19 March 2019

Winter Sun in Cyprus for Families

I don’t know about you but I was getting so fed up of the cold and dark at the start of this year that I desperately wanted some Winter sun to escape to. I trawled tons of travel agents pages on Facebook and of course the big name travel companies online, desperately searching for somewhere to visit that would provide even a little heat and sunshine. I thought about Tenerife but it just seemed so expensive, then I came across a super cheap deal for Cyprus. The family and I had never been to Cyprus before and it looked like the hottest it would reach would be around 20c but that was good enough for me so I booked it up. I used a local travel agents, Moorelands Travel in Cowdenbeath, and they were fab. They didn’t mind me harassing them with tons of questions and were really helpful during the booking process.

The hotel I picked was in the Paphos area of Cyprus and was slap bang in the centre with a 2 minute walk to the sea front and right next to the little bus depot which was super handy. It was rated as a 3 star so it felt like a bit of a gamble but actually we were lucky and our room was fine. It wasn’t the cleanest it could have been and you did get a lot of tiny ants but staff seemed friendly enough and the two times that we did eat in the restaurant the food was tasty but there wasn’t a big choice. If I ever chose to go back I’d pick a different hotel though.

Before heading to Cyprus I did a quick internet search of recommended places to visit and discovered that the island was steeped in history. There are tons of beautiful historic sites and places to visit as well as some lovely things to do with the kids so I’m going to share a few here for you.

Paphos Harbour Castle
Coming from Scotland we have a fond love of Castles so felt we had to give this one a visit. It’s 2.50 euros for adults and kids are free which is reasonable (as are most historic sites in Paphos). The castle is very very small with no furnishings at all but the kids loved running round it and exploring. You will be round the castle in minutes however take your time to read all the info and enjoy the views from the roof top. They really are beautiful and make for some excellent photos.

Church of Agia Kyriaki and post St. Paul
This little beauty was right at the back of our hotel and we had lovely views from our balcony. It has a raised walk way so you can wonder around and look at all the beautiful pillars as well as having a peak inside the church. It’s also free so you can visit as many times as you like. If you’re into history this is one of the oldest churches in the world and according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty nine lashes for evangelizing Christianity in Paphos. He was tied on a column and whipped with a special whip. My son loved reading about this and viewing the supposed whipping pillar! Well worth a wonder round.

Pafos Zoo
A small but interesting zoo for the kids. Pafos Zoo was originally a bird park but has developed to include other animals such as lions, tigers and elephants. I highly recommend the bird show as it’s well done and you get to meet and feed a baby tiger afterwards for 20 euros. All money goes straight back into their conservation work which is lovely. You can also feed other animals around the park if there’s a keeper next to their enclosure but you have to pay extra for this. I really enjoyed the reptile room and so did the kids as it was full of venomous snakes that made for interesting reading.

Coral Bay
There isn’t any decent beaches in Paphos but the nearest one is Coral Bay in Peyia which is a short bus ride away. It’s 1.50 euro for an adult to ride the bus and 0.75 euro for kids. Really cheap and the buses are very similar to ours here in Scotland. The bus maps are also really easy to read and if all else fails the drivers are lovely. We took the bus from the depot straight to Coral Bay which was the last stop anyway. It’s a small beach but perfect for the kids to make sand castles and paddle in the water.

Tomb of the Kings
Basically this place is what it says on the tin. A large UNESCO world heritage site full of amazing tombs where bodies once lay. It’s a large site so make sure you have decent shoes as you can walk down into quite a few tombs. It’s a beautiful place and I’d highly recommend a visit. There’s lots to see so you could spend hours here exploring. Again you can get the local bus here. There’s a McDonald’s 5 minutes walk away so we got lunch and let the kids play (there’s a play frame upstairs) then walked to the tombs. It was a lovely afternoon out and kept the kids busy.

