We’re all Going on a Virtual Holiday

Coronavirus may have locked the world down and possibly resulted in many of us thinking out side of the box in regards to going away on our annual holiday this summer.

With many airlines grounded and a 14 day quarintine in place for anyone entering the UK, our 2 weeks annual holiday abroard looks like it may have to be postponed to next year. But this doesn’t mean that we can not go on a virtual holiday.

The world is our oytser, using the internet we can visit places that we could only ever dream of seeing. Technology offers us a way of discovering those places that are , otherwise, untouched and we can immerse ourselves in the beauties that the world has to offer – all in the comfort of our living rooms.

No, It’s not the same as laying on those soft golden beaches, feeling the heat of the sun stroking our skin or the feeling of excitement flash though our bodies as we experience the adrenaline from thrill seeking adventures. But we get to experience a holiday like no other!

The family and I sat down together one day and drew up our perfect virtual holiday covering from the best place to go on a trek to where we would like to eat.

The best thing about a virtual holiday is you are not limited to just one area of a country and you don’t have to think about the cost. There will be no crowds to get lost in or queues to join and that’s nothing to do with a quarintine in place.

Here’s our favourite holiday destinations to visit

  • Beach – Phi Phi Island, Thailand. This has got to be the ultimate destination to visit a beach, It is absolutely stunning. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. Lots of beautiful secluded bays sitting next to small fishing villages. Spending the days on the beautiful white sandy beaches and the nights sitting around a camp fire. Obviously a visit to Thailand’s most famous beach ‘Maya Bay’. The bay has superb marine life and is a favorite spot for snorkelers and famous after the 2000 movie “The Beach” was filmed there.
  • Ice-Cream – Sotto Zero, Malta. Probably not the best in the world but it’s a personal favourite of ours. After visiting Malta for the past few years for our summer holidays we have fell in love with Sotto Zero ice-creams. Not only do they have an array of delicious flavours to choose from but they also do freshly squeezed orange juice and a coffee Dalgona to die for.
  • Museum – The British Museum, London. With over two millions years of human history and culture to look at, this museum is one of our favourites to visit. It houses some remarkable collections featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history. The British Museum is home to The Rosetta Stone – one of the most visited objects in the Museum. Our favourite part of the Museum has got to be the Egyptian death and afterlife: Mummies gallery. The boys find Mummification fascinating.
  • Trekking – Machu Picchu, Peru. The lost city of the Incas – As got to be on everyone’s bucket list! The ancient Inca Trail leading towards Machu Picchu combines jaw-dropping scenery, lush cloud forest, sub-tropical jungle and a mix of Inca ruins. One word ‘Stunning’. Camping under the stars, watching the dawn break over Machu Picchu and exploring the ruins is something I have dreamt of doing for a long time.
  • Skiing – ST Moritz, Switzerland. With around 354 km of pistes, ST Moritz is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. We have never been Skiing before so why not go to the most stylist resort there is. Skiing over the white carpet and taking on some fantastic views of Mount Corviglia.
  • Kayaking – Aare Gorge, Switzerland. Well we’ve been skiing we may as well visit the Aare Gorge in Switzerland too. Now, it’s probably not even allowed but the boys decided the coolest place to go Kayaking would be the here. The Aare Gorge is a section of the river Aare that carves through a limestone ridge near the town of Meiringen and what better way to see experience this natural wonder than by water.
  • Swimming – Blue Lagoon, Iceland. Not exactly somewhere to swim but rather a place to relax and take in the atmosphere around you. A spa rather than a swimming pool. There is no better place to Experience the radiant powers of geothermal seawater, an outdoor lagoon with mineral rich waters. A time to Relax and rejuvenate in the beautiful blue-milky water.
  • Waterworld – Natural Sedona, Arizona. Slide Rock State Park is a natural waterpark where Sedona’s red rocks form the “ultimate water slide.  Slide Rock is 80 feet long and 2.5 to 4 feet wide, with a seven percent decline from top to bottom. Algae on the rocks creates the slippery ride. This place looks like so much fun and I could just imagine the boys, unquestionably, having the time of their lives here. Not only will they get to experience the thrill of the 80 foot-long slippery chute but there will be no plastic around.
  • Watersports – Florida. How can you have a virtual holiday and not visit Florida? Wakeboarding, paddleboarding, water skiing, jet skiing, para sailing and swimming with Dolphins – Orlando has got to be the place. The Florida east coast has a water activity for everyone. Daytona Beach is home to 23 miles of pristine coastline just begging for our family adventure.
  • Running – Iten, Kenya. My boys love to run! No holiday would ever go ahead without them going our for a run. This is one place that they are desperate to visit. Iten is the home of champions. Iten lays at an altitude of 2400 meter (7900 feet) and is famous for being the centre of Kenyan middle- and long distance running. At the moment a few thousand athletes live and train in Iten and my boys want to train with the best!  They would love to experience, firsthand, what makes Kenyans such great runners.
  • Restaurants – Trat Street Market, Thailand. This was the husbands choice, he spent 6 months travelling around Thailand and Bangkok when he was younger and is always full of stories about his time there, one thing he is always talking about is the food. These street markets are famous for their unique street food and special Thai dishes. The colours, the aroma, the music, the choice of food are all big attractions that make the markets captivating.
  • Adventure – The Amazon. A unique experience in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Overnight camping in the jungle and beautiful beaches by day. Spanning over 1.4 billion acres of land it’s the world’s largest tropical rainforest, not to mention it offers 4,100 miles of winding rivers (including the Amazon river, of course). Home to some fascinating species of plants and animal, from Sloths to Anacondas.
  • Theme park – Legoland, Denmark. This is the perfect destination for Our Lego mad son. He may be 13 but he still loves to put together lego sets and display them in his room. Billund is Denmark’s best known and most beloved amusement park amongst families. Here is plenty of action, speed and fun. We have already been to Legoland, Windsor on many occasions so this park has got to be on our virtual holiday list.

