Fringe for Bairns Returns for 2018

It’s almost Fringe time again guys. I cannot wait. The kids love a wee Edinburgh adventure and it’s great to show them the city when it’s buzzing with creativeness.

Before you even think about putting your hand in your pocket though did you know that The Three Sisters Bar have their very own dedicated children’s programme and it’s absolutely FREE.

Fringe for Bairns launches this Sunday (29th July) until Wednesday 1st August and has a fabulous programme of events which you can check out below.

 

Sunday 29th July

9am-12am– Frozen Sing-a-Long with Anna & Elsa

12am-2pm– Fairy-tale Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

Monday 30th July

10am-12am– Lego Games, Lego Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

12am-2pm Bricks 4 Kidz – Glasgow, Scotland

Tuesday 31st July

10am-2pm– Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

10am-2pm– Petting Zoo

Wednesday 1st Aug

10am-2pm– Superhero Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Paint

In addition, Fringe for Bairns will also running a kids cinema every Sunday of the Fringe at 9am in partnership with Scottish Autism  to help raise both funds and awareness.

All the events will be super relaxed, inclusive and all about the kids being able to have maximum fun. We’ll be heading along to sing out hearts out with Anna and Elsa on Sunday so do come say hi if you pop along too 🙂

You can find more information on the Fringe for Bairns programme here.

Cx

 

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How to do Vienna in 2 Days…and not break the bank

If you read my post How to Do Budapest in 2 Days you might have been wondering what we did with the rest of our trip. Nope, we weren’t stuck in customs attempting to bring home copious amounts of Hungarian sausage and wine! We hopped on a train and headed for Vienna….to sample Vienniese wine and sausages instead!

I hadn’t banked (geddit?) on how expensive Vienna would be and what a difference it would be in terms of culture to Budapest. So we had to think a little more carefully about what we would spend our money on while in the city.

SLEEP

We stayed in the beautiful Appartment-Hotel an der Riemergasse which is a cross between a hotel and an apartment. With all the services you’d expect from a hotel (including the option to have breakfast brought to your room) but with the feeling of being in your own flat.

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The rooms all have their own little kitchen area if you need it. The hotel is extremely central and meant that we were just minutes from all the main sights. As we were visiting in Spring and not during peak time we were able to get a good deal on our accommodation and obviously being centrally located meant we didn’t have to spend any money on transport while we were in the city.

EAT

We opted not to go into some of the main sights so that we didn’t have to budget so much on eating out. It’s all about the food and drink for us.

We ate at 3 Hacken Magazin on our first night and, though not cheap, the food, wine and service were faultless. Not a great choice if you’re a vegetarian as it is predominantly traditional Viennese food, ie meat. Fabulous if you’re looking for Bratwurst and strudle and we had a great waiter who helped us pick a Viennese wine within our price range and to match our preferences. It was absolutely delicious and worth every penny.

Fro breakfast on our first morning we tried Café Englaender, and found ourselves in what you would have expected The Ritz to look like 50 years ago. Grand, in an old fashioned way. We had a prosecco breakfast, with eggs, breads, yoghurt, continental meat and cheese, and fruit.

It was a bit of an extravagance but hey, when in Vienna…

Dinner this evening was street food as had stumbled upon a wine festival.

Yes indeed our luck was in…

DO

When wandering around checking out the architecture we genuinely just stumbled upon the Steiermark Frühling Festival situated right in front of the magnificent Rathaus building. If you can time your visit for this one, DO IT . A whole weekend of Lederhosen, fabulous food and drink from the Styrian region. And best of all, it’s free! Giving you extra spends for all the wine. Hurrah! Grab a seat on the grass, or indeed on a hay-bale, and just soak it all in. We had the best time of our entire visit here!

Vienna is another of those cities that is dripping with beautiful architecture so don’t feel like you have to go inside all the main attractions if you don’t want you. You can easily spend a day being awed by the buildings from the outside. Which is exactly what we did.

The only attraction we spent money to visit was the Jewish Museum, 12 Euros, but this allows you entry into both of their museums within a 4 day period so it’s a really good value for money.