Cosmic World
Sometimes Winter in Cyprus can be a bit rainy and it did rain a couple of days whilst we were there but it didn’t spoil our fun. We just found other things to do like Cosmic World, a.k.a Cosmic Bowling, it’s a large indoor bowling alley with a huge soft play and tons of arcade/ride on machines for the kids. Definitely worth a visit as the kids will love it. You buy a wrist band for like 7 euro and the kids can play as long as they want. It’s also very clean which I loved!

Kings Avenue Mall
If you fancy a bit of shopping or if the weather’s poor then pop along to the Kings Avenue Mall. It’s a short walk away from Paphos Harbour but you can of course get the local bus if you want to. We walked up and had a nosey around. It’s basically like a big shopping mall in the UK with lots of familiar stores, restaurants plus a cinema if you fancy seeing a movie. There’s a huge store at the back called Jumbo which is a must visit. It’s on 3 different floors with one way in and one way out but it has everything you could ever think of. Best of all it’s super cheap!!

Paphos Archaeological Park
This massive historic site has it’s entrance right next to the harbour Castle and is again only 2.50 euros to enter. Also known as the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park it contains the major part of the important ancient Greek and Roman City. The site is still under excavation so who knows what else will be uncovered. Again wear good shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking but it really is worth seeing. The site is so big we never managed to get round it all with the kids so we’ll have to go back and visit another time.

So as you can see there’s tons of things to see and do in Cyprus that’ll keep the whole family happy. The sun was shining most of the time and if it did rain there was always somewhere to go. I’d say Cyprus is a little bit more expensive for eating out thanks to the euro but there’s a few gems out there worth visiting.

If you have any tips for exploring Cyprus then please do share in the comments. Thank you.

13 March 2019

Fabulous Gift Ideas for Mum This Mother's Day

Another year and another Mother's Day draws ever closer. I'm not quite as prepared this year as I'd like to be so I'm getting my butt in gear and pulling some ideas together for my lovely Mum and mother-in-law. I also have ideas of what I would love as a gift myself. I honestly don't need anything but just in case someone fancies popping a wee present my way *hint hint* then here's what I would love to receive.

Miss Needle Family Portrait
I love adorning the walls of my family home with photos of our adventures and the odd piece of beautiful art and prints. It just makes a house a home and definitely more personal to the owner. That's why these beautiful family portraits from Miss Needle are truly amazing. They're loving handmade to order and she even does baby scans!!! How beautiful.

Personalised Bracelet from Born Gifted
From previous posts you'll probably have guessed I love a little personalised item and this gorgeous personalised bracelet from Born Gifted is right up my street. They range from 1 heart to 3 hearts which can be personalised front and back if you so wish. I really like it because even the links are shaped like love hearts. So cute.

Hotel Chocolate Gift Set
Who doesn't love a bit of chocolate! I know I do and so does my Mum. She'd love this gorgeous gift set from Hotel Chocolat and so would I. It even has a little bottle of fizz to crack open and enjoy with the scrumptious treats. Delicious.

McLay & McLay Candle Co.
I've recently discovered these lovely candles from McLay & McLay. They smell amazing and they burn for ages. They have lovely reed diffusers as well which I've got my eye on so hopefully I'll get my hands on one of those in the near future. It would be perfect to freshen up the downstairs WC.

Mother’s Day High Tea at Loch Leven’s Larder
It wouldn't be Mother's Day without a little afternoon tea or a bite to eat and the local farm shop, Loch Leven's Larder, has a high tea on offer for all of us hard working Mums. So if you fancy popping along be sure to book your table as it's always a popular event. I'm sure I took my Mum along last year in fact.

10 January 2019

What To Do On A Rainy Day in Fife

It's that time of year again when the weather's a bit drab and it seems to rain a lot! It's hard getting out for fresh air when it's like this or even just finding something to do. You're also trying to get back to some sort of routine and keep the kids, and yourself, from going mad. My two just end up fighting if they're left alone for too long and we all start arguing with each other. It's not great.

So to help out other families in a similar situation I've put together a little list of things to do on a rainy day in Fife. It'll get yourself and the kids out of the house and stop you from slowly losing your mind at the same time. Read on for some fun ideas of places to visit.

