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

 

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Peruvian cuisine on our “Tasty Recipe Mondays”

We love cooking different dishes from our countries of origin. Did you know that Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the best in the world and has been awarded many times the World Best Culinary Destination?! So we thought that today we would share with you one of our tasty recipes, easy to prepare and delicious for the whole family, specially the little ones.

Since I was born in Lima, Peru, when I lived with my parents, back in Barcelona, every once in a while my mum used to cook some really tasty dishes. This is something we have continued on our family now, and even though I mainly follow a Mediterranean diet, now and then, we try something from Brazil or Peru. I think it’s a wonderful way to share other cultures with our children. Something very important, if, like in our case, you’re a multi-cultural family. But I think that even if we weren’t I would still like to try new recipes from around the world.

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Anyway! So today on our Monday Tasty Recipe blogpost we have recorded ourselves preparing Cau-Cau de pollo (it’s like a chicken stew) It is easy and simple. Watch our video to see how to prepare it, but if you want to have a list with all the ingredients, here it is:

For 2 adults + toddler + baby (9 months old)

3 chicken breast

4 potatoes peeled and cut in squares

2 onions peeled and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced

mint

palillo (it’s translated like string bean) but I used food colour instead

half lemon juice

salt

250ml chicken stock

accompanied with white rice

I would share with you the instructions on how to prepare it but I think it will be easier for you to watch the video!

Your kids will love it! Well, ours do! 😀 Let us know how it went when you try it! We will love to read your comments.

 

 

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Visiting Manchester Christmas Market with kids

Even though we are on our 4th year since moving to UK we have never thought of going to the so well-known Manchester Christmas Market, let alone going with the kids. So we decided that this year would be different and taking advantage that we had family staying with us over the weekend we decided to give it a try. It is always a good excuse to go when you have someone who is not local.

Let us share our experience with you and maybe you can get some tips so that if you decide to visit you can make the most out of it.

Because we live 20 minutes drive from the centre we went by car, but usually the most affordable way of going is by Metrolink. If you’re travelling with the family they have a family ticket you can get, which I think goes around £6 for a day travel card (2 adults + 3 children) which is really good. So as I said, we drove there cause it was just more convenient for us, but unfortunately we had to spend a bit too much on parking. It was raining and to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood to walk 20 minutes so I could get a better price. Sometimes it’s worth doing it if you’re with little ones and you know they will get tired easily.

Before going I checked their website and saved their Manchester Christmas Market trail map.

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It is quite useful cause then you know which areas you want to skip and which not. As I said, we were with family on that day so we decided to start our little tour on Albert Square. There it has the main concentration of food stalls, some crafts, and yummy hot chocolates., AND the giant Santa! The lights, the atmosphere, always busy on a Saturday, so you need to be very careful with the kids. I didn’t let my 5 year old go for a second. As soon as she started smelling the frankfurts, burgers, etc and “begging” to try some of it we took off and went somewhere else. haha.. it’s not we’re stingy, but we weren’t going to spend 10 pounds per head on food on that day. I was ready with some snacks that I had brought from home. 🙂

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We walked down Market street, all the way up to Cathedral Gardens, where you can find the family friendly area.

No alcohol allowed, more space to walk around and a few rides the kids can go. Also they have an ice rink. You can find exact prices on the website but it goes around £10 for an adult, £7 something for an under 14, for a 45 minutes session.  Rides are usually 2 tokens and each token equals 1 pound. You can get them from the Ice Rink ticket office too. We weren’t that lucky on that day cause a couple of rides weren’t working but J had some fun at a little train.

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Oh well! As usual, anywhere you go, if you’re accompanied with the right people it doesn’t matter that much so we can say our day out was lovely. J enjoyed herself quite a bit, and we all had a nice walk around the market, which for the first time for us we went intentionally, and not just by accident! Probably locals and frequent attenders must think we missed many things but for our little family of 4 with 2 under 5’s was more than enough for a first visit 🙂

**We’ve got really cool pics of the day on our Instagram account. Don’t forget to pop by and follow us there too** 🙂 

Top 6 things to take with you when flying with kids

From our experience with travelling with 2 under 5 a few times, let us share with you some things that have worked for us to make the trip more bearable. So without further ado, our top 6 things to take with you when flying with kids:

#1 The Hand luggage

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Her first own hand luggage! 😀

This last summer we checked  a few kids hand luggage trying to find the right one for our 5 year old. I’ve seen many families using “trunki” but after checking dimensions and features it didn’t fit quite well for our needs, to be honest. So here, we found online this cute one, from Sophia the first. What we liked the most was the 4 wheels, makes it easier to push around the airport and the hard case…our child would seat on it every time she wanted a break. Plus, compared to other ones, had enough room to actually carry a few things in it.

