Right ok, so the yearly family holiday has been booked, and I’ve been furiously checking the weather at the destination every hour, just to make sure that the predicted weather and the current weather are in liaison with each other? (Do you do that too?) Just so that I can get an idea of what to pack.
The first stage of the holiday, and the excitement of it starts with the packing. Taking the suitcase out from under the beds, beating out the dust and taking in the aroma of an empty suitcase… ( I can smell it. It smells…. Empty!) oooooooh excitings
I have noticed a lot of influencers on Instagram at the moment are using all these little gadgets when packing clothes for their holidays.
Seriously we have reached a culture where we love watching people clean, wash their faces and also pack now!
So I thought while it’s trending l will show you all how I pack for my holidays (without the gadgets) and it’ll give me a chance to show off my clothes too!
This is well overdue, it’s from my trip to India back in October, our trip consisted of Nine packed full days where we went from Goa, to Mumbai and then a last 24 hours in Dubai and back home.
I consider myself to be a sensible packer. No. Actually I am a sensible packer. The men in the household however are not. Yup. We have switched roles here. They pack for all seasons and the whole month. But I only take the exact amount of outfits I need…. I hate bringing it all back and putting it all away.
So for the nine days I needed Nine full outfits, being a modest dresser that includes any tops to be worn inside and matching scarves.
And what I do is, I put the top and the scarf all inside, I also add the underwear here and I roll the trouser/skirt up in a roll like above.
And here they all are wrapped up within themselves, all of them have the appropriate scarves, tops, and underwear within.
I Love shoes- apart from when I’m on holiday. I hate taking good shoes because they always come back dusty and worn, and I hate showing feet skin (does that make sense?!) So on holiday my footwear is always covered. I chose the above footwear. The sandals are for the poolside and remaining footwear for day/ night comfort covering feet footwear (I didn’t realise just how particular I am until I started writing this. I actually sound quite old reading this back…. Oh my God. I am my mother!)
Don’t forget a toiletry bag for medication. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and vitamin C are a must, all others to be added in as well.
And this is how I put it in the suitcase:
Here’s my nine outfits, plus my burkini with it’s scarf. One Toiletry bag with medication, One toiletry bag with cosmetics, and One toiletry bag with bath essential. On the other side of the suitcase I put in jewellery and shoes- so that they are away from the clothes. And don’t forget to chuck in the travel plugs.
This is such an easy way to pack and so ideal to just pull out an outfit daily. And you can see it all properly.
Do you remember my trip to Portugal with Mama bear. We went to meet up with her sister, well my aunt then came to see us!
Having a Mozambican passport its really difficult for my aunt to get out, and to come to the UK requires alot of paperwork and going back and forth. She was approved visa to the UK for 5 days.
My Aunt came with Uncle, and It was their first time in UK, and in all honesty I dont know whether they will be coming back again. My Uncle expressed that in all his life all he has ever wanted to do is listen to ‘the Ding Dong of Big Ben’. So Mama Bear came to the one person she knows loves London. Me!
Although Mama Bear wanted me to just drive past and show them the areas, I thought it would be nice if I could give them a ‘Proper tourist day in London’ and so I went to the one person who could help me arrange this,
So just to warn you readers in advance, this post is a typical post on a very touristy day in London. And apologies for the photos also. I didn’t really know I was going to be a blogger, So didn’t put much thought into them.
We started our journey by breakfasting at ChaiiWala- this is back in Leicester. We generally start all our journeys by breakfasting at Chaiiwala. Theres no journey if it doesnt start with Chaiiwala. All Leicesterians know Chaiiwala. We had our Indian breakfast and headed off.
I wanted my aunt to experience The People, The Manic, The Craziness, The Ethnicities, The General buzz of the London atmosphere, so we drove to Cockfosters tube station in Barnet and left our car there, and the rest of our journey was by tube. Like Londoners. (Parking at Cockfosters is £6 for the day! so saves all the looking for parking and expensive parking within London itself.)
Our first tube was from Cockfoster Tube Station to Westminister Station, this was the longest of our rides at roughly 30 minutes and only one stop at Green Park Station. This took us straight outside the Big Ben.