St Andrews Aquarium - St Andrews
We love a little visit to St Andrews Aquarium as there's always something happening. They have a lovely timetable of events throughout the day including reptile handling, animal feeds and animals talks. You can event book an animal encounter and feeds the Penguins, Seals or Meerkats! I would absolutely love do be in beside the Meerkats, they're so cute.

Adventure Golf Island - Dunfermline
Who doesn't love a bit of crazy golf and the fab thing about Adventure Golf Island in Dunfermline is that it's all covered up by a big dome. So no getting wet and cold out in the horrid weather. I still haven't been here with the kids yet but I bet they'd love it. It seems quite reasonably priced as well and they always have a special offer on the go.

Hollywood Bowl - Dunfermline
Another great indoor venue to visit is Hollywood Bowl in Dunfermline. They have plenty of bowling lanes so good chances of getting one booked, but feel free to book online in advanced, and they also have lots of different arcade machines to play on. Sometimes we'll go along just for them and not do any bowling at all. It can be expensive but if you set a limit, have fun then grab some food afterwards it can be a lovely day out.

Deep Sea World - North Queensferry
We currently have an annual pass to Deep Sea World so seem to frequent it all the time. I'd highly recommend purchasing an annual pass as it works out at excellent value compared to just one visit. with the pass I don't mind popping in for an hour at a time but wouldn't fancy paying the single price every time I go. So definitely but the pass, it's well worth it especially when Deep Sea World have all their amazing events like the Fossil Hunters and Meet the Mermaid. There is of course a fun packed day of animals talks and animal encounters and why not book in to dive with the sharks!

Odeon Cinema - Dunfermline
Sometimes all you need is a good movie to get you through a boring day so why not visit the Odeon in Dunfermline. They have a wide variety of films to choose from and they also have a little Costa built into them now which is perfect. Go for a coffee (or tasty hot chocolate), relax and people watch before heading in to see your movie. I've already been to see Aquaman and Bumblebee with Logan.

Muddy Boots - Cupar
If you haven't been to Muddy Boots yet then you're missing out. As well as all their outdoor activities they also have a massive new indoor area which has been built. It houses a lovely new cafe and soft play for the kids. It means that no matter what the weather you can still visit and have some fun.

Ceramic Cafe - Dunfermline
The Cermaic Cafe is a small little venue in Dunfermline but it's great to get the kids crafting and paint some cute pottery to take home. It has a tiny soft play more advised for little children and babies. They do a mean hot chocolate which I'd highly recommend and they also have some adult pottery painting nights which are a big hit so book in quick. Check out their Facebook page for details.

Xtreme Trampoline Park - Glenrothes
My son had his birthday here in December and it's totally amazing fun. Can't highly recommend the Xtreme Trampoline Park enough. You have to be 5 years old or over to jump in the main area but there's a small jump area for younger kids which my daughter goes on. Adults can jump as well and it's a great work out. Perfect for getting fit now the new year is here.

Dobbies - Dunfermline
Life wouldn't be complete without a quick look around the fish display in Dobbies as it's free. My daughter loves it and then we get a cake from the cafe and have fun in the newly built soft play. It can get a bit busy though just to warn you.

If you have any ideas on what to do with the kids on a particularly rainy day here in Fife then please do let me know as I'm always looking. It's nice to take the kids somewhere different now and again as they get bored of the same thing so easily.

14 December 2018

Gift Ideas for the Whole Family This Christmas

I'm always looking for something different and unusual to give at Christmas and something that will actually be used and not thrown away into the pile of obis never to be touched again. So if you have a bit of a geeky gaming family like mine then you'll want to take note of these cool amazing Christmas gifts from Paladone. Honestly you won't regret reading this, I promise.