#2 The Travel Pillow

We bought ours from Poundland (it was more than a pound) but you can easily find it in other places such as Primark, M&S, Quality Save, that it’s up to your pocket. This is a must if you’re travelling with little ones so you can protect them from any stiff neck during the flight.  Trust me, if you’re lucky enough, they will fall asleep and you will need this pillow.

#3 The Snacks

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Doesn’t it happen in your family that every time you go out with your kids they suddenly get starving as if they hadn’t eaten for a month?! Well, flights are not any different, apart from the money you can spend if you decide to buy things at the airport. Where, for example, a bottle of water can cost you almost 2 pounds and if you buy the food during the flight you can expect to pay 3 times the cost of a Tesco meal…

So, since you are flying with kids, you can put some snacks in your cabin bag, just don’t buy any drinks before the trip, remember that anything bigger than 100ml will be taken out at customs. For our last flight, we bought some crisps, small bags of fruit and cereal bars from Asda. Also, don’t forget if you’re flying with a baby you are allowed to take with you your baby’s food along with some milk. Just in case, it is always safe to check the airline you’re flying with beforehand.

#4 The Entertainment

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You can see the colouring AND the travel pillow ! (a spiderman fan 😉 )

Let’s be honest, the excitement of seeing an aeroplane will last them, for how long, maybe 20-30 minutes…then you are in a place where there are loads of people, many corridors, too many gates and doors, so you want them to be entertained and by your side. For our little E, who’s 8 months old now, on our last flight he was 5, we took a few of his toys (the small ones of course) For princess J, we took a colouring book, some crayons, and a couple of barbies. She paid more attention to colouring than to playing so probably next time Barbie won’t get to come with us! But you know your children and will pick the right entertainment for them. Our advice, make it small and easy to carry. Something that in any case you can put inside your hand luggage at any time.

#5 The wipes

Between snacks, running around, crying, or whatever you need, it is always safe to have some baby wipes handy. You will use them for anything, ANYTHING! 😉

#6 Kids app that will work off-line

Or during plane-mode. If your iPad or any other device is full of games that will only work online you won’t want them to spend all your internet during the flight or while waiting at the airport. So better safe than sorry and make sure you have the right apps for them, along with some children movies that you previously downloaded. Oh! and don’t forget the headphones! You don’t want to be a pain for whoever is sitting next to you.

Oh well, now that you are super ready with our top 6 things to take with you when flying with kids, relax and enjoy the flight! Wherever you are going, and no matter how long or horrible the experience may be, -hopefully not- remember that it will only be a small part of your whole journey! 🙂

Any other recommendations? Things that have worked for you? Looking forward to reading them 🙂

low cost airlines

Our Top 5 Low-cost Airlines for a family trip

Over 3 years living in UK, travelling twice a year back to Barcelona, either for Christmas or Summer time, or lucky us, both sometimes, has made us try a few low-cost airlines and we thought to ourselves, let’s do a ranking of our top 5 low-cost airlines for a family trip, shall we?

Before going into it, let us just clarify a couple of things, most of our trips, if not all, so far, have been from Manchester to Barcelona, so our opinion is based on that route. And, because we are not filthy rich, we won’t mention any of the other normal airlines, which I suppose can be an option for some, but if you want to travel on a budget and want to have a rough idea of what to expect from a low-cost airline when travelling with kids I recommend you to keep reading 🙂

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So…without further ado…

#5 Ryanair

Price is usually one of the lowest ones in the market. Their website is quite easy to navigate in. They usually offer discounts for children’s luggage. All these pros have made us choose it more than once but it cannot be in number one because of these things: seats are quite small and not too comfortable, they don’t have a priority pass through the gates if you go with children, unless you have paid for it, like everybody else. Cheap tickets usually mean inconvenient departure or arrival times. You don’t want to have to leave home at 4 am with two kids because you need to be at the airport at 6 am…trust me, it’s not good for anyone.