We got out of the station and right in front of us, there in all of its Grandeur and Glory was ‘The Big Ben’ – with scaffolding, and works going on. (Is it weird to say my heart palpitated? and I breathed in to get it all in. It really is huge when you’re not driving past it). My Uncle like a proper tourist was amazed, he took photos in all angles, evan upside down, anything to get it all in. Then he asked the sandwich shop vendor near by ‘What time does it ding dong? I want to hear ding dong in my ear?’
“eh? that thing?’ he responded ” Ding Dong? 2 years mate- its better to hear it ding dong on youtube’
I saw his face drop, I did tell him that I have never heard it ding dong either, but now I want to aswell (listed in to-do list- ‘the Ding Dong of Big Ben’)
We walked down Parliament Street, saw the buildings of Parliament, and the War Monuments featured on the street, and not to forget the Red Telephone Boxes.
And then we headed towards Downing Street, which is just a walk away.
There wasn’t much activity going on here, and it is pretty gated up, so we took our quick photos and decided to make our way back to the underground to get onto the Millennium wheel/London Eye. Whilst walking down we saw these bike rickshaw (is that what you call them?)
And instead of going on the tube, we jumped on to them and enjoyed the view whilst we made our way to the wheel.
We got dropped off just outside the London Eye and got straight into the queues for the tickets. It was a short 20 minutes wait before we got on. This was a real treat for us all. I think I enjoyed it better this time- its my third time, but this time, I was put on the spot and asked questions even I didn’t know the answer off. So with the help of Google we all learnt along the way.
After the London Eye, we walked towards Westminster Station and did a quick stop at Baker Street Station, just so that we could get the pic below..
And then we got straight back on to the tube to Green Park station, and the walk towards Buckingham Palace.
And here it is….The Buckingham Palace.
And having taken loads of photos, we now needed to fill our bellies, and after a lot of what kind of food we wanted to eat- we decided on Indian Food and ‘Khans’ so we walked back through Green Park and took the tube to Bayswater, and a short 10 minute walk away we got to ‘Khans’
We had Poppadoms and Chutneys, Sheesh Kebabs, Chicken Tikkas, Chicken Karhai, and Nan’s, and it was absolutely divine.
On the way home, we stopped at a few souvenir shops where Babs started picking up loads of fridge magnets, it was really amusing when my aunt asked me ‘Where is Babs from?’ I answered ‘Born and Bred in London.” She looked at me confused: ‘Why is she buying so many souvenirs?’ I laughed out loud. That my fellow readers….Is Babs….and that is why we love her.
With our fridge magnets safely in our bags, we caught our last tube for our trip back to cockfosters and then our two hour drive back home.
Overall, I enjoyed that trip so much, I’ve not ever been to London as a tourist, I usually just go to eat. So this trip was amazing. We all got to be tourists. And enjoyed every moment of it. I guess because we live in the UK we loose the novelty of it all, and this did make me love London more. (Can I possibly love it more? Yup seems like I can)
Hope you enjoyed our tourist trip to London.
I’ve got dentist appointment coming up soon. So I’m getting edgy again.
Originally born and bred in Mozambique , my mum’s sister was coming to Portugal for a holiday. Being only a 3 hour plane flight away from us, she asked mum to ‘pop’ over to see her. Mum has alot of commitments, and therefore doesn’t actually go out much at all. My grannie being the age of 93 and visually impaired requires 24 hour assistance, and dad and mum’s lives rotate around her and her needs.
Dad mentioned to me that mum needs time out- and this was the perfect opportunity for me to take her.
Sorting all my own responsibilities at home- I got the hubby to look for flights for a weekend away to Portugal for me and mum whilst my aunt was there. Accomodation wise I was advised that my aunt was renting a 2 bed apartment in the city of “Odivelas” and that the 2nd bedroom was free for us to use.
We booked our flight with easyJet for £69 return and jetted off. There was alot I wanted to do and see in Portugal. I have never been before- but this trip was purely for mum- I had told myself that on this trip to do everything mum wanted regardless of how I felt as she’s never really given that opportunity at home, also I hardly get to spend time with her myself as she’s always busy running around after the family. This trip was for her.
So we had 48 hours in Portugal, what did we do?
The question is of all the cities in Portugal, they chose Odivelas. Why Odivelas?