For Mum - Niffler Trinket Dish 3D
Now I normally have a lot of jewellery hanging around that I cannot be bothered to put away in the correct box all the time so this super cute Niffler Trinket Dish would be absolutely perfect for my Christmas. For anyone who's watched the movie, Fantastic Beasts, I really think the little Niffler's steal the show. I wish they were real! The trinket dish is bigger than expected at 12 x 13 x 11cm which just means you can fit more on it. It's also a very reasonable £12.99 and can be purchased directly from Amazon.

For Dad - SEGA Smartphone Controller
Kids of the 80s/90s will remember the awesome Sega Mega Drive and the hours of fun had playing Sonic and Golden Axe! Those were the days. So why not treat your Dad to this cool Sega Smartphone Controller for Android. It has 19 games included (with Sonic of course) and is easy to set up and get going. It's currently only £19.99 on Amazon saving you some pennies.

For the Son - GameBoy Watch
We're big watch lovers in this family and sometimes it's great to have a novelty watch in your collection now and again so this cool GameBoy Watch would be perfect. It's small enough for kids to comfortably wear but not too small that it looks silly on an adults wrist. It has the original grey gameboy shape and really is just awesome. It of course has a digital face and also tells you which day of the week you're on. Very handy for the kids or confused adults. Adulting is hard btw! It's currently priced at £14.97 on Amazon so get in there quick.

For the Daughter - Harry Potter Egg Cup
Harry Potter is one of our favourite movies in this house and we happily watch them over and over again. My daughter is a bit young for the films but not for all the cute merchandise. She loves an egg for her breakfast in the morning so this sweet Harry Potter Egg Cup and Toast Cutter Set will have her jumping for joy. I can just see her using it loads. Dressing up her egg before munching down, she'll be one happy girl. These retail for around £8.99 but you can always find a bargain on Amazon!

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

13 December 2018

Review & Giveaway: Maze Quest Books from Carlton Kids

It's so close to Christmas now I bet you're all running around trying to get those last minute presents and if you're like me you always end up buying junk for the kids that they just don't need! So if you're still looking for gifts to purchase and want something that'll last then take a look at these cool new books from Carlton Books.

Maze Quest: History and Maze Quest: Geography are unique stunning illustrated map-like mazes that let you trace an incredibly route around the world (for Geography) or through major events in history (for History) which thoroughly stimulate the imagination and powers of concentration. Each book contains 48 incredible facts which will help your child learn whilst having fun. Logan's favourite types of books are fact books so as you can imagine he was over the moon the receive these and delved right in.

What I love about these books is that you have a fact page on one side and a map on the other, which you can draw on, and even when you've done the drawing part you can flip back and worth many many times and revisit amazing facts over and over again dipping in and out as you wish. It's a great way to get snippets of interesting information into your kids without shoving lots of text down their throats. The book illustrations are fabulous, like I mentioned, and are very bright and cheery.

Logan really enjoyed reading these books in his room before bed but I also made up a busy bag for going up North on a little holiday and included these books in it. He found it very relaxing to engage with both books on the car journey and also in our cottage. It really gave him something to concentrate on. I'd highly recommend them for trips, especially long journeys in cars, planes or trains.

The Maze Quest books are designed for ages 7+ and retail at £7.99. They have 128 pages in them so plenty of book for your money and they won't be discarded after use like some activity books. These books have a little character called George who has a dog called Milly and they guide you on an adventure through each book. It's really sweet and gives children something to follow and look forward to.

The good thing is as soon as you see these books they are very self explanatory and easy for kids to navigate without getting bored. With 48 mazes to complete making one giant adventure the kids will be hooked! Logan has had these books for over a month now and he's still looking at them which is great. And lucky for you lovely readers I have a copy of each book to give away. It's going to be a short and sweet competition to see if we can get these to the winner before Christmas! So enter the simple rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9 December 2018

Brilliant Gifts for Mum This Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching this year, faster than previous years I feel! Anyone else feeling like that this time around? Anyway, us mum's do a lot of work at this time of year. Prepping presents for Santa, Christmas parties, Santa's Grotto, ice skating (why!!?), Christmas markets and fairs. It's such a busy time that we often forget to write our own little letters to the big man in the red suit so to help you out a little here's some ideas of what you should be asking for Christmas. Well these are on my wish list anyway...

