Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Family Holiday at Aska Lara Resort & Spa, Turkey

In August we set off on our annual holiday abroad to the Aska Lara Resort & Spa in Turkey, which is situated at Lara Beach.  The journey from the airport in Antalya takes around 30 minutes and the flight from Manchester took around 4 hours 30mins, so there are no long transfers once you arrive.

Check Inn
Check in at Reception was quick, no standing around waiting, as staff provided you with seating in the Lobby area whilst they arranged room keys, towel keys and information guides.  The bellboys meanwhile took care of your luggage as soon as the coach arrived, delivering it to your room.  The Lobby area is large with a big gazebo in the centre and glass lifts running up either side, Gee loved this feature and could quite happily have spent part of the day going up and down.

There are different rooms available at Aska Lara Resort & Spa, all offering luxury facilities.  Our room was on the 7th floor with views over the pool, towards the sea in the background.  I cannot fault the room we were provided.  In the room was a large king size bed, a good size sofa bed, TV (with limited English channels, drink making facilities, fridge (stocked daily with drinks and beer), good storage space and wardrobes which contained the safe.  The bathroom was well equipped with toiletries, a large walk in rainfall shower, toilet, slippers, robes and good quality towels.  The added touch of fresh flowers was really nice. We loved how comfortable it was and especially liked the dressing area which was off the main room.

Hotel Pool
The hotel pool is a lot quieter than the water park and can make a refreshing change.  Ice creams are available daily from the ice cream hut in the middle, these are named ice creams which we all enjoyed.

We travelled on an all inclusive basis and ate at nearly all of the available restaurants.  In a morning we ate mainly in the Anka restaurant which is situated in the main hotel and is self service.  The Anka restaurant provided a huge selection of good quality food which is freshly prepared, I must say Gee was in her element with the desserts, they looked too good to eat, alongside a huge variety of hot and colds meals.  Tip: If you walk straight through the restaurant and go outside there is an extra cook station where you can have an omelette/meat cooked to your liking.  Also in the main hotel is the Brasserie which is lovely for coffee and cake and the Aska Chef snack restaurant which is by the pool, table service is provided at the snack restaurant.

A la Carte
For an addition cost (6 euros per adult) you can eat at one of the 4 A La Carte restaurants.  Mozaik (Turkish), La Perla (Italian), Mandarin (oriental) and Missina (Fish).  We ate at the Turkish, Italian and mandarin restaurants where the food was really delicious as you can see from the photographs.  The A la Carte restaurants can be booked through guest services in the lobby.

Wet n Wild Water Park
A child's dream with waterslides, pools, waterpark, zip line, kids club and daily entertainment.  The Water Park is a 5 minute walk from the hotel or can be reached by the shuttle buses provided, this never proved a problem for us and we never waited more than 5 minutes for a shuttle.  Gee went to Kids Club a couple of times and was taken on payable trips horse riding and on the banana boats.  Gee also did a free scuba diving lesson whilst in the Wet n Wild park.  There are two restaurants/snack bars on site which offer limited food choice but this is good quality.  Evening entertainment is at Wet n Wild and I must say the magician's show was amazing, Gee also loved the performing dogs.

At the end of the Wet N Wild Park is the private beach.  For us, this was a life saver after spending a few days in Wet n Wild, it was nice to enjoy some quiet time away from all the activity.  Sunbeds are plentiful and the beach and sea are beautiful, warning please ensure you wear shoes to walk down to the sea, the sand is very hot.  Also on the beach are Cabanas which you can hire at around 50 euros for the day.  The Cabanas have butler service and throughout the day you are provided with a hamper of drinks, pastries and melon, I would definitely recommend hiring a Cabana at least once on your stay.  Also at the beach is a pier with sunbeds and whilst we did not use this, the beds looked extremely comfortable.

