Can’t Afford a Holiday? The Best Summertime Days Out

Can’t Afford a Holiday? The Best Summertime Days Out

We’re expected to take at least one summer holiday a year. But the getaways can often prove to be less idyllic than they are portrayed in the brochures. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on a family holiday, why not try a few day time escapes instead? Here are a some of the best days out that the UK has to offer.

British Grand Prix, Silverstone

It is every young racing fanatic’s dream to tear around the iconic Silverstone track representing their country at the British Grand Prix – the vast majority won’t ever get to do that, of course, so watching the race live is surely the next best thing. Held at the height of the British in July, the British Grand Prix is a perfect day out for the family. And remember, if you’re a learner driver just coming to terms with the rules of motoring, don’t copy the speeds of an F1 pro!

Raptor Foundation

The Raptor Foundation is a bird sanctuary and hospital in Woodhurst, East Anglia. The 30 acre site is home to a wide range of birds of prey, including owls, falcons, hawks and buzzards. The sanctuary is generally open every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day. Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit the site: opening hours are between 10am to 5pm, during which time there are three separate flying displays, at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. A family ticket costs £16.

Lizard Point, Cornwall

Lizard Point is the most southerly point in the whole of the UK. The rugged site, in the South West of England, features dramatic cliff top views with the spectacular spectacle of waves crashing into the craggy rocks below. On a clear summer’s day, the area is great for bird watching, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the elusive chough. For those with a taste for adventure, there is kayaking available nearby the site.

Go Ape, Bedgebury

There are a number of Go Ape sites in the UK, including the Forest of Dean, Thetford Forest and Crathes Castle; however, perhaps the best lies in Bedgebury Forest. The course, set in Kent, is suitable for children but challenging enough for adults, particularly those with an aversion to heights. The course features high ropes, nets and zip lines, one of which is a massive 170 metres in length.

Stickle Tarn, Lake District

The Lake District in Cumbria is home to some of the highest peaks in the UK, with famous fells such as Sergant Man, Harrison Stickle and Scaffel Pike. The walk up to Stickle Tarn may not be quite as strenuous as some in the area but it does make a beautiful, family friendly climb during the summer.

Walkers are accompanied for the duration of the ascent by little streams of water, which children tend to find fascinating. At the summit you can sit down and take in the view of the tarn or skim a few stones on the surface of the water, before heading back for a family lunch in a local pub. Here are a few other highly recommended walks in the area.

laked

photo source: http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/image/0018/170712/hd_walker_overlooking_kentmere_reservoir._james_cook._060.jpg

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Top Three Educational Programmes For Kids

Top Three Educational Programmes For Kids

Kids love television, and while some parents may be a little bit cautious of letting children watch too much TV, there are a wealth of programmes which could actually help your child out when it comes to educational development. This guest post explains more. 

While you still get cartoons and the like which don’t really teach kids much, there are still plenty of shows out there that help children to engage with the cornerstones of learning. Lessons which are taught by such programmes can come in very useful, both at school and in their day-to-day lives.

To really whittle it down, we’ve compiled a list of the top three programmes which are well worth getting your kids to watch if they must sit in front of the TV while you’re getting on with other things.

1. Sesame Street

An oldie but a real goodie, Sesame Street has been on the screen since way back in 1966. Conceived after producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morriset wanted to make a show which would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them,” you can be sure that this is a safe bet.

Designed to hold the attention of children while teaching them important lessons, the show’s success is largely thanks to the work of Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. The hosts are ethnically diverse, all the characters are bright and colourful and key messages are conveyed with songs and cute sketches.

Today, it’s more popular than ever and enjoys a cult following thanks to characters such as the Cookie Monster and Big Bird.

sesame street

2. Blue’s Clues

One for younger children, Blue’s Clues ran for just over ten years and still enjoys regular airtime slots on Nick Jr. The story is simple – the host of the show gives the viewing audience a puzzle, for which the dog Blue will leave clues behind.

It’s then up to the host, with the help of the children viewing, to solve the puzzle.

One of the best things about this show is that it encourages children to interact with what is happening on screen. Plenty of studies have been conducted proving that repeat viewings of Blues Clue’s work to increase a child’s attention and enhance their capacity for logical thinking.

3. Arthur

Created back in 1996, this children’s cartoon is still going strong, focussing on the interactions between family and friends and the basics of a good moral and ethical standing. The show is mainly targeted at children and pre-teens.

The story focuses on Arthur, an anthropomorphic aardvark dealing with the ups and downs of family life. Some hard-hitting issues which are dealt with very well on the show include asthma, cancer, Asperger syndrome and dyslexia.

While it may be a little too complicated for very young children, it’s certainly worth a watch.

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My Ideal Road Trip

My Ideal Road Trip

Back in my twenties, I spent a summer Greek Island hopping with an ex-boyfriend and it was such fun and we visited so many different islands and saw so many amazing sights, and we met some lovely people along the way. It was a cheap trip as we took a tent and some back packs and just bought our return flights and then the  boat/ferry tickets we required as we explored our way around as many of the islands as we could before our money ran out and we had to return home.  Sadly, that is the only spot of travelling I have done and it was only for two months when I was 25. I have visited a few different countries when I have been on holiday  but no more travelling in such a free spirited way.