#4 Vueling

Their bookings are quite easy to manage. Their staff is usually friendly. This is based on my brother’s experience when travelling from Barcelona to Manchester. I remember once they had to land in Birmingham because of a storm but they handled the situation quite well. They kept the people informed at all times and even the hostesses were quite nice with my little niece. Not in number 1 either because prices can vary quite a lot and the way they charge for the luggage according to your type of ticket is a bit of a hassle…

#3 Easyjet

They were our first choice for a few trips actually. Website easy to navigate, I really liked their app that kept me updated at all times. The inside of the aircraft was well looked-after, something that you appreciate when you have to breastfeed your little one during the flight…But it became too much having to get a bus from Manchester to Liverpool airport to then get the plane to Barcelona. Our “low-cost trip” would end in more hours and more money, and above all, more tiredness. If you’re travelling with little ones you want to make the experience as much enjoyable as possible, that means, short trip, quick nap and that’s it.

#2 Monarch

This low cost airline won our hearts on one of our trips. The seats are quite comfortable. You have priority pass when going with kids under 5 I think…not sure about the age now, but I do know you go first through the gate if you’re with little ones. Staff are friendly. Time flights are great, during the morning around 11 am maybe or then in the evening but not too late…The only problem? The price tickets…you wouldn’t consider it a low-cost airline depending on the time of the year you want to travel…

Finally, the “Oscar” goes to…

#1 Norwegian

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We traveled with them this last Summer since they recently opened new routes from Manchester, among them, to Barcelona. Heard about this and went to their website. I couldn’t believe how cheap I got the flights for end of July til mid August, definitely high season for such a touristic place like Barcelona. Because of work we had to reschedule our returned dates and Sam had to come back on his own first. I was able to sort this out through their Live Chat quite easily. A very friendly customer service assistant helped me solve it by splitting the tickets so I could then change the dates on each of them separately. Must confess that airport staff were more friendly from Barcelona to Manchester than the other way around. We were even given a plastic bag to put our pushchair inside to protect it. Also their aircrafts are more spacious than their competitors, plus brand new, and you can tell the difference. You don’t have priority pass with them, not that I can recall at least..but hey, overall it was the best travel experience so far. Also flying times are great, late afternoon or during the morning. One little thing that I’m not too happy about though, I still don’t get how it works their cashpoints (when you sign up) because I didn’t seem to get any through my purchase…

Anyway…we are going to visit family in January, and yes, this time we had to appeal to #5 so the flight tickets could be within our budget, but hey you’ve got the list now! Where are you travelling next?! Share with us your favourite ones!

 

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A Mum Track Mind
The Places We Will Go
trilingual

What is raising trilingual children like?

Are you planning to raise your children trilingual? Would you like to give your offspring the opportunity to speak and understand more than one language?

Multilingualism for us is one of the assets we could provide to our family free of charge, but not free of effort, must admit.

Before you start doing it you might like to read our own experience as a multilingual family. When we decided to go for it I read everything I could about the subject so in the aim of bringing some light we would like to share what is raising trilingual children like not from a professional point of view but from a family who’s living it every day.

Having said this, please, keep in mind every home and situation are different but at least you’ve got one more to consider with this post.

My husband is Brazilian, so Portuguese speaking, I’m Spanish speaking and we live in UK, so children, well our 5 y.old, baby is only 7 months old, speaks English as well. It wasn’t always like that though. When we first married we used to live in Barcelona, a Catalan speaking city in Spain. One thing we had decided even before getting married is that we would teach our children our own languages. Main reason of that time: so they could be able to communicate with our families. I also wanted to teach them English but since it’s not my mother tongue I wasn’t completely confident about it.

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no language barrier when it comes to football…Forca Barca!

When deciding what approach we would choose we came across the OPOL method. It stands for “One Parent, One Language”  Each parent consistently speaks only one of the two languages to the child. We thought that, either living in Barcelona or moving to UK, it could be the one that would work best for us. Since it allowed us to communicate easily with the children.