All the staff that I came in to contact with were polite, helpful and prepared to go that extra mile to help ensure we had a fabulous holiday.  Gee lost her much loved cuddly spotty dog whilst we were there and she was devastated,  I visited guest relations and within 1 hour they had found the cuddly in the water park and brought it back to the hotel.  This was such a huge relief and I could not thank the staff enough.  The room cleaners did an amazing job everyday ensuring the rooms were spotless and although some had limited English, I could always make my thoughts known.

We had an amazing two weeks at Aska Lara Resort & Spa and will definitely be visiting again in the future.  Thank you to everyone for helping us to make fabulous memories.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

My Sunday Photo 25th September 2016

I can't believe I will be 4 days post operative when this post is live and hopefully be feeling a little brighter.  This photo was taken last Sunday morning whilst strolling with the dog and I just loved the atmosphere and colour.


Friday, 23 September 2016

5 Films for Kids to Watch this Autumn

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

1. Storks
Have you had “the talk” with your kids yet? Or do they still think babies are brought to parents all over the world by storks? The latest Warner Bros. animation takes a classic story and throws it into the real, modern world. Storks no longer deliver babies – now they deliver packages. That is, until Junior (Samberg) accidentally turns on the Baby Making Machine and creates an adorable, but unauthorised, baby girl. Then it’s a race against time to deliver the baby to welcoming parents before his boss gets wind of this major blunder.

Voices include Andy Samberg and Jennifer Anniston who are always great fun and Storks is sure to be hilarious for kids, old and young.

In cinemas 14th October 2016

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
This is an upcoming dark fantasy adventure directed by the one and only Tim Burton. It follows the story of Jake Portman and the strange things that occur to him after the tragic death of his beloved grandfather. He has always believed his grandfather’s stories to be fairy tales, but what if they were actually real? After travelling to Wales to find out more about his grandfather’s childhood, Jake finds himself in a different world where the children are really quite peculiar.

In cinemas 30th September 2016

3. Trolls
Did you collect those tiny little troll figurines with colourful hair when you were younger? They are less popular with kids of this generation so they probably won’t recognise these characters but this’ll be a fun film all the same. This is the story of a grumpy troll named Branch (Timberlake), who teams up with the excitable Poppy, on a quest to save all the Trolls from the threat of the Bergens.

This film comes from the makers of Shrek and voices include Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick so it’s sure to be a good one!

In cinemas 21st October 2016

4. Queen of Katwe
Queen of Katwe is a biographical drama brought to the big screen by Disney. This film follows the story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy. She goes on to become a World Candidate Master after an incredible performance at the World Chess Olympiads. This is the inspirational story of a girl who goes from selling corn on the streets to achieving her dreams of being a chess champion. This one will definitely leave your hearts feeling full and full of determination to fight for your dreams.

In cinemas 21st October 2016

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Lastly, but by no means least, we have the film adaption of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Although the book does not take the form of a narrative, they have concocted a story around the magical creatures from the Potter world to make this film. With Eddie Redmayne at the helm, this film will no doubt be a winner, full of mystic and wonder that will stun the kids (and adults!).

The only downside is this film is set in New York, which seems a little silly given Harry Potter’s British roots, but it’s still sure to impress. Not one to miss if you and your kids consider yourselves Potterheads.

In cinemas 18th November 2016

Guest post by Laura Hartley
Book, film and lifestyle blogger at What’s Hot?

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Laura for helping me out during my stay in hospital, it is a great informative post.  You can follow Laura on the social media sites below.

Blog: www.whats--hot.net
Twitter: www.twitter.com/whatshotblog
Facebook: www.facebook.com/whatshotblog
Instagram: www.instagram.com/whatshotblog

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Bakewell Pudding #GBBOBloggers2016 - Week 5

This week is Pastry week in the Great British Bake Off and there is one dish I have always wanted to try and recreate, the Bakewell Pudding (not tart). When I first left school I worked at the bakers that made the original Bakewell Pudding and I just adored the smell when they came out of the oven. This was an easy choice but I had no idea how it would turn out.  Also I had to bake this well in advance of the screening, as when it is aired on Wednesday, I will still be in recovery from spinal surgery and therefore won't have seen the show.