When the civil war broke out in Mozambique in 1977, my mum’s uncle sought refuge in Portugal, and the town Odivelas. This is where he made his home, and also built a mosque. With the majority of the population of people in Portugal being Christian, and following Catholism this was very challenging, and a very controversial thing to do. Yet he was adamant and pursued. Although her Uncle is no longer here, the mosque still stands, and is a extremely popular in Odivelas. Mum had an ambition to visit it daily, and so did my Aunt. So they chose an apartment round the corner from the mosque so that they could pop in as they willed.
The one bad thing about staying in Odivelas is- everywhere you need to go is by car. So be prepared for loads of Uber costs.
1. Pasteis De Belem
Ive always wondered my whole life who I’ve gone after. After I met my Aunt. My question was answered.
All I remember is my Aunt ran out of the moving car and towards this building in an extremely busy road- nearly got ran over- and left everyone hooting at us because we had to do an emergency stop. We watched her dissapear in the rear view window of the now moving car.
My mum was having a heart attack- whilst I looked at her in Awe. This is something I would do (maybe not in front of my mum but yes) I’d risk it all if I needed to tick something off in my bucket list.
Everyone in Lisbon knows about the ‘natas’ (Portuguese tarts) at this place- and if your not from Lisbon- you’ll know by the queue outside that there is something special about this place.
At one point in the queue I told my aunt to get the ‘natas’ from the bakery nextdoor as we only here for a couple of hours and I really didn’t want to spend half a day in a queue. Let me put it this way- the queues are a testament to the food. It is unbelievably good.
The inside was beautifully decorated. You could tell it was a old building, yet decorated very artisticly. With tiled wall in the colour of the logo. It has tried to keep its originality. The building is made up of interconnected rooms all of which are huge, airy and very spacious. It seats up to 500 people at a go- and still there’s a queue!
We ordered the natas and ‘Bolinhoes de Bacalhau’ basically Codfish cakes. The Bacalhau- dried and salty cod fish is another speciality of Portugal. I don’t think you can go to any Portuguese restaurant and not see Bacalhau in the menu. And the Bacalhau- in Portugal is definately different to the codfish we get here. It’s very rich in taste, and yes you can smell the fishy smell, whilst eating it, but yet it’s very tasty and it is dry! (Hence loads of juices on standby)
The natas with the crispy outer shell, and warm and creamy custard centre were divine, the best I’ve ever had by far.
If you do go here- do make sure you walk around- there’s a little window where you can view the natas coming out of the oven, and being put away. It is said that they sell up to 20,000 natas a day. That’s only natas. They’re menu does have alot more on offer.
Also this place is the most reviewed place on the internet in Portugal. With trip advisor getting over 10,000 reviews showing that if you haven’t been here whilst in Portugal, you haven’t been in Portugal at all.
And because it was so good. I packed up some natas for all at home.
Monastery of Jerónimos
On the same street as ‘Pasteis De Belem’ further down you will find the Monastery of Jerónimos. A Monastery built in 16th Century, using ‘Manueline Architecture’ which uses palm trees, vegetables, artichokes, ropes and ships in its detailing. The Manueline Architecture is unique to Portugal.
Entry is 10euros, however because of our short stay, we decided not to go in. Being such a tourist area, there are loads of vendors selling stuff, and loads of general touristy things going on, so a stroll here is nice.
Costa de Caparica
The Costa de Caparica is a long stretch of beautiful, clean, sandy beach.
We sat and watched the surfers, and soaked our feet in the warm salty water. We spent half a day here as it was just beautiful and serene.
Whilst here we ate at the famous
With a beautiful view of the ocean., And known for its fresh food we ordered grilled sardines and (not to forget) Bacalhau.
The portions were quite large as you can see, and you could smell the freshness of the food. Definately a place to revisit to try other dishes.
Vasco de Gama Bridge
One of the longest bridge in Europe with a length of 12.3km. named after Vasco De Gama – a european sailor who discovered the route between Portugal and India.
It was my aunt’s idea to see the bridge, yet we ended up driving to the other end, here we stopped by ‘Torre de Vasco deGama’ – basically the “Tower of Vasco De gama’ to drive all the way back. ( Oh. Yes. Sometimes we do the strangest things) .
Torre Vasco De Gama
One of the tallest buildings in Portugal, and also a landmark. At 145 metres tall it’s boasts of it panoramic view of the city, sea and the bridge. Once again named after Vasco De Gama himself.
