2 Activities for a perfect bank holiday on a budget

With Spring bank holiday just around the corner we thought we would share with you two of our favourite family activities that will help you fill the day with some fun and keep yourselves on a budget.

To be honest, money doesn’t equal good times. If you think about your best family memories you will probably realise that it didn’t have much to do with the things you bought or how much you spent. It is more about the laughter, the running up and down, the team work, doing something together and enjoying each other’s company.

So here you have, our OUTDOOR activity for a perfect bank holiday on a budget, IF the weather is nice. (you can’t always count on that, can you?!)

VISITING YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY FARM AND PARK

The main difference with other farms is that community farms, even though might be a bit smaller won’t charge you any entrance fee or it will be quite symbolic. One that we like going every once in a while is on the south of Manchester, at Wythenshawe Park.

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You’ve got beautiful green areas where kids can ride their bikes or play the ball. There’s also a small cottage where you can have lunch, if you haven’t packed it before. That’s what we usually do. 🙂 and also the community farm with cows, pigs, chicken, donkeys and a few more animals.

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You can plan games, a treasure hunt or a minibeasts exploration, always a good fun. You can finish the day with a nice ice cream from the ice cream van. Who doesn’t love ice cream?! Whatever you’re doing, just finish the day with an ice cream, they will LOVE you! haha

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So you get home all worn out, but hey it’s bank holiday, you’ve got another day to fill out, this time it’s raining therefore, here our INDOOR activity for a perfect bank holiday on a budget:

HOME CINEMA WITH HOME MADE POPCORN

Pick one of the movies you and the kids would like to watch. Set up your lights, a blanket and in our case, daddy is in charge of the home made popcorn. (I get scared heating up the oil! lol) We love watching movies at home, so for us this is quite an entertaining and chilling activity for the whole family. Oh! Don’t forget, turn off your phones or put them away, otherwise you will miss the movie and won’t enjoy the time with your little ones to the fullest. I’ll tell you more about it on another post. 😉

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For now, here’s our Recipe for Home made popcorn:

  • You will need: corn kernels, a deep pan, vegetable oil and salt
  • Preparation: Add 3-4 spoons of oil into the pan and heat it on. Add the corn kernels (approx. 80gr will give you enough popcorn for 2 adults and 1 children) Cover the pan. Now the fun part starts…they will start to pop and the trick here is to take the pan out of the heat when you hear that they have stopped popping. If you leave it too long they’ll burnt, but practice makes the difference 😉 Then just add salt to the taste and enjoy the movie!

Remember, TV apps like Netflix, NOW TV, Apple TV, Amazon TV or even if you’ve got a smart TV and you can access YouTube, it will give you a good variety of options to watch on a budget. And if not, you can always turn to your laptop and download a movie from the Internet.

We are so old school that my brother has a good laugh every time he sees our TV appliance, cause it’s one of those big SONY. It was given away to us when we just arrived to UK and it’s still working fine, so let me tell you, I have no intention of replacing it yet! As I said to my brother, one day it will be considered a luxurious antiquity that will be worth millions. 😀

*This is a collaborative post with Provident who asked us to share a few ideas on what we like doing on a bank holiday on a budget*

You can find ours and many other suggestions from other bloggers here.

Enjoy the family time! xx

 

A family visit to Dogsy Ma Bone at Touchstones Rochdale

Our family blog has given us many opportunities so far that would have been unnoticed to us otherwise. This post is a great example of this. Even though we are not that far away from Rochdale we had never planned a visit to that city before, until we were approached by the Liverpool Biennial team. This time we were kindly invited to attend the launch of the exhibition of Dogsy Ma Bone, the production from Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.

We were quite surprised and in all honesty I had to google the artist and the show, but we are always opened to new family experiences that help us get closer to different activities.

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As they explain it very well on their website “In 2016, Chetwynd worked with 78 young people from Liverpool to create a new film and performance, using the city as a backdrop to the action. Originally commissioned for Liverpool Biennial 2016, the work is inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (1928) and Betty Boop’s A Song A Day (1936).”

