apartment.

Having won some travel vouchers recently I am looking at resort holidays again and with guaranteed year round sunshine, and flights available from our nearest airport, East Midlands, I thought it deserved a second chance.

The trick I think with Tenerife is to look beyond the obvious. So here is my Tenerife best things to do guide, with some cool surprises for all the family. Continue reading

Carnival Cruise Lines Funnest Family episode one..the one where we sailaway!

DSC_0588Last year we were selected to go on two cruises with Carnival Cruise Lines, and be their funnest family. We had so much fun on board Carnival Sunshine in October, enjoying the ship, the destinations and working with the film crew, and there are now five short films about cruising as a family, featuring us. Here’s the one where we tell the kids, pack and see Carnival Sunshine for the first time….

There’s a behind the scenes post of the day the film crew appeared. I’ve answered all the questions I was asked about cruises as a family here. Read more about our adventures in Venice and the sailaway party or have a look through our photo album.

More films coming out over the next 3 weeks…Film Two here, Film Three, Film Four and Film Five.

I’m feeling so nostalgic looking back, it really was the trip of a lifetime, but not long until we sail on the incredible Carnival Breeze in the Caribbean.

The Evolution of The Great British Holiday

Center Parcs

Center Parcs by wadgey, on Flickr

Guest post by Simon Jarratt

Many of the world’s greatest cultural inventions over time have heralded from inventors in the UK: holidays, football, golf, train travel. The list goes on. However, it is the first on the list that interests me most. If I think back, I would probably cite the reason for my passion for travel to an old friend who lived on Thomas Cook Close in Melbourne, Derbyshire (Melbourne was Thomas Cook’s birth place). I remember my dad picking me up and asking if I knew who Thomas Cook was, and when I didn’t, he filled me in. Continue reading

Home Fantasy Giveaway CLOSED: How would you spend a £150 Home furnishing voucher from Wayfair?

wayfair bathroom ideasI am really excited to be partnering with the home site Wayfair today, to offer A residence readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on home furnishings at Wayfair. Wayfair is the online site with ‘zillions of things for the home’, they carry over 11,000 brands giving you easy access to the world’s home items in one location. Continue reading

From here to Infinity – Hi-Tec help me get through Sport Relief

DSC03075If I am honest I have spent a large proportion of 2014 sitting in front of my computer on facebook with hundreds of notifications from 38 team honk groups around the country. But on Sunday that changed. On Sunday we could finally see that the Team Honk Lands End to John O Groats relay we’d dreamt about for Sport Relief was going to happen. So I closed my laptop, picked up my new Hi-Tec Infinity trainers and I went for a run. It felt amazing. Continue reading

Leappad Ultra reviewed

image

Seven year old Miss L was lucky enough to get a Leappad Ultra to try out this Christmas. I will admit I was dubious about them. Many people had said to me, just buy a tablet. But saying that I think there are problems with giving kids tablets too.  I have friends who rave about the Leappad, particularly those who are  less tech-savvy themselves. So if you are thinking about investing here are the pros and cons as I see them: Continue reading

How do I get my kids to ride a bike?

c.1983/4

I am 5…6…maybe 7 years old. I am wobbling down one side of the cul-de-sac on my second hand red bike. Dad is holding tight to the back, running along with me. I am calling out to him.

‘You’re doing it!’ he calls. I notice his voice sounds further and further away.

‘Noooooo!’ I call, ‘waghhhhhhh! you let go!’

But I keep pedalling and I realise… I am a cyclist!

It all seems simple in my memory. Learning to ride a bike. Hmmm, fast forward to 2014 Continue reading

House Fantasy: A wood burning stove

stove

Credit – The Stove Store

So I am back at my desk after the Winter festivities and my inbox is full of emails, mainly of links to ideas from Mr A about the dream home we are going to build one day. We’re a way off being in the position to do it, but he reckons if we start dreaming up plans, maybe even starting a joint blog about our journey, then it will happen.