Rough Puff Pastry
250g plain flour
250g butter
1tsp salt
150ml cold water

Pudding Filling
120g butter
120g caster sugar
55g ground almonds
2 eggs
3 extra egg yolks
2tbsp strawberry jam

1.  To make the pastry sift the flour and salt together then rub the butter loosely into the flour, you need to be able to see the bits of butter in the flour.
2.  Mix with the cold water until you have a dough and leave to rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
3.  Roll the dough into a rectangle only rolling in one direction.  Fold the sheet, top in to middle and bottom into middle and roll out again, turning a quarter turn before rolling.
4.  Leave the dough to rest for another 30 minutes before you line your pudding dish.
5.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
6.  Grease an 8 inch pudding basin and line it with your dough.
7.  Put the strawberry jam in the dough base and spread evenly.
8.  For the filling melt the butter in a pan.
9.  I used the Nutri Ninja to blend the eggs and egg yolks together and then added the melted butter, caster sugar and ground almonds.
10.  Pour the liquid (which is like a batter) over the jam.
11.  Cook for around 40 minutes on the middle shelf.
12.  Leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

If you would like to join in with the Great British Bake Off you can find more information over at Mummy Mishaps.

Mummy Mishaps

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What This Photo Means to Me - Guest Post

Today I have an inspirational post for you from Amy at Purely Amy on what this photo means to her. 

We take things for granted, that's for certain.

Life especially, I think we get to a point in life where we start to regret things we haven't done or achieved. Not my nan, she's a power-house. She's never really spoken about her life, not naming her achievements but she shows her love of her family and I think that's a huge achievement for her. She has never taken anything in her life for granted, making sure every moment she spends with me and my siblings was the best time. Filling it full of memories.

I have definitely been taking things for granted. The worst thing for me right now is taking my Nan for granted, since she's been so amazing with sharing her life with me, I really don't think I've done enough in the past years to do the same for her. She's in her late 80's now and has just recently (the past 5 months or so) been suffering with the symptoms of Alzheimers. It's only just hitting home that we're losing her but I don't think I'll get into that just yet, maybe another time, on my blog. It's only now that we, or at least I, have started understanding that she won't be herself anymore.

We're already losing her, day by day and I think it's this picture in particular that reminds me of everything we've ever done together, who she is, or was, as a person. As my Nan.

This picture means the world to me. In conversation about grandparents or even just thinking about her in day-to-day life. I don't think of her face, I think of this picture.

She's with my dad her, it looks like a deep conversation but knowing them both you can see what she's hiding. She has this look on her face, as though she's hiding a smile. It could be the most serious conversation in the world but if there are kids around she'll pull faces and make everyone feel involved. Sometimes just for her own amusement!

That's her to a Tee, she's a very strong woman is my nan. Very prim and proper, she should've been a teacher. She would keep us in a routine, enforce cleaning and house hold rules, but we never felt unhappy. Everything was fun when we were growing up. She was an absolute riot when she was with family or at home, honestly the most entertaining and energetic 60-88-year-old you will ever meet.

This picture was taken when I was around 12 years old. We had been taking her to
Butlins since I was around 6 and at the time of this picture it was probably one of the last times we could take her. Perhaps 2 or 3 times a year we'd take an hour drive to her house and then a four-hour drive to see Mr Butlins, those were the years. We'd have an apartment with nan by ourselves and mom and dad would get there own (I understand why now). I don't remember much of what we did, whilst away, only that each morning I would wake up early and sneak into her room for a morning cuddle and some fruit before heading off for our breakfast.

Eventually the walking and long drives became too hard for her and our family holidays weren't the same without her with us. We still have those memories and this photograph reminds me that she was a very active woman, even with young children she was running around and swimming way into her 80's. More than that though she was never angry or upset with being around 3 very young children, I never once felt like she was frustrated with us. She never displayed anything other than love, all equal!