But it wasn’t about talking only…

We thought it would just be a matter of patience and speaking but raising trilingual children is much more than that. The first year our little girl was exposed to Catalan and above all Spanish. She grew and developed according to her age. Then we moved to UK when she was 18 months and English became her third language. I don’t think it delayed her speech but it obviously had some impact on her, as it did in all of us as well.  We even took her to the Ear specialist because we thought she couldn’t listen too well (this was when she was 2) it turned out to be her hearing was just being “selective” and she was just ignoring us whenever she wasn’t interested on what we were saying… -cheeky girl! I know- she was perfectly healthy and I was very pleased with the doctor who encouraged us to keep talking to her in our own languages. In his own words he said “This is an amazing opportunity you’re giving her in many senses”

What else apart from speaking then?

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The Portuguese speaking side of the family 🙂 (just part of it)

Reading books in your own language or translating them as you read them, travelling to visit family, regular Skype conversations with them, teaching traditions from your home country and learning the new ones from your adopted one, and most important, being consistent, at home and outside, regardless of who’s around, regardless of the situation, all those things have been part of this process and without them our child wouldn’t be able to understand the three languages and speak “almost fluent” in all 3. She just turned 5 and started school full time but before that she attended a local nursery three times a week. She still mixes them a bit but she knows what language to speak with who. Hubby and I speak Spanish with each other so I would say that it’s the dominant one but we are working on that so she can speak Portuguese with him and doesn’t reply in Spanish. She replies in English who anyone that speaks to her in that language. And now that my husband’s family live closer she is improving her fluency with them also.

Giving her more than just the opportunity to communicate

Our main reasons to raise them multilingual where: family and better future and job opportunities. As time has gone by I’ve come to realised that it is also a fascinating growing experience that expands their minds and makes them more aware of other cultures, other languages, different backgrounds. It opens up their understanding of the world. She wants to speak Chinese because she said “There’s a lot of people who are Chinese, and how am I going to be able to speak to them mummy?” One of her best friends is Russian and able to speak some French so they’re always trying to learn new words from each other!

So what is raising trilingual children like? An amazing, hard-working but very rewarding experience. You will face funny situations and not so funny ones but at the end everything will be alright, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end… 😉

 

How to overcome post-vacation syndrome or my 3 glimpses of joy

OK, it’s been a while since we left behind the beautiful beaches, the sunshine and our dear family in Barcelona, besides the first week of school is over now so we should say that it is time to move on and get over the post-vacation syndrome, don’t you think?

First of all, let me just clarify a few things, I’m not a doctor whatsoever so if you truly are suffering from some sort of depression please seek medical advice as it can be treated as any other illness. Looking for help is the right thing to do. This post just intends to share with you how we’ve overcome those feelings of burden, loneliness and stress that come when you’re back to a routine and are no longer surrounded by a warm weather and a cold drink. 😉

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Let me confess to you all that as soon as I landed and got home I was not in the mood at all and I searched for any excuse possible to start an argument, I know…that’s not right, but that’s what happened. The rest of the week didn’t go too much better but I tried not to be so grumpy. I don’t know, I guess I had mixed feelings of facing my routine again, not being surrounded by the people I love, apart from my own family of course. So the days went by and I noticed I had lost some spark, some sense of humour and I was suffering, but above all, my own family were suffering as well. I must say that the little ones had their own way to express it…E for example, being just a baby didn’t laugh as often as he used to, basically because there he had tons of people smiling and playing with him, and J, she was sad as well. She understands that we have work and school here in UK but she, without a shadow of a doubt, would go back to live in Barcelona. I don’t really think she understands that she wouldn’t be able to spend the whole time in a swimming pool and playing with her yayus though… but anyway she was so sweet, she mentioned to Sam her concern about being away from her grandparents. In her own words she said “Who’s gonna be with them? There’s no J there, we need to create another me to go live with them” My heart almost broke when I heard that.

at the beach

So now comes the turning point. No sadness last forever. I knew I was skipping some things that would help me to be more focused and in tune with the Spirit. Remember, as we said before, we are a believer family, so praying and scripture study work for us. For you might be something different, maybe meditation, maybe a good read, whatever makes you feel more in peace with yourself, the important thing is that you’ve got something. So it was the middle of the week and didn’t expect any visits when two people knocked on my door. I was alone with the kids and I get a bit paranoid of opening the door to strangers but this time I went and the two sister missionaries from my church were standing there. They came in, had a drink and we had a nice chat. Then they challenged me to do something: every day I needed to look for my 3 glimpses of joy and write them down somewhere, so by the end of the week I would have a list of the things that made us happy. I agreed to do it and so I started on that same day.