So, there you go! Our virtual holiday

If you could go anywhere in the World, where would it be?

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Sending A Hug During Lockdown

At the moment we are all experiencing big changes in our lifestyles and missing visiting close family and friends is one of them.

There are many ways that we can keep in touch; by phone, video calling, texts’ and emails but the one thing that we can not do is touch or hug them. I know my boys have been finding it hard not seeing their Nan and the one thing they miss the most is not being able to give her a hug. There’s nothing quite like a hug from your Nan.

We don’t live near to my Mum, so we only normally see her on a weekend or over a half term holiday. With lockdown now going into the 7th week and with both my Mum and myself shielding because of vulnerability, we haven’t been able to see her since February.

Our phone calls often end with my Mum having a little cry as she misses the boys so much. So we really wanted to do something a little special for her. I had seen on the internet about sending a hug to a loved one in the post. Making a doorstep visit wouldn’t be possible either as I know that would be just too upsetting for Nan to see the boys and not be able to hold them close to her.

So as we can’t see my Mum in person or give her a hug, we decided to send her one.

Sending a hug in the post

You will need:

  • Plain paper – Pastel or white
  • Pencil and pen or felt tip
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Method:

  • The hug needs to be long enough to wrap around someone’s body. So take a few pieces of paper and glue them together so that you make one long piece of paper.
  • Place your left hand on the paper and draw around it. You need to draw the arm too
Showing how to draw around the hand on paper

Make sure that the hand that you are drawing around has the finger tips towards the top of the paper.

  • Now draw around your right hand and arm
  • Using a ruler, connect the lines of the arm together.
  • You should now have one long arm with a hand on both ends
  • Make sure that the thumbs are pointing upwards, just as you would hug someone
  • Cut it out
A hug cut out made up of hands and arm

Now you have a personalised hug to send to a loved one in the post. You can draw in details on the hands , like finger-nails or knuckles. You could even colour the nails in or add in a watch or bracelet. Anything to make it personal.

We wrote a message on both sides. The messages are some that we just googled and copied

A paper hug to send in the post

Now all that is left to do is send it to someone who you want to hug.

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Dark Chocolate and Irish Cream Fudge Recipe

Fudge has got to be one of the easiest treats you can make and most definitely one of the tastiest. It’s rich, creamy and just melts in your mouth – a perfect fudge! And so ridiculously delicious.

With just three ingredients and takes just minutes to make, it couldn’t get any easier. They are ideal to give out as gifts, but i must warn you they are so addictive you may not want to!

Chocolate and irish cream fudge on a plate
Irish Cream Fudge

Once you make them I would advise you to store them in a tin in your fridge, the longer you leave them in there the more they set.

Dark Chocolate and Irish Cream Fudge

Three ingredients to make a rich and creamy delicious fudge

Course Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 600 g Dark chocolate You could use milk or white
  • 375 g Tin of Condensed Milk
  • 125 ml Irish Cream/Baileys

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate. This can be done in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water, in the microwave or in a pan. If you're melting it in the pan, keep an eye on it and keep stirring.

  2. Once melted place in a pan (if not already in one) and add in the condensed milk. Stir to combine. Keep stirring and add in the Irish cream/baileys. Combine well. It will begin to thicken. (You can add in some icing sugar at this point if you want)

  3. Pour into an 8" square silicone mould

  4. Leave to cool and then place into the fridge to set for about 8 hours

  5. I always place into the freezer just before i cut the fudge for about 15 minutes.

    Take out of the silicone mould and cut into cubes. Don't worry about keeping them the same size, the more rugged the better

    Place into a tin and store in the fridge

    Fudge cubes

You can choose to use a mixture of chocolate or add in some chocolate chips. The good thing about making fudge is just to experiment with different combinations of ingredients. How about a rum and raisin one?

Enjoy!