As much as the architecture is stunning, and exactly what you would expect when you think of Vienna, if you’d like to see another side of the city, head down to the Danube to check out the street art. We spent an afternoon drinking coffee and people watching and it was great to experience a completely different vibe to that of the city centre.

Finally, if you do happen to stumble upon a wine festival and do happen to have a slightly sore head the next morning then Stadtpark is the place to go to relax, read a book and clear your head. It’s the biggest park in the city centre. You’ll find lots of monuments of famous Austrians, the most famous being Johann Strauss, as well as an abundance of picnic spots, a benches to rest weary legs. Once again, it won’t cost you a dime (unless you grab a coffee, which, if you did happen to visit the wine festival…is a must!)

Vienna isn’t the cheapest of cities but don’t let this put you off. It’s relatively easy to spend a few days here and not spend the earth. Hopefully this has helped you with some ideas of how to do it.

Have you been to Vienna? What would you recommend?

Cx

 

 

 

 

A weekend in Inverness-shire

The Highlands have been on my list of places in Scotland to visit for a while now. I always feel slightly ashamed when I speak to friends from other countries and am asked about the north of Scotland and I have to confess I haven’t seen a whole lot of it. So, I may have put on my persuasive voice when we were deciding on the annual weekend getaway with Alan’s side of the family. The last couple of years we have been to Perthshire, which is so beautiful that we were thinking about visiting again this year. However, it can be difficult to find accommodation for our huge family so we looked farther afield.

SLEEP

We opted for the Highland Holiday Home and weren’t disappointed. Located in Errogie, on the North East end of Loch Mhòr and just a couple of miles to the East of Loch Ness it’s perfectly rural (whilst being near enough to Inverness for a wee visit).

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Let’s all be honest. New Year’s resolutions don’t work.

And here’s why.

We spend December living excessively. Eating and drinking pretty much constantly from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep. Routine is thrown out the window and we just live moment to moment. And the media encourages this with non-stop food and drink adverts everywhere we look. So, by the time the month ends so have the adverts and they’ve been replaced with the diet and exercise ones. So we feel crap about what we’ve consumed and how we look. Then we start nit-picking about other aspects of our lives. ‘We don’t go out enough’, ‘I’m a bad parent because I hate pretending to be a ‘insert animal here’, ‘the kids watch too much tv’, ‘I look at my phone too much’ and so on.

And we resolve to be better people.  Eat less ‘bad stuff’, start an eating plan, stop looking at social media all the time, cut down on the Gin intake or whatever else you think is ‘bad’.

Then come the end of January we’ve failed miserably and feel crap about ourselves again!

Has anyone ended a year feeling positive about having achieved this type of resolution?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in the mood for eating a bit better and moving a bit more. But only because I’m at risk of turning into a bit of cheese and quite fancy a bit of normality. Not because I’m getting sucked into this negative thinking and feeling disgusted by myself.

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Fall In Love With Northumberland

It’s been an intense few months what with the house project getting into full flow and various other bits and bobs going on. So to say we were ready for our annual catch up with some very good friends is a bit of an understatement. I was champing at the bit to get going on Friday and finally, after popping up to the house to take receipt of our new kitchen (exciting) and waiting for the car to be serviced and being told it needed extra repairs (sob), we managed to get on our way.

This is our fourth trip away with these friends and our families have expanded somewhat since the first one, so we’ve leaned more towards booking more spacious cottages so there’s plenty of room for the kids to run about. They are inevitably more expensive but I do think it’s worth it. Especially since we do spend our nights in after being out and about during the day. Also because we go away with another family we do have a bit of freedom to book something a bit nicer than the norm.

So we booked East Bickerton, right in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside.

The cottage is absolutely stunning and Lizzie, the owner, lives right next door which is really handy if there is anything you specifically need. Not that we did need to contact her as she had thought of everything. Apart from on our final morning Alan woke up with a bug and wasn’t able to travel. Lizzie was so gracious in allowing us to stay past the 10am check out, telling us we could stay as long as we wanted. Thank you Lizzie! When we arrived there was milk, biscuits, tea and coffee awaiting us (I love little touches like that). As well as being a stunning home in a stunning location, it was also really family friendly. We were provided with two travel cots and two high chairs, a stair gate and boxes of toys for the kids to play with. One piece of feedback I would give Lizzie is to advertise this as it’s a huge draw for families and saves us packing our own. As if all that wasn’t enough we were able to order a supermarket delivery which she kindly took receipt of for us. All in all East Bickerton gets a massive thumbs up from us.