At night, during dinner time, I shared this with Sam and we all thought of what things had made us happy that day. Making that effort helped me to go out of the “darkness side” and see the many reasons I had in my life every day to feel good, to laugh, to cry of joy… Let me share a few things that I recall very quick:

One day, while J and Sam were at the park, only the two of them, she picked up a flower for me and Sam took a picture of her with a beautiful smile on her face.

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Thinking of mummy…

Other of my glimpses of joy was the sunshine we enjoyed one of the days. Another one was to see little man enjoying a lot one of the new solid foods he’s trying.

Then we got to enjoy some really nice ice creams after the park one day.

As you can see, there’s no fanciness or spending lots of money to go back to your true-self, to the one that doesn’t need holidays to feel good, to laugh. Being thankful, acknowledge the bright side of things, the people you love and the ones that you need to work a bit more to do so, help you, at least, helped us, overcome post-vacation syndrome. Hope as you read this it will help you in some way or another too.

Have a great back to school, back to work you all!!

PS What are your 3 glimpses of joy for this week?! 🙂

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Petite Pudding

10 things we miss from Barcelona

A while ago we shared with you 10 things we had learnt after living 3 years in UK. Now, it’s the time to tell you 10 things we miss from Barcelona, our homeland, the city where I grew up, where Sam and I met, got married and where J was born. Definitely compelling reasons to make us write this post. So here we go (by the way, they’re randomly organised so it doesn’t mean number 1 is the one we miss the most) AND obviously this doesn’t take into consideration our family who live there, they are the ones that we miss the most of course!

Having said this, without further ado…

#1 Cacaolat with Croissant

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Oh what a perfect combination for a wonderful breakfast! You can have it in a cafe or at your home, a just made croissant from the bakery, still warm and fluffy accompanied by this chocolate milk made by this Catalonian brand. It’s making my mouth water only thinking about it! haha

#2 An outdoor Swimming Pool

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I know it doesn’t get as hot here as it does there but last summer we went to one that is located just outside the city, in Sabadell, and the atmosphere was so cool. Water slides, picnic area, music playing in the background. We had such a really good time there! and it was quite affordable actually for everything that got to offer.

#3 The Beach, but not any beach, Sitges

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Home for the Film Festival, even though it’s a bit far away, it is a great place. You not only have the beach but also the castle ruins to explore and then the streets nearby full of restaurants and shops. One of my favourites from there is a place that makes the most delicious waffles I’ve ever tried!

#4 Montjuic and the Magic Fountain 

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If you’ve been or have heard of Barcelona you know this one had to be listed. An spectacular show of music, lights and the water that it seems to move along all of it. Half an hour presentation, usually ending with the Barcelona Olympics 92 song by Freddy Mercury and Montserrant Caballe, a classic. I can go back in time and picture myself there so many times, so many memories…

#5 A big mall in every corner

Unfortunately, here in Manchester we only have the intu Trafford Centre as the main place for recreation and shopping. Well, in Barcelona there are quite a few, not as big, probably, but sometimes quantity better than quality, it gives you more options of places to go out! 🙂

#6  Japanese restaurants

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It is such a shame but here where we live there are very few restaurants, that we know of, that sell sushi and sashimi. On the other hand, Barcelona is getting quite popular for the Japanese gastronomy so we always like to try a different one every time we go.

#7 Street shows in Las Ramblas

las ramblas

Yes, people, that’s me a long long time ago.. 😉

Another typical touristic place, but definitely you get some good vibes watching the young people (OMG I’m getting so old! I can’t believe I just said that! LOL) break dancing, the statues, the mimes, you never get bored of it. But, please, always be careful of your belongings, pickpockets are quite frequent in such places. ( we don’t miss that bit! :P)

#8 Patatas bravas

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Our favourite tapas. Sam and I like to try this appetizer at different restaurants and do our own ranking.