That Greek Island hopping trip got me thinking though about where else I would like to go on an adventure, and for a long time after I would dream about where I would like to go next.  Although there remain so many different countries that I would like to visit, the one trip which stands out and I am most keen to achieve, because it is something I REALLY want to do before I am too old to be able to, is to take a road trip around America.

There is something about America that has always appealed to me probably in part due to the films and TV shows I have watched over the years which have shown off its amazing landscapes, monuments, buildings and coastal views.  Road trip movies like Thelma and Louise has always stuck in my mind and not just because it was the first time I saw and fell in love with Brad Pitt!! The stunning scenery that was the back drop to the film had me captivated and  he fact that it showed two women heading off for a weekend  road trip appealed to me (and Brad Pitt of course *ahem*!).  There are so many parts of the country that I would like to see and explore that it would need to be more than a fortnights holiday! Therefore, what I would love to do is to take out a long term car hire  that would enable me to do such a massive road trip across the United States. The best vehicle to do this in is a winnebago which would allow me to take my time to take in all the wonderful sights, sounds and scenes of America. To be able to live in such a big home on wheels would be a lot of fun, to be ablle to just pull over and sleep without the need for motels would be perfect.Plus of course, now with a family in tow it would accommodate us all easily too. (Assuming we take the boys as this may end up now being a trip that gets done in our ‘golden’ years!).

winnebago

I really hope that one day my day dream becomes a reality , and that winnebago is ready for me to embark and begin my Americsan road trip in. Plus,  if I were to see Brad Pitt …….. well that would be a BIG bonus!!

Where would you like to take a road trip?

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Getting the best deal for your family phone contracts

Getting the best deal for your family phone contracts

Affording phones for all the family must be an expensive monthly outgoing so it is important to find the best deal at the best price. The following guest post has done its research and found some  of the best ones around.

The evolution of phone technology has been nothing short of staggering in recent years. The changes in the last ten years have meant that we not only have smaller phones, but more affordable pay plans too. With so many providers attempting to undercut each other to make their deals more appealing, it’s hardly surprising that people of all ages have a phone now.

Bphoneop

Which, inevitably, brings us to families and landlines. With mobile rates being as low as they are, why would anyone even bother with having a landline? It’s just another unnecessary expense. It’s a given that everyone in your family wants their own phone. So what’s the best solution? You’ll find that there are actually quite a few, thanks to modern technology.

Giffgaff

Giffgaff made waves in the market with their unique and promising ‘community’ concept. This is where members of the service are encouraged to help with the company’s operations. Giffgaff will reward you for helping to promote the network and for providing support to other members on a community forum.

In return, you’ll be rewarded remuneration through Giffgaff’s ‘Payback’ system. If you pass a SIM on to a friend, you’ll receive 500 ‘Payback Points’ once the SIM is activated. Last year in June, Giffgaff paid out nearly £2 million to their customers.

Skype

Skype isn’t exactly new technology. The internet screamed for joy when it was released all the way back in 2003. But it’s come a long way since then. Starting off with voice-to-voice calls, Skype offers a variety of services now, some at a slightly extra cost. You can do video conference calling for instance, and even top up an online account to call real phones at a lower rate.

If you all have smartphones at home, you can install Skype on all of them and use it on your phones. Genius.

Sainsbury’s Nectar Deal

If you have a Sainsbury’s in your area and it’s the supermarket that your family primarily uses (and you have Nectar cards), it might be worth your while exploring Sainsbury’s phone deals in further detail. You can collect double Nectar points for every £1 that you spend on mobile top ups from Sainsbury’s.

Furthermore, you can now link your Nectar card to your Sainsbury’s phone number. This means that you can collect double points straight away. Sainsbury’s will send you a text every now and again to let you know how many points you’ve built up.

It’s important to remember that disproportionate pricing for mobile plans shouldn’t dishearten you. There are good deals out there, you just need to know where to look so you can make great savings for your family.

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Top Tips For Saving Money On Holiday

Top Tips For Saving Money On Holiday

We have arrived back this afternoon from a weeks holiday here in the UK, and while I am still wishing I was away so as to avoid the mountain of laundry currently residing in my utility room, I am still sat here smiling at all the wonderful memories my family and I made and shared together while we were away.

Whenever I know that we have a  holiday coming up, I like to be prepared and think of ways to have an enjoyable time away but also not an overly expensive one. Afterall, affording a holiday takes a lot of saving up for and then you need spending money for food and days out etc…

Here are my own personal top  holiday money saving tips

1. Saving For A Sunny/Rainy Day
Putting away a few coins here and there can really help towards your spending money.  It is amazing how much you can save just by putting away some £2 coins a few months before you depart for your holiday. I managed to save £50 for our recent break away.

2. Pack A Few Essentials
I always like to take tea bags, coffee and some bottles of water and any other such items that will save me buying lots of hot drinks while away as a trip to a coffee shop/cafe can cost almost £10 for the 4 of us without including food. I also take water so that we have drinks in our room for evenings or mornings for the boys, and a pint of milk to make hot drinks, as UHT milk is ok but not that nice!

3. Google The Area & Do Some Research
I always turn to google for some ideas of days out and places to visit – preferably ones that are free or cheap. Also to see if there are any deals/money off codes for admission.

So those are my tips. For more useful money saving ideas why not check out The Ulitmate Guide To Saving Money On Holiday

The ultimate guide to saving money on holiday from Dealchecker.co.uk

What would your top holiday money saving tips be?

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