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Best Parks in Fife

Hey Fifers,

Anyone else sick to death of the sight of their local park? I am! But the kids love a park visit and it keeps them entertained for so long (unless your park is a little sad and tired like our current one!)

Days out with the kids can be an expensive business, by the time you’ve paid for wherever you’re going, travel, lunch and whatever crap treat you buy them while you’re there. This is where the park comes in. It’s expense free. And if you get a good one you can get a good part of the day out of it. So let’s get excited by the park again!

Say hello to

THE GREAT PARKS OF FIFE:

1. Culross

As you will have noticed from the Hidden Gems in Fife post, I LOVE Culross. I grew up here and never appreciated its beauty but really do now. The park here is new and has something for all ages. The slide is a lighthouse. It has a tunnel, it has sand, it has balance beams and it has picnic benches, a small beach right next to it and of course, the rest of the beautiful village if the kids do happen to get bored.

2. Pittencrief Public Park

Dunfermline’s public park, or ‘The Glen’ as we like to call it, is huge and has 3 playparks, lots of space to walk and explore, an old steam train, a cafe with small soft play, public toilets, squirrels galore and even the odd peacock. Definitely take a walk through the woodland areas and check out the glasshouse and Japanese gardens too.

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Check Out Our Autumn Plans

It’s the last day of the school term today here in Fife and seeing everyone’s lovely posts about Autumn recently have gotten me a bit excited myself about this season. Let’s face it, it’s usually overlooked as everyone is beginning to think about winter and the C word that I won’t mention!

So, I thought it would be nice to put together a little to-do list for our family for Autumn. It’s all pretty easy and mainly free to do so it shouldn’t be difficult. And it helps when thinking about what to do with the kids in the holidays to have a little plan.

I do have my own personal list which includes the obvious kind of stuff:

  1. Stop shaving legs
  2. Reduce hair washing to twice a week
  3. Buy a winter hat because of point 2
  4. Complain about how cold it is
  5. Buy a winter coat because of point 4

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10 Hidden Gems in Fife For Kids

If you’re from, or visiting Fife, and, like me, you’re sick to death of taking your kids to soft play centres, with their overpricing, sticky carpets, lack of mute button and terrible, terrible food, then the below list is for you. I’ve explored a fair amount in Fife with my two children (5 and 2) and can vouch for the fact there’s so much to do. Sometimes we can all feel like we do the same things with our kids so I thought it would be nice to note down what I think are some ‘hidden gems’.

Before you read on I’d like to note that none of the companies listed have paid me anything in return for the high praise I’m about to bestow on them. I just really like them and it’s nice to spread the word when you discover something fun to do with the kids.

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Top Tips for Travelling with Children

The thought of travelling with children is pretty daunting. I’m by no means the most experienced of travellers, however we’ve been on a fair few trips both in the UK and abroad, with Tom and more recently, Lois, in tow.

So here’s my top tips to make those journeys a little less stressful:

  • First of all lower those expectations. I mean, get them right down. To the point where your goal is simply to get to the other side alive, and having not committed violence against another member of your family. By doing this you aren’t going to be disappointed are you?! I say this, because we’ve travelled in the past with lovely ideas of how it’s going to go down and it just never goes this way. For example, we decided to drive back from Cornwall to Scotland in a day, with a stop in Manchester to go to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre for a few hours. Setting off and stop off times were planned around Tom’s naps. We didn’t factor in leaving on the first day of half term in England and being stuck in traffic for the entire day, missing LEGOLAND and Tom staying awake for the entire 12 hour journey. Actually, that’s a lie, he fell asleep 45 minutes from home, then we had the added fun of the car to bed transfer.  It stressed us right out but the funny thing is, looking back, Tom was completely chilled out. If we’d had no plans for how the day SHOULD go, we might have been the same.

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