This photo really sums her up, she is a modest woman. Standing in a theme park without her walking stick because she wants to keep the kids happy. Screw how tired she must've been, we went on those roller coasters until we were dizzy.

National Grandparents day has been and gone, but why isn't every day a celebration of your loved ones? Do you have a favourite photo of a loved one? What memories does it bring back?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with my readers Amy.   I think you will agree her Nan sounds like a really special lady. If you would like to say hello to Amy on her social media sites you can find her on twitter, facebook and pinterest.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Mainline Menswear Review

Men’s fashion has come a long way since the 80s as more and more men like to spend money on quality clothing brands to create the latest fashion trend. Social media and online marketing have helped lots of men who previously dreaded those shopping trips with partners and instead many prefer to shop online, purchasing clothes, grooming products and footwear.

Mainline Menswear is one of the largest independent retailers of men’s designer clothing in the UK. Based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire the company continues to grow, this is not surprising given it is probably the preferred way for men to shop. The Mainline Menswear website is updated on a weekly basis with new items being added to their ‘New this Week’ section making it really easy to spot the upcoming trends. The website is really easy to navigate and I really liked the layout of the items making it pleasant on the eye. Ordering is quite a simple process and delivery was super speedy.

My husband recently received a pair of Superdry jogging bottoms £50 and a Superdry hoodie £50 to try out and here are his thoughts.  The material, quality and fit of both items make them extremely comfortable for when I am out walking with the dog and also for lounging around the house.   I would definitely buy these items again and I love the fact that I can order off line without going out the door.

Mainline Menswear offer free delivery on orders over £150 and I would personally recommend the great service that they provide. 

We received these items free of charge for the purpose of this post but the opinion is entirely our own.

Monday, 19 September 2016

4 Tips to Help you Control Back Pain

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Back pain can be a serious and debilitating condition for many people, and if you’ve ever suffered with this problem, it’s likely you’re aware of how it can affect your quality of life. From painkillers to sessions with a physiotherapist, there are a whole host of ways you can keep your aches and pains at bay. However, let’s have a look at four hacks you might not have tried that could help you control your back pain.

1. Use a TENS machine
If you’re looking for an alternative way to ease your back pain, you could use a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine. Available from healthcare specialists such as LloydsPharmacy, these battery-operated devices can be highly effective in helping reduce back pain and they feature electrode pads which attach directly to the skin of the affected area. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are sent to the painful area of your body. These impulses work to prevent pain signals being sent to the spinal cord and brain, relieving you of your discomfort, as well as relaxing your muscles and triggering the production of endorphins - the body’s natural painkillers. If you’re interested in using a TENS machine for back pain, you might want to speak to a medical professional. They should be able to determine whether this device is suitable for you.

2. Try a hot or cold treatment
Using a hot or cold treatment could help ease your back pain. For example, having a hot bath or placing a hot water bottle on the affected area might provide relief or you could try using something cold, like an ice pack, instead. There are various products available that have been specially designed to treat back ache, such as hot and cold compression packs, sprays and gels. For help choosing the right product for you, you could speak to your local pharmacist or your GP.

3. Adopt a different sleeping position
If your back makes it difficult for you to drift off at night, you could try altering the way you position yourself while you’re in bed. Changing your sleeping position could help take some strain off your back and enable you to get a good night’s sleep. For example, if you tend to sleep on your side, try to bring your legs upwards and place a pillow between them, or if you prefer to snooze on your back, you could try putting a pillow under your knees so that your back is able to rest in its natural curved shape. Simply adopting a better sleeping position could help ease your back pain and enable you to get your much needed rest.

4. Do some exercise
While you may be tempted to rest if your back is causing you pain, staying active could actually ease your discomfort. Exercising regularly can help keep your back strong and healthy and it can also improve your posture. Activities such as swimming, walking and yoga can be especially effective in easing and relieving pain.

So, next time your back is causing you grief, you could try out these alternative solutions to keep any aches and pains under control.

This post is in collaboration with Lloyds Pharmacy.