Shaped as a sail, it’s quite a beautiful building,
This area is another tourist hotspot, this photo was taken from the aerial cable cars, which can be taken at 4 euros each one way or 6 euros both return. Its a nice ride where you can see the river and scenic views of Portugal.
In this area you also have the Vasco De Gama shopping mall if you would like a stroll, we gave this a miss due to time constraints. Portugal is known for its unique design in kitchen dishes- so I missed out here.
And that’s our trip. 48 hours in Portugal. The evenings were spent in our apartment where mum and my aunt laughed about their younger days. All in all it was a fabulous trip.
After our over indulgence of hashbrown and brown sauce we headed off to Cheshire Designer Outlet.
Being just under 4 miles away, it takes us 10 minutes max to get there. Hence why we choose the Holiday Inn at Ellesmere Port with the banging hash browns.
Knowing full well that we wouldn’t be shopping much- as the sales hadn’t started we thought it’d be nice to just see what we could get if anything. If not- a nice stroll will do.
It started off steady- just walking in and out of shops. I found myself a wallet from Karl Lagerfeld, and it suited what I needed. A wallet is something that everyone gets fussy about. I need a big coin pocket inside because I forever have change. I don’t know why, but I just do. And this had that. I don’t like too much fuss on my wallets. Plain and simple does it. It ticked the boxes and so it went into the basket.
Next we stopped at G-Star. The eldest boy wanted jeans, he wasn’t after G-Star jeans in all honestly. He had seen some in Topshop for £40 which he was going to get once home. Here the jeans were 2 for £95. It would be stupid of him not to get these instead.
We always stop for some doughnuts and tea mid way. And the Doughnut Diner has the best Doughnuts.
After our short break -back to shopping again, I was quite surprised that some shops had sales going on, usually at this time of year- you get the normal 20% off, but that’s about it. But alot of the shops had something on top of the 20% aswell.
Going in and out of shops, we ended up spending quite a bit of time in Lacoste. I would say 90% of my husband clothes are from Lacoste, and that includes trainers too. He really should have some sort of loyalty offer/ card from them.
And that’s another 6 tops added to his collection. He got all 6 for £267. Not exactly a bargain as in December time it does get alot cheaper, but we do struggle with sizes and colours so he picked it up.
I was content with my wallet, I had purchased one thing- that’s enough for me untill…. I stepped into ‘The Sunglass Hut’. I do have a weakness in this shop- so I really should have known before I walked in, I’ll get something… But today the offer was better then I’d ever seen before… Buy first pair- get second pair at 70% off…
I got both at £136. Usually I pay more than this for one pair. The hubby dearest was so pleased he paid for them. Extra bonus. And I now have my sunglasses ready for my next holiday (hopefully I don’t loose them. I have a tendency to loose or break my frames- it’s not Evan considered news anymore. If my frames survive a holiday, then that’s news worthy!)
My 2 nephews have there birthdays coming up, 3 weeks apart, and the Adidas store had a good sale, they go for football together every Saturdays, so football boots seemed like the best thing to get for them for their birthdays.
Both trainors were for £32, usual price being £40 for the one pair. Another thing added to the Amex.
We also picked up a few bits and bobs from jack and jones for the boys at standard price- just to top them up.
So all in all we had a very productive day, more productive then we thought we would (no complaints off me).
We then headed off to fill out bellies. Shopping is exhausting and almost like a workout. We headed off to none other than the famous Wilmslow Road. We wanted to try something different. We almost always do, so we told ourselves whilst walking around let’s see what we find and decide….. We ended up in our normal spot. Antalya Cafe.
It’s Lebanese food. So can’t go wrong and we know it’s good food.
We had lamb chops, chicken tikka, chicken shawarma, and chips, and it was just as good as it’s always been.
And then we made our way home.
Seriously? When did chiverly die? Like he wants a nap while I drive home? Who does that? What happened to driving the woman around? We got something wrong when we asked for equal opportunities. Driving should have been left to the men.
All in all – a spontaneous trip cost the hubby just under £800. I’m up for going next weekend too! Hehe
Sitting peacefully at home, with nothing to do on a Friday evening, Friends series playing on netflix for the umpteenth time, and the hubby shouts out “Get in the car- I need to get out of here!” …. Doesn’t happen to you? No? Weird? Yes? Well he just did that.