#9 Chiringuitos, especially in Summer

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There is nothing like the feeling of just chilling at the beach having a drink while laughing with your friends and if you dare to do so, go into the water at night!

#10 Obviously, the SUN and the BLUE Sky!

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It might seem hard to believe but I was telling Sam as I was writing this post that if I had written it on our first year in UK I would have had more things that I could list. The thing though is that after 3 years in Manchester, I like quite a few things of this city and I’ve got used to many of them so when I go back to Barcelona I kinda miss them too…

Life of an expat can be so tricky sometimes, ending up between two worlds, a continuous feeling of homesickness regardless of where you are!

Have you ever experienced something like that? What is that place that you miss being there?

10 things we have learnt after living in UK for 3 years

We are getting very close to our 3rd year anniversary of this British Adventure, so even though we are not experts on the matter, we can still share with you a few things we have learnt so far:

#1 Manchester is London, UK is London, always.

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When you move to UK, it doesn’t matter if you told family and friends you’re going to live in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh or Manchester, you are always relocating to London. So every time they ask you, they will always say “How’s it going in London? -No, I live in Manchester. -Yes, I heard “London” is a big city”… ALWAYS.

#2 Be polite, even if you don’t really mean it.

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So, you will say “Thank you”, when you get of the bus, even if the bus driver tried to kill you and didn’t even left you close to the bus stop. You will say “sorry” when you’re in the store and you were a “bit” too close when trying to overpass someone on the aisle. You won’t raise the voice if you get really mad at someone, you will just stare at them, thinking what you would do to them if you could, and then after a dramatic pause, turn around and go.

#3 Fish and chips and Beans on toast

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It’s what it is: fish AND chips, beans ON toast. There’s no magic flavours hidden behind these so well-known British cuisine. No surprises, crystal clear, you will get what it is: a piece of fried fish with French fries, or a can of beans pour out over a toast. Is it good? Is it not? we’ll leave it to your palate to decide.

#4 The absence of rain is GOOD weather

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If it’s not raining it’s good enough to do all sorts of outdoor activities, -please, advice to new comers, never wait until it gets sunny or you might end up enjoying yourself just 3-4 days of the year! trust us on this, no rain is good enough.

#5 along with that, you will never wear an umbrella with you

We found out about that on our first year, it seemed like magic, but we would be soaking wet and everyone around would be completely dry, how? we still don’t know! we thought maybe the weather was being a bit racist…haha, jokes apart, you seriously don’t need an umbrella, just a hoodie. It’s all you need in this crazy weather.

#6 There is more than one type of curry

Before, we only had heard about a few Indian restaurants in Barcelona and that was about it, never tried curry or any Indian food. Since we moved here we have learnt to prepare our own Korma curry and we can distinguish many other flavours. Now I know what ginger is for! haha

#7 Every Spanish food must have chorizo

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Apparently, according to Tesco, Asda or even La Tasca, paella must be cooked with chorizo, if you want “Spanish chicken” must have chorizo as well, AND be spicy! It’s one of those misconceptions that I don’t know who initiated here after probably travelling too many times to Majorca or Benidorm.

#8 You will always give a card on Christmas

It doesn’t matter if you personalize it or not. (we’ve been given empty cards, no name on them, at all, that we could actually use ourselves to give them to someone else) haha No, no, we would never do that! but yes, cards are an important part of British culture. You can say anything with a card. Say sorry, say I miss you, congratulations, to the big brother, to the auntie, to grandma, to your boyfriend, seriously…they cover all range of topics, and of course, Christmas is a perfect opportunity.

#9 You will get to know a British layer after layer

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They won’t show you all at once, you will only get to know them little by little, cause what it would seemed a cold person, might be the tenderest one, after delving deep into their hearts. And who you thought you would never get along with might become a true friend and help you in times of need.

#10 Generosity is a frequent attribute in these isles.

There are many ways to fund raise, many causes that you can be involved with, many people willing to help, they might stop you on the street, or you could start your own campaign, and people actually donate. Of course, everyone is different, but as a general thing, we have noticed this in more than one person we have come across.