Well, we explained to our little ones a bit more about it and told them we were going to see a little show made by kids and for kids. Our 5 year old’s first reaction was “I want to be part too!” haha, as usual, she likes being the star of the show everywhere we go. 😉 Anyway, she finally understood.

When we got there we still had a bit of time to walk around the museum and see other galleries. It is quite well thought for families, since facilities, access for prams and children area are in to easy access. Staff were quite friendly too, must say.

So before the performance started, the organisers explained to us the hows and the why. They said it was definitely a great opportunity for Rochdale to boost youth’s creativity and talent. Then we met Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, the creator of this production, Dogsy Ma Bone.

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Finally a group of youth came out all dressed up in very peculiar fancy clothes. It has a purpose behind all, and if you watch the screening you will learn why they dress like that. They tell the story through the songs. All of them were sung live. Their voices and talent were amazing. Even our 1 year old was paying attention to them, which is really hard to happen.

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For kids, it is something they can enjoy since the rhythm of the music keeps them entertained and there are some props there too. For adults, you can read between the lines and understand a bit more of today’s society’s biggest issues since there is a clear message that comes across with the story of Dogsy Ma Bone.

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Anyway, Touchstones is a great museum, Dogsy Ma Bone is a good family activity and we were greatly surprised by Rochdale town centre and surroundings, which it seemed beautiful to us. So you might want to take advantage of the coming bank holidays or another day and plan a visit there. Dogsy Ma Bone will be there until July, so you’ve got plenty of time!

Our first ever experience getting kids into golf

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to the “Get Kids into Golf” event organised by OnlineGolf, the online golf shop for all golf products and news. We were quite excited to attend since our only experience with golf was crazy golf, and even that we haven’t played it very often!

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The activity was aimed to all children 3 years and above so our little J, who’s 5 years old, took full advantage of it. For our little boy, who is one year old was more just about chasing the balls around.

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We got there on time and met with other families. The place had been set up quite nicely and it was indoors, so the bad weather didn’t affect us at all. They organised us all into groups so the little ones could walk around every station and try a different exercise, guided by professional golf players and instructors.

In the beginning it was a bit tricky cause J is left handed so having to turn around and hold the club properly was a whole new thing -yep, we learnt that word at the event! we used to call it “stick” lol-

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In a fun and entertaining way they used every opportunity to teach the children the right terminology. So we also learnt that an “ace” was a hole in one or a “hook” when the ball curves to the left (they called it “captain hook” so the children would remember it) but it has actually helped me to remember it myself! haha and a “slice” (called it “pizza-slice”) when the ball curves to the right.

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By the way, position is so important! At the end, after enjoying a nice lunch, they gave us some free time to play all the games again, this time, grown-ups could participate too. I thought I would be able to do it, cause, honestly in my mind seemed quite easy…but apparently my body and the club don’t get along too well! I was terrible!!

One of the instructors performed a nice trick show, that all children loved. I would say that that was one of our little one’s favourite part.

You can watch the video of the event created by OnlineGolf here.

So why you should get kids into golf? Here’s one of the main top 5 reasons:

“Your kid will learn important life lessons! Playing golf your kid will experience highs and lows, from the first hole-in-one or birdie to a misplaced shot in a bunker. Golf will teach your kid that though we can’t always win, we always have another shot in life and skill comes with practice.”

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Our children are such a great example of this, with perseverance and a good attitude they can achieve whatever they want, and as in golf, we can’t always win, but we will always have another shot.

 

Reading with Fonics – App #Review and #Giveaway

Moving to a new country is a fascinating experience. Moving to a new country with your kids is a whole new world. Our 5 year old started this year what they call in UK “Reception”, the first year of her Primary adventure. Behind we left all those fears from the very first day of school, those tears from not only hers but mummy’s also… She is embracing every day and developing in all areas so well. We couldn’t feel happier for her, to be honest.