Within 20 minutes me and the boys are sitting in the car, one pair of clothes each in plastic bags awaiting our adventure.
I can see we are driving towards the motorway- but where are we going? It’s not my birthday, it’s not an anniversary- not the boys birthday- should I ask?
“Can you check on your phone if they have a room at Ellesmere port babe?for tonight”
Oh. So it is a random trip. Nothing planned.
I fish out my phone and have a look. I know exactly where he wants to go. It’s our favourite Christmas spot for shopping in Manchester, and it’s the Holiday Inn at Ellesmere port. And he wants to go in October?! Ok. I’m not complaining. (I hope our December trip is still on?)
There’s a double room available for tonight for £105 and that includes brekky. Perfecto. I pull out my Amex and start punching in the numbers.
By the time we reached its well past midnight. We hit the pillows and snore away.
The Holiday Inn at Ellesme port is our favourite stop spot. We always come to this hotel, rooms are clean and big, and it has a swimming pool (we didn’t take any costume as didn’t know where we were going) and it’s in a beautiful location. Set at the port it’s very scenic
And the main reason we come here is …. The hasbrowns. Yup you heard correct. Hash browns. They are always soooo good! So crunchy yet soft. Oh my! It’s a must (I sound crazy I know- but if you go, try it and tell me!)
By now I’ve worked out the plan. We going Cheshire oaks designer village for a day of shopping. He sure is in a good mood.
I’m wondering whether it was a good idea to wear these 🙄. Too late.
So after indulging with our tea and hash brown with brown sauce overload, the hubby took raisins and sat down, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him eat raisins? I asked him “since when do you eat raisins?” He answered ” I do eat raisins.”
No. Can’t be true, I don’t eat raisins- I’ve not bought raisins in the 18 years I’ve been married to him, so I just watched him eat in wonder. He eats raisins. Evan after 18 years I’m learning something new.
Stay tuned for our day at Cheshire oaks what we bought and what we ate.
Love and regards
P.s. Still struggling with the tooth! And I’m in India!! Loads to come
Our first meal whilst in Barcelona. Once we dropped off our luggage- we hunted down this place. A 10 minute walk away from our hotel (Roma Reial) and well worth our exhausting trip to get here, it was worth every bite. Serving halal meat- we got our meat fix. Sabina went for a chicken wrap, and I opted for the meat doner in pitta bread. Oh and fries, (never forget fries) Photo does no justice at all. It was finger licking.
Cafe de L’Opera
We spent our first day just walking around las ramblas and as a Pit stop we stopped here before we headed back to our hotel. What a neat little shop. We had churros with warm choc, and profiterole cake, and tea (ofcourse). Before we hit the bed.
The next day we headed off towards the Port and we found this beauty, overlooking the Port and the city, we knew straight away we wanted to eat here. The day was glorious and as both of us love seafood- we sat down, and enjoyed the view. We asked our waitor to make sure no alcohol was put in our food, which was arranged kindly.
We went for the crispy battered prawn salad, with fried garlic prawns and fresh garlic bread, and chips (never forget the chips) and we devoured every little piece. Yum.
Forns del pi
Whilst walking around, we needed a stop, and this place had the best looking desserts on display. It was quite late, and having had a heavy meal- we decided desserts for dinner. Coffee and nutella and strawberry crepes. A girly trip is not a girly trip without fat dinners. Right?
The following day we were craving for Indian food- we had to find to find a halal place that offered more than just kebabs. And we found it.
We went for chicken tikka karhai, fresh nan and lamb biryani, and it was amazing. The flavours, the aromas, all of it satisfied our cravings. And we ended it with a cup of Indian tea.
I’m sure it’s illegal to go past Amorino without going in?! If not it should be…
Vanilla, Strawberry and Mango ice-cream sorbet- topped with Raspberry macaroon.
After our shopping trip, we needed a tea and cake break, and we walked into here. Need I say we were not dissapointed. How cool are the teapots? Defo a photo moment.
Located just outside our hotel, this was our last meal in Barcelona before we set off the next morning. We wanted to stay close to our hotel so that we can get some sleep as our flight was at 6 in the morning, meaning we’d have to be up at 4 to make our way to airport. As you may have worked out by now- it was desserts for dinner again- because well…. Why not?