The list could go on and on. We are still learning so many things. Immigration is one of the best ways to grow in all the sense of the word. Adapting to a new culture, new people, new places is hard, and now I know that unless you have experienced it for yourself, you’re not able to understand what it feels. You can find all sorts of barriers, language can be one, but won’t be the only one, but when you get to overcome them, and laugh at your own mistakes, you are able to see the forest with the right eyes, and you just forget of the tree.

The best 5 places for a low-cost family day-out in Manchester

Hey! You’re not going to believe this but there’s actually a sunbeam coming through my window while I’m typing this post! Yep, that only means one thing…Summer, or the Manchester version of Summer is getting closer! We can’t complain…this weekend, a heatwave is apparently reaching the mancunian valley. For those who are from a warmer country don’t build up your hopes that much, “heatwave” means a bit over 20 degrees, but trust me, you will appreciate it!

So we’ve thought it would be a good idea to share with you our 5 favourite “low-cost” places to visit in Manchester. We are a high-standard family with a low-cost budget so if you want to save some pennies but still have some fun read through our suggestions! 🙂

#1 Wythenshawe Park (Park and Farm)

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Easy access if you don’t have a car. The metrolink will take you there. You have play area, green areas to play some football and an admission free farm. It was one of the first parks we found when we arrived to Manchester. It can be a good place to visit if you want to have a picnic and give some fresh air to your little ones. They usually have an ice-cream van by, but just in case they don’t it’s better if you bring your own drinks and snacks.

Cost: only petrol or public transport tickets. 🙂 See more info here

#2 Manchester Aquatics Centre

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We like this one because of the 2 slides they have on the baby pool, plus facilities are usually well looked-after, you’re close to town if you want to go for a walk later on and price admission is cheaper than other leisure centres. Children go free but must be accompanied by an adult. I recommend checking their website or giving them a call before you go, just in case the baby pool is closed.

Cost: petrol/parking/ public transport + admission fees (adult £3.20 – junior or +60 £2.00) Check their website here.

#3 Children Centre

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You can find them in your neighbourhood. They are community centres that will provide you with a handful of activities throughout the week for your kids and yourself. There’s no charge. You just go and have a good time, and if you’re quite sociable you will make new friends easily or at least enjoy a good chat with another parent. This last week Sam and I went to a Baby Massage session. It was…interesting! haha..I’ll tell you more about it on a different post.

Cost: just the calories you burn to walk there 😉 Go to your local gov.uk website to find the closest one to you.

#4 Going to the Cinema

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What?? Wait a second?! didn’t we say that these were “low-cost” activities? Don’t worry, we’re not going mad and spend 10 pounds per ticket plus the popcorn. BUT, we love watching films, and we do watch a lot at home, however, every once in a while we do go to the big screen, even with E, that’s a whole new adventure, breastfeeding in the middle of the dark while “enjoying” a movie! (but again, that’s a different story!) Going straight to the point: Odeon Kids where prices start from £2.50. The screen times are usually mornings during the weekend and bank holidays. You will need to check first though, and not all that glitters is gold, they won’t show you the latest releases, so don’t expect to see the Jungle Book for 2.50…probably in a few months. 😉

Cost: petrol/public transport + £ 2.50 per ticket

#5 Manchester Natural History Museum (The Manchester Museum)

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Or the place with the “big dinosaur” as J says. We’ve been to MOSI (The museum of Science) and we like it there as well, but J has more fun in this one. All museums in Manchester are free of charge, so the only cost, your time! By the way, they both are quite accessible by public transport, and if you’re driving and need a cheap parking place in town, you can find a few for 3.50 all day. It will depend how long you want to walk for.

Cost: petrol/parking/public transport      Check their latest news here

These are just a few suggestions based on our own experience trying to find affordable places and have fun at the same time. Very close to you, you will probably have green areas or a good park where to play with your kids. Indoor playgrounds are a good option as well, depending on which one you go, it will be more or less expensive. Libraries offer some entertainment for the kids. At the end, it all falls into your creativity and a good attitude to have a good family time regardless of the circumstances!

Which one are your favourite affordable places in Manchester or other areas in UK?

 

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