Although there is one thing we thought it would be our stumbling block, not being native English speakers ourselves, and that is PHONICS. In our languages, Spanish and Portuguese, kids learn to read and write using different methods, not by sounding the letters out; so we knew that we had to share that pathway with her and learn how to read the phonics along with her.

One of our many attempts has been through play scenarios, like the one we created on this video where she pretends to be the teacher and we are the students.

It works great for us cause she has fun at the same time she reviews the sounds.

But now that she is getting to another level and needs to recognise also consonant and vowel digraphs…you know, those two letters that make one sound… (I looked that up in Google! 😛 haha) things get harder and you need more resources. Luckily for us not too long ago we were approached by the people behind the app Read with Fonics.

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As they state on their website “Readwithfonics.com is a website based online reading program designed by a teacher to help children learn to read in a more fun and engaging way. Play fun phonics games and systematically learn the 44 phonetic sounds of the English language. By turning phonics lessons into phonics games, students stay engaged longer with a higher level of concentration than traditional resources.”

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This translated into the words of our 5 year old is ” I love the green little monster! it’s so cute!”green alien

So this green little alien helps the child to go through the different stages. I was quite surprised when she first tried it out cause I thought it would be more simple but she really needs to pay attention, which is good because it helps her to be focused on what she is doing.

Read with fonics app

I like it when a kids app is educational at the same time than entertaining. It can be quite hard sometimes to find a safe “screen option” for your little one but I think Read with Fonics will be one of our resources to turn to specially during this Easter break. We cannot allow 2 weeks full of YouTube Videos! so we better fill out her time with the good stuff.

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Read with Fonics also gave us the opportunity to offer our readers a giveaway with 2 winners that will have full access to all the stages. So don’t miss it out and enter the competition. It’s quite easy and you will have many chances to win!

Read with Fonics Giveaway

*We were given full access to the app for the purpose of this review but opinions have been honest and our own.

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Our special Frullato di Frutta recipe

Summer is just around the corner! Ok, not really, we still need to go through all the showers that Spring will bring with it but hey, the moment you see the sunshine coming up through your window all these summer fresh recipes come to your mind. So we thought what a better way to start your day than with a Frullato di Frutta?

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On this occasion we are collaborating with Inghams Lakes and Mountains for their “Ingham’s Foddie Finds” Campaign. We are going to show you this special recipe for Frullato di Frutta, a very yummy easy Italian milkshake. The kids love it! Everyone at home does actually and you’ll find out very soon why. Just keep reading… 😉

What do you need for our special frullato di frutta recipe?

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  • 2 bananas
  • 300gr strawberries
  • 400ml full fat milk (or skimmed milk)
  • ice
  • and our little secret ingredient: 2 spoons of Nutella
    (* the typical frullato di frutta will have either sugar, syrup or nothing at all since the fruit has its own sweetness. We just like making it extra yummy and Italian! what else more Italian than Nutella?! ) 😉

How do you prepare frullato di frutta?

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It’s actually quite simple to make. The riper the fruit the tastier it will be. We have chosen these ones cause we know they’re a safe option for our children’s palate but you can try any other fruit that you please. You cut it all in chunks. Add everything to the blender, except for the ice. We will add it last. Blend it for a couple of minutes and voila! or should we say “pronto!” 🙂

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The good thing about this recipe apart from how delicious it is, is that you can save some for later, freeze it using an ice tray or any other ice lollies recipients and your children will be able to enjoy them later on as a healthy ice cream for a warm afternoon.


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Find our recipe, along with many other creative and delicious ones from other bloggers on the Inghams Foodie Finds website. You can even download the cookbook if you want to!

Let us know how it went if you decide to give it a go! 🙂

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We are going to the Circus! – The Moscow State Circus #Review

What a great start of our half term holidays we had on Saturday visiting the Moscow State Circus at Event City in Manchester. We were kindly invited to review the show. It was a fun family experience indeed.