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Easter Egg Hunt, Camping Out, Movie Night and Dog Walking in Week 4 of lockdown – Ordinary Moments

So how is everyone coping so far? We received the news two days a go that we will be in social distancing for another 3 weeks, that’s 3 more weeks of attempting home learning and battling to pick up the groceries from the supermarket.

I missed last weeks update as I didn’t really have anything to share with you all, it was pretty much the same as the previous week.

Daily Exercise

We’ve been making sure that we have been getting out for a daily exercise, we’re pretty lucky that we have the dog to walk as it gives me reason to get up and go out for a lovely long walk. We have a decent size country park about 10 minutes walk from our house, which has been our saviour for the past month. The boys have still been going out for their daily run, they need to keep up their stamina as they compete at quite a high level. Even though all of their races have been cancelled or postponed they need to keep with their training the best they can in order for them to compete at the same level when the races are back on.

With the lovely weather we have been having lately, the garden has been a blessing. The boys have been out there every day, playing football, badminton, table tennis and even a beep test.

Easter Egg Hunt

On Easter Sunday I set up a trail of clues for the boys to solve and follow to the next clue, along the way they found little eggs and sweets with the very last clue leading them to their Chocolate Easter egg. They worked together to solve the riddles, it was lovely to see all three of them enjoying themselves.

The Big Camp Out

As the Easter Holidays were cancelled due to social distancing and we wasn’t able to go to Wales as planned I asked the boys if they wanted to set up camp in the garden. We had a particular warm evening last week so we put up the tent and the boys camped out all night. I didn’t think they would last a few hours but they managed to stay outside all night long. They were well equipped with lots of bedding and a few snacks to see them through.

They was hoping the dog would join them but she decided that she would be much more comfortable in her bed in the dining room.

Movie Night

Cinemas may be closed but that doesn’t mean we can’t watch a movie at home

Light adjusted, blinds closed and popcorn ready the living room was all ready for Movie night. I had printed out a movie ticket, one that I had found online and gave them to the boys all they had to do was choose a movie that they all wanted to watch.

The boys drew their own design onto a brown paper bag that I used to fill up with popcorn.

I loved seeing their little faces light up with smiles as they handed over their tickets and took a seat in the living room. The chose to watch Moana. I shall be keeping the tickets for next time, wonder what film they decide to watch this time?

Time at the moment may be hard for us but we needn’t look at it as a negative, we just need to see that we have been given this time to appreciate each other a little more. I for one, love that when the children ask me if we can do something I don’t answer with ‘Maybe later’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ I am enjoying spending time with them doing things that I am always thinking of doing but never do because of work and lack of time. We’re going out for walks together, camping, baking, painting, making dens, playing games, dancing and talking alot more.

Next week we’re back to home learning and I am hoping that the youngest will adapt a little better than he did before the Easter break. If not, I won’t push him I will just do it along with him. I will show him that together we can do this.

The Ordinary Moments
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Week Two of Lockdown – Ordinary Moments

Two weeks of being indoors is driving us all a little crazy, but we know that this is the best thing for us to be doing for the health of everyone. We’re missing family, friends, clubs and colleagues.

Our family is normally a very active family, I am either at football training with the youngest or over the park with the boys, the older two boys are usually out running with their friends and club. So we are finding it rather hard to stay at home. We still have our daily walks with the dog and we tend to do this earlier on in the day or later in the early evening.

Week two of home learning went a little bit better than the first week, we seemed to have settled into some sort of routine. The older two boys just get on with the work set for them and I spend the time with the youngest.

We have done lots of home baking this week and I have a new found love in TikTok. This app is fabulous and we have been having lots of fun with it. Well, I have been having lots of fun filming the boys and begging them to join me. They just look at me and shrug their shoulders and raise their eyebrows at each other. I think they find it a little weird that Mummy is on TikTok. Does anyone else use this app?

With a little bit more time on our hands than usual, myself and the boys have signed ourselves up to a couple of courses. The eldest and I are currently doing a BSL course, which will be really helpful for work and my middle boy is doing a Zoology Diploma. He wants to study Zoology when he is older so it’s a great start for him and hoping that it will give him a deeper understanding of studying at A level will consist of.

There are some great online stuff to do at the moment. Not only do we join in with Joe Wicks every morning but the boys have also been enjoying watching the live videos put up by Chester Zoo on facebook. It’s been so nice to see the animals up close and learning lots of new facts about them. Emily from A Mummy Too has been doing live bakealongs during the weekday on facebook, which has been lovely to do as a family.

There are so many companies out there offering support online for the children and adults too. It’s lovely to see how everyone is coming together to support each other and how we are now completely reliable on the internet. Could you imagine this happening 20 years ago?

Not many pictures to share this week, It’s not been a rather great week. hoping next week will be a little more eventful. My husband has a few days off this week, so may be we will have a BBQ or do some decorating. I am also hoping to do some more fun activities at home with the boys, keeping up with education but also some crafting sessions and some science experiments

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