We opted for crepes with Nutella and strawberries inside topped with freshcream. And as you can see I have tottally given up on my photography skills as I’m ready to get home. And it was divine, the crepes were warm and soft, and the vanilla tea was beaut.
Still to come… I’ve not given up on barca yet. More from barca
This was my second trip to Barcelona, and it was just as good as the first time. I really don’t think you can tire yourself of Barcelona. As I still haven’t had enough. ( Which means I’m definately planning to go again. Just have to sweeten the hubby up)
The first time I went with hubby and the kids, and we watched a game and had the tour of Camp Nou- (which was amazing. I need to do a blog on this!) And this time I went with Sabina, and we did…well….. Everything I wouldn’t do with the men in my life.
And that’s the beauty of Barcelona, it caters for all. I loved both my trips as much as each other.
The tickets were brought in advance from skyscanner- flights with Ryanair for £ 44. If you know you want to go, it’s best to book in advance and wait for the prices – as they fluctuate daily. And we were lucky that Ryan Air didn’t have any delays either. Bonus
As soon as we landed we went straight to the Aerobus located outside of the airport. Having been here before- we had already worked out getting around without the use of expensive taxis. For 2.15 euros we got dropped off outside Las Rambles within 30 minutes. The centre and hotspot of Barcelona. From here we walked down to our hotel which was a 15 minute walk away and located in Placa Reial. This is actually a popular square in the ‘Gothic’ part of Barcelona. Our stay for the 2 nights was at Hotel Roma Reial.
It is an actual square with a fountain in the middle, and surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops and clubs. Making it a tourist attraction and a very busy location especially at night.
Placa Roma Reial is a functional and basic hotel set In the best location. I couldn’t have asked for a better location. Rooms are clean and comfortable, the bathroom is clean, open and towels included.For our short city break, this was just perfect.
Breakfast is served in a cove at basement level, and it is quite cool, for breakfast we are given muffins, rolls, butter and jam, yoghurt, cereals, and hot drinks and cold juices. Exactly what we needed, and what we have for breakfast generally.
When leaving the square on the left a five minute walk away we have the cruise port, and on the right we have Las Ramblas. Could we get a better location? (Repeat that in Chandler’s voice from friends, it’s funnier.)
So what did we do?
La Boqueria Market / Las Ramblas Market
Known to be one of the most famous markets in Europe, this has to be visited when in last Ramblas.
This market is bursting with colours and smells and scents, it’s definately an experience not to be missed. It has all that a market has to offer- from the hustle and bustle, the bargaining and the pickpockets, and it tends to be busy no matter what time of day you go.
And the food is so enjoyable. The fresh fruit drinks are not to be missed.
From my first visit to Barcelona with the family- this building was always on my list of priorities to visit.
And it truly was everything that I expected it to be and more. This historical landmark/museum was bought and decorated by Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect. His work is known to be very individualistic, and one of a kind.
On entrance we are given a smart guide and headphones. The audio keeps us informed of all the rooms and how and why this famous landmark was decorated in the way it was. what textures were used, materials used, and general idea behind the structure of the whole building.
In the middle of a grand stairway, you start to see blue tiles making its way up in waves. This is intended to make you feel as though you are underwater. The skylight from above feeding it’s light through, making the tiles glimmer.
The whole building was a chaos of colours and contrast of materials. Then we went to the top floor and the ‘Servants quarters’ . Am I weird if I say that this was my favourite area? The colours stopped- and we had blank white walls, long corridors with arches, and it felt quiet spiritual, almost heavenly vibes .
This trip is not for feint hearted, the stairs do tire your legs out, but all in all, it’s a beautiful experience and a masterpiece. A must go in Barcelona.
Lasoglondrinas Boat Trip
Whilst walking down to the cruise port, we booked ourselves in for the boat trip. It’s a 40 minute boat trip out to the port and back for 7.70 euro each.
In these 40 minutes we get to enjoy the air, the sea and get a glimpse of few icons, and the harbour
And yup that’s Sabina in the middle holding on to the pole, because she decides to tell me at this point she’s sea sick. I do love this woman and all she does for me.
The main attraction of Las Ramblas is the shopping! And with a Zara in every corner we were in heaven. From high street shops to designers, it’s a paradise. I’m glad we were only there for the 3 days- because if it had been longer we’d definately need to consider another suitcase on way back home.