Much as I love the idea of the suggestions he sent me today – a secret room, a book den under the stairs and a hammock mezzanine – in my current draughty, rough round the edges, but much loved home, I would really just like a wood burning stove, as would Max the greyhound.  Continue reading

Eat your heart out Tony Hawk, Mister G cracks the Yvolution YFliker

When it arrived at Christmas he gave it a whirl, he was suspicious, nervous. He wasn’t sure. Then he left his older scooter lying around and it was stolen and he was forced to take the YFliker by the handles.

He hasn’t looked back.

He thinks the YFliker is

‘Pretty awesome…you can twirl it around, and then you head for a puddle and you don’t get your shoes wet, because it is big. It makes me feel good. My friends think it is good. When you go superfast in circles and then hit the brake, then you go up.

 

It’s like a car but it’s littler. And when you are going to school on it, you get to zoom, then when you need to turn back and wait for you Mum you can turn round.

 

And then if you see a crook you can punch him on the head and keep going.’

The YFliker from Yvolution was sent for us to review late last year. I wasn’t asked to do a second post, but I was so pleased it was such a hit I wanted to.

Love Penny

Rate the Date – Mr and Mrs A Go Ape

We might be smiling, but we have no real idea what we are getting into at this point, except for a harness. When I suggested a day off without the kids at Go Ape, I was thinking it would be a great way to mark my new found freedoms, now they are both at school, as the day looms I am less sure.

Our Go Ape instructor at Sherwood Pines, Nottingham is John, he is brilliant, he’s a TV stunt man. He tells us about his work, on Casualty, The Bill,  Inspector Morse to name a few. Part of a stunt man’s job is to test whether stunts can be performed by actors and what safety gear is needed, so we immediately feel like we are in really safe hands. John’s also very at home in nature and really helps us to distract us from our fears so we can appreciate our time in the forest.

It is a long way down, but climbing those rope ladders is by far the worse bit. 

Once you are in the trees, you have the routine of clipping and unclipping your safety cables to keep you grounded in the now and stop your mind worrying.

Once you learn to trust the harness to hold you, you can relax and enjoy. Mr A is heading for the bit where you jump off and rope swing into a net.

The view is amazing, I can only explain it as feeling a bit like a squirrel or monkey might feel. Or like Jane in Tarzan?.

The course really helps to build your confidence. We really look forward to the zip wire at the end of each of the six sections, some of them are really long and the feeling of whizzing through the forest is amazing. Here comes Tarzan.

Mr A is less keen than me on heights, but he is quicker to pick up how the course works and takes it all massively in his stride. He gets to go first on the adrenalin junkie bit, jumping from the apple picking tower, the second highest point in the course, on a rope swing. Except this time there is a bit of a drop before your harness registers, so it feels a lot like you are free falling. Like when squirrels do this:

This doesn’t capture half of the feeling….

I clip myself to the rope swing and call down to John to give me my instructions without even looking down. It is scary, but also a huge adrenalin rush as you hit the net.

With that out the way, we’re feeling quite euphoric, it is back to enjoying our time in the forest, John convinces me to try the tightrope hands free, just for a little bit. I really enjoy swinging through the trees, it is a really liberating feeling.

You can see the satisfaction at completing the course right there in our faces!

Then it is off to the pub for lunch before school pick up.

Rate the date

Mr A said: I give it an 7.5/10 – She definitely took me out of my comfort zone or this would have been higher, we got on well and I hope to see her again, though this time it’ll be my turn to choose where we go!

Mrs A said: I give it an 9 out of 10. It was great to have a date that took us into the outdoors and to face a new challenge. He was brave, if he was out of his comfort zone he hid it well. I just hope he doesn’t expect me to do anything too scary for the next date, I’m worried John gave him some ideas.

Disclosure – the tickets were a gift for writing a post about Go Ape earlier this year.