A New Winter Coat
My old winter coat is amazing but it's getting all ripped now and has finally been relegated to a dog walking jacket (if you know, you know!). So it's time for me to start looking for something else to keep me warm on these chilly winter days. That's when I came across this fabulous jacket from Barbour. I've got a few Barbour jackets so why not add more!

Romance Books
I love a good romance novel and the Pucked series by Helena Hunting is hilarious. It'll honestly have you laughing out load and purchasing all her books straight to your kindle. Highly recommend as a good holiday read or when you've got some quiet time to yourself (as if that'll ever happen!).

Family Photography Session
I've been entering a few Instagram competitions lately and would you believe I actually won a lovely family photo shoot with Diana Baker! How exciting is that. It's not till next year but it got me thinking that this would actually be an amazing gift for us mum's because who doesn't love updated family photos.

Good Old Perfume
Smelling fresh is on top of my list and I am in desperate need of some perfume super quick. This bottle of Scent of a Dream by Charlotte Tilbury smells amazing!! It's expensive but hey ho it's Christmas people. Sometimes you've just got to ask for the more luxurious items when you can.

Xmas Eve Box
It's not just the kids that love a Christmas Eve Box. I really want one too and these cute little boxes from My Pocket Money Toy look so festive. Those cosy socks are right up my street and that delicious chocolate pizza slice has my name written all over it.

12 November 2018

Review: Statement Made Jewellery

I've been growing my little collection of jewellery over the years and I like to add to it now and again when I see something truly beautiful. You might also remember my love of personalised jewellery so when Statement Made Jewellery got in touch to see if I'd like to try out one of their pieces I couldn't refuse!

Here's a little bit about Statement Made Jewellery directly from them: "Statement Made Jewellery was born from a passion for jewellery to have a deep connection with its wearer, to be adorned by all, and to express yourself in new and exciting ways. We want you to feel that what you show the world is exactly who you are, and what better way to start, than with your jewellery. All of our designs are hand picked, wearer tested, positively quirky and designed with the modern woman in mind."

I love their vision as it's absolutely true, expressing yourself through jewellery is like a form of art. It's a way to say this is who I am or this is how I'm feeling today ans the lovely Statement Made Jewellery have lots of beautiful pieces to suit everyone but I'm especially taken with their personalised range.

So I was lucky enough to be sent a fabulous personalised buddha head with round initial handmade customised necklace. The necklace is made from Tibetan silver (silver plated), has a carabiner claw slap and a 18" standard chain although is can be cut to size if you have a specific requirement. You can also add additional chain length as well if you so wish. It's a great thing when you see that a company are so flexible and accommodating with their customers.

This necklace is completely flake and corrosion-resistant (care instructions included) and when I inspected it on arrival it really does look to be of excellent quality. I'm really picky about what jewellery I wear but this little beaut is perfect. It would make a great gift for birthdays or Christmas and comes with a certificate of authenticity, beautifully packaged ready to present as a thoughtful gift. The pink drawstring back is also ideal to keep your necklace safe and clean when you're not wearing.

I've been wearing this necklace for just over a week now and it goes brilliantly with everything. Not matter if I'm casual or in work attire it still fits in plus it's very comfortable to wear. I have quite sensitive skin and some jewellery can make me break out in a rash but not this, it's been great. Also the price point for me is so reasonable, this necklace only costs £14.90 and that includes the personalised letter with it! Total bargain.

A really nice touch is that the necklace also comes with a certificate of authenticity and has the care instructions on the back to make sure you get the most from your jewellery. It's the little things like this that really make me fond of small businesses.

I really would recommend Statement Made Jewellery to family and friends. The quality is there, the price point is amazing and there's just tons of choice. I can even pick some buddha earrings to go with my new necklace is I want. So do check them out at statementmadejewellery.com, especially in the run up to Christmas as there's some lovely gift ideas for loved ones.

I was sent this necklace in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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