It had been ages since I went to the circus. Actually, my mum who is visiting us from Barcelona, told me that the first time they took me I was only one year old, just the same age as our little boy now. On Saturday morning we went to the box office to collect the tickets.  We were assigned the Grandstand area, which gave us a good view of the stage. But I would say, if possible, get the VIP ringside seats, you will be just in front and have more chances to engage with the artists.

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Our 5 year old was super excited! We didn’t know what to expect since we had never been in a circus in UK before, but it definitely exceeded our expectations. We got there 45 minutes before the show since our seats weren’t numbered. Our day had been full of things from very early in the morning so we kind of had to rush a bit to get to Event City. Luckily for us this is quite local and we had no problem finding it. They also have parking available, if not right next to it, at intu Trafford Centre, the Barton Square area. We decided to leave the pushchair inside the car, but we could have actually taken it with us since they have a space where you can leave them.

Before the show starts you have some time to hang out at the cafeteria and get some snacks.  We had some popcorn and a couple of drinks for 8 pounds. J wanted us to buy some cotton candy but we thought that was going to be too much “excitement” for her! You know the show is soon to start cause it gets crowded and people start to line up. When they let you in you feel like sardines in a can but once you go inside it clears out and you are able to get the most convenient seats for you.

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Finally we got them! at the top, right in front of the stage. Our little J had a crisis of “OMG I Ccircus quoteAN’T SEE ANYTHING!!” she started crying and we had to change seats with her I can’t recall how many times… the truth is that she could see the stage perfectly but for some reason she just panicked. All that went away when the clown entered the stage. She loved it! Definitely her favourite one of all the artists.  She loved it so much that at the end of the show she told us she wanted to marry him. Oh well, another one to add to her long list of candidates! haha…

 

The performances were outstanding. All of us, adults and children, were amazed at all the things they could do. They challenged gravity in the most creative ways. It was all well thought and organised cause in between you would always have little acts with the clown who would make sure that everyone had a good laugh. The best parts were when he would be looking for volunteers to go up to the stage with him and do something. So get ready, if you go, you could be the next one playing clowns! lol

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We had a 20 minutes break in the middle of the show, which is good for the little ones cause the show lasts for about a couple of hours. Little E needed to have a nappy change so Sam took him to the baby changing area, which was right outside in some facilities they had arranged for families. They were clean and well looked after, so that’s a plus if you go with children.

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The second half of the show will leave you with the mouths opened for sure. Everyone was in awe and we can definitely say the artists deserved the final big applause they received from all the audience. My favourite part was the woman who did all sorts of acrobatics inside a sphere representing like she was up in the moon, with “Hijo de la Luna” (Son of the Moon) a Mecano’s song, playing in the background. I love that Spanish group from the 90’s and that’s a beautiful song. As soon as J heard it she turned around and said to me “Mum! That’s Spanish! Probably that girl (the artist) speaks Spanish!” haha…so cute. I was happy she could recognise one of the 3 languages she speaks.

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We can definitely say that the Moscow State Circus was a great family experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves. My recommendation if you have young children is to get the early session so they don’t feel that tired at the end. But even our 1 year old loved it! He clapped along with everyone and danced on his seat with the music. Our 5 year old wanted to meet the clown, but we had to leave that for another occasion. As for us, adults, can say that we were quite surprised and astonished with the show. You enjoy 2 hours of performances but if you think about it -can you imagine how many hours of training they must go through?!- That is just a prove to me that nothing is impossible if we work hard enough to achieve it. Just like they did! The Moscow State Circus.

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“Moscow, Moscow Join us for a casatchok, We’ll be dancing ’round the clock, Ha ha ha ha ha Hey!”

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You are still on time to see them! They will be at Event City, Manchester, until Sunday 26th February. Visit their website to choose the best option to buy the tickets.

**Tickets were given to us for the purpose of this review but all our opinions are genuine and our own.

 

#WordlessWednesday – Who’s behind us?!

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Who’s behind us? 3 men riding a camel on the beach…it could only be, The Wise Men! 😀

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!