Next up I’ll be telling you about all the food places we visited.
Hope you enjoyed- if you did, click the like and leave a comment
One of the greatest things about Sabina is that she finds the most amazing deals. When she watsapped me a poster of ‘Crystal Maze’ Live experience in Manchester, I had answered yes before she Evan asked when. She found the deal on Wowcher at £25 per person. (Normal price being from £44.99 depending on dates)
The younger Boi, Adil was turning 13 and first thing that came to my mind is this is the perfect gift for him. (And I was not wrong). We rounded up our group of 7 ( we needed 8, but bought full vouchers as worked out better) and settled on a date (after a hell of alot of mixups, and date changing- it gets hard when everyone has work and kids to cater for)
Having booked it for 4.30, we had enough time to run a few errands in the morning, and set off at 12.30. Our journey was from Leicester to Manchester. Wanting to make a day of it, we decided to leave early so that we can get lunch in before the start of our game.
Knowing that Katija is with us we left the decision of lunch to her, and she did what she does best… She knew where we would park our cars, where we would eat, how long we could stay in restaurant, and also how to get to Crystal maze and back- without the worry of time…. And she did it all brilliantly.
And Venue wise… We couldn’t have had a better place. We ended up at ‘Kai’ on Deansgate. Which is a Turkish Meze bar and Grill. On entering the place we were amazed. It was stunning. So much detail and attention.
The name ‘Kai’ is a turkish name, and comes from the famous ‘Kayi Tribe’ who are known to be the original founding fathers of the Ottoman Empire. With the world going ‘Resurrection Ertrugrul’ ( netflix series/ Game of Thrones halalified) crazy, and all of us being big fans, It started our day off just right, but it wasn’t just a preety place, the food was finger licking too, so much taste, flavours and aromas.
After filling out bellies, and taking the most instagrammable pics ever, we headed off for Crystal maze. With Google maps on, we started on our short 15 minute walk towards our destination
Unfortunately we are not allowed any photos or photography inside the event itself, which is such a downfall. The closest I got is the changing rooms, we did get 2 photos within the place itself as part of the package.
Can I just say what a good time we had. All of us. The whole experience from beginning to end was amazing. It felt as though we were actually in the show- all we needed was the camera crew.
It is so much more larger than life inside the maze, no expenses have been spared in making it. The music as you run through the tunnels to move from one area to another makes you want to run faster, the game master with his wacky personality bringing the game to life. Each and every game was fantastic, all living up to the dream. We had laughs, tears, swearing ( much to the amusement of my boys who had never heard their Aunt swear. They see her in a different light now ) and joy. We spent around an hour and a half in here, but it felt as though we were here all day because it took us to a world away from this world.
Proud to say I won the team a crystal, and we got 5 crystals in total, with one lock in. We were well impressed with that. Then came the crystal dome the highlight of the whole thing. We took our places in the dome . When the game master said ” will you start the fans please?” We allowed the gold tickets to fly around us and on hearing the whistle we started collecting frantically, each on our mission. Best 25 seconds of my life.
How did the Boi find it? Well I already knows what he wants for his birthday next year.
On the way home, our journey felt short and sweet, with constant laughter and jokes about the event. It really was an out of world experience made for any age. If you are ever going Manchester- make sure you book this in. It’s an experience not to be missed.
The Day was here, and morning brought us rumbling in our stomachs. With breakfast only being 8.30 euros per person at the hotel (Au Pacific hotel) it seemed like a no brainer to eat in, rather then spend our time looking for a place to eat. This way we could get to Disneyland earlier.
For 8.30 euros we got unlimited teas and coffees, freshly baked croissants, Pain au Chocolat, selection of butters and cheeses, cereals and juices. Exactly what we needed before we headed off.
With our headbands on we went straight to the Metro station which was a 5 minute walk away from the Hotel. We got our tickets at 7.10 euros each, which took us straight to Marne-la-Vallee- Chessy, which is the station right outside Disneyland.
With our luggage in tow, we thought it’d be best to do a quick stop by at our hotel, drop off luggage, grab a few bottles of water and then head to the magical kingdom.
Our stay for the night was at AppartHotel which was a 10 minute drive away from the park itself. We took a taxi to our hotel which cost us 20 euros.