 

#VDLN- Mecano “Another Year”

If you’re from the 90’s and lived in Spain around that time, you are already humming this song, yes or no? Actually, this Spanish band started back in 1981 according to what I’ve read around, but I still know by heart some of their lyrics that I remember listening during my childhood and adolescence.

For this Spanish #Linky called “Viernes Dando la Nota” (Stand Out Friday) I have chosen the song “Un año mas” (Another year) because who really stood out a couple of weeks ago was my mum and I, during our Christmas visit to Barcelona.

This thing of having a smartTV makes you watch YouTube all the time, so my mum decided to search for that song. Without further ado and no plan at all we started our little duet with all our might and heart! with very little ear but loads of enthusiasm. Our special audience, my husband and little boy, didn’t try to leave the room while we were singing and trying to match the right syllables with the broken words.

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In case you’re curious to see who were the “artist” of this unplanned Karaoke! 😉

And these are the special moments why I love music so much. Because if I already liked the most well-known hits of this band, from now on, “Un año mas” will bring back to my mind the memory of my mother and I, in unison, laughing at ourselves and completely into this duet of spontaneity.

Here they are, some other popular songs of this group, in case you feel like doing some Karaoke during the weekend. 😉

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#MovieReview- Spanish movies that actually made us laugh

Nothing like watching a good comedy to get a smile or even a loud laugh from you to help you relax and release some stress. That’s why we bring you our own personal selection of the 4 Spanish movies that actually made us laugh.

Now if you’re an English speaking person you might not fancy the idea of watching a foreign movie, but trust me, if you give it a go, you might be quite surprised of the outcome. We love movies in general, but we are usually quite picky as well, because not only in the Spanish cinema industry but in other productions, many times there are explicit scenes that, from our point of view, are of no use at all to get the message across.  So finding a clean, family comedy, sometimes it can be a whole achievement.

So here it goes, 4 films where we laughed out loud and enjoyed as a family! Oh! by the way, the order doesn’t refer to quality, it’s just to organise them. 😉

#1 Que se mueran los feos (Hell to the Ugly)

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This is the tender story of a not so “good-looking” man that due to his mother’s death he decides to relocate to the village of his childhood where he will cross paths with a not too “attractive” sister-in-law that has recently been cheated by the husband. The situations that will come out and the sense of humour will make you have a good time watching this movie.

#2 Perdiendo el Norte (Losing the North)

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It might be because we are expats ourselves just like the main characters but if you have gone through an immigration adventure you will feel related to many things of this film. It basically talks about this two young men who, after finished their studies, they decide to relocate from Spain to Germany looking for better job opportunities. Encouraged by a TV program that shows what they think will be their real experience they arrived to the new country facing the  cruel truth  of the story.

#3 Ocho Apellidos Vascos (Eight Basque Surnames)

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Not the Catalonian ones please. You know what they say that “second parts were never good”, well, in this case, that’s completely accurate. Without intending to be a mean film critique that will rip the movie apart we just want to say that we didn’t enjoy the second part. The jokes, the dialogue was too forced, it didn’t flow naturally like in the first one.

But, hey, straight to the point. Eight Basque Surnames was a whole surprise to us! A romantic comedy between a Sevillian (someone from the south of Spain) and a Basque (someone from the north) two opposite cities with very different cultures that will make you giggle and have a good time as you watch it.

#4 Cuerpo de élite (Elite Squad)

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We had never heard about this one before but it was a good Christmas treat! Since we went back home, to Barcelona, for the holidays our family there recommended it to us. We couldn’t stop laughing throughout the whole movie. This “elite” squad get you to laugh out loud thanks to their very few individual skills but great team work. You’ve got the very Spanish patriotic (Ecuadorian), the guy from Catalonia, the one from Madrid, a Basque one, and a Sevillian woman. What can happen with such a mix, right?!

So here you have! We hope it was of help if you didn’t know what to watch during this weekend of blanket&tv. 🙂 What are some good comedies that you would recommend to us?

Dear Bear and Beany

#WordlessWednesday – At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

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At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!