Check in was at 3, and we had arrived at 11, so we asked if we could leave our luggage. The receptionist staff were super friendly and informed us our room was ready. Extremely pleased we went straight up to our room, deposited our bags, freshened up, and made our way to the magical world of Disney.
One of the perks of this hotel is that it offers a shuttle bus which takes us directly to Disneyland for 2 euros each return. This bus runs every half hour throughout the day. (Minus a few gaps in the day) This is perfect for people who want to stay for longer, as taxis are really a big expense when it comes to travelling on holiday.
And we here….
Now the thing is, once we got here… We didn’t know what to do or where to go…. We always wanted to go to Disneyland, we talked about it, how we would get there, where we would stay, when we would go, how long for….. But we never ever spoke about what we would do once we got there…and now we were here we felt confused and overwhelmed.
We figured out that there are 3 areas: ‘Disneyland’, ‘Disney Studios’, and ‘Disney Village’ which is the Disney shopping heaven. After abit of ” where shall we go? What do we do? Where are we?” “What are we doing here?” We decided on the ‘Disneyland’ Park itself.
Every step we took was magical, with the music softly playing in the background, throughout the park, the magic was all around us. Before coming into the park, me and Sabina were talking about how we had left our kids behind ( I have 2 boys, and she has 3 girls) and how mean it was of us, (it still is mean, but forgivable. I guess) but in Disneyland, age is only a number, young and old were dressed up from head to toe, and in the magical spirit, I didn’t know whether to look at the people or the surroundings. It truly was magical.
Knowing that we only had the day here, we didn’t want to spend too much time waiting in the queues so that we could get to all the areas and explore. We managed to get into “Alice’s Curious Labyrinth” within 10 minutes. This is a maze which weaves through hedges and we get to see characters and doors that pop out of every corner. The aim is to get to the ‘Queen of Hearts Castle’ .
We next joined the queue to “it’s a small world”- which was a relaxing, colourful, vibrant boat ride, all held inside a big dome. Featuring dolls, all dressed in there traditional attire representing the 7 continents of the world, all singing in there representative language the song “it’s a small world” .
This queue for this actually took just over an hour. After this we decided to move onto the “Disney Studios” as we didn’t want to miss out on this, and we also needed to be back at “Disneyland” for the parade at 5.30.
We didn’t spend too much time here, as it was already 4 in the afternoon and we needed to get back for the parade to ensure we get some good viewing space. We did get to see an exclusive viewing of the new Toy story 4 in 3d which was brilliant. But straight after this we headed back to get our places for the parade. Should I ever come back again I would definitely spend more time here, as reviews show that this is actually better than “Disneyland” park because it’s been built after and renovations are still being carried out.
And now the parade…
A show not to be missed. It’s last around 45 minutes,but it really is sensational. My phone is full of videos, each one as magical as the other, but seeing it live is another feeling completely.
As soon as we knew the parade was about to end we headed off for a bite too eat. Having been told from back home, just how packed it could get, with queues of up to an hour, we were prepared to wait. We chose to go to Planet Hollywood, in ‘Disney village’as with our entrance tickets we got 15 % off food whilst dining here, and wanted to make use of the offer.
Timing wise, I think the secret is to get in whilst the parade is on, because we went straight after we were the first ones in…
The inside was amazing, inspired by the glamour of cinema and television in Hollywood, it had detail in every corner, with famous hollywood films on screens, and quotes all around restaurant. At a cost of just under 50 euros (includes 15% discount) We ordered breaded shrimps, Spaghetti Pomadoro, Margherita pizza, Jacket Potato, and finished with tea (we had to ask for milk, which got us a curious look) (No halal menu- so stuck to the safe option) Yes it was just the 2 of us, and we finished every last bite.
Having filled ourselves we decide to take a walk round ‘Disney Village’ to see what else it offered, with shops and cafe everywhere, we were in paradise for Disney lovers.
The village is full of restaurants and shops all unique in its own kind. One thing that caught our eye was ‘Cafe Mickey’, one of the perks of cafe Mickey is that the characters are inside the cafe- so whilst dining the customers can meet and greet, and take photos with the characters. The price of eating in was at a set fee of 30 euros per child, which is quite dear but if you only here for short trip, I would say it’s worth it for the children to see there favourite characters as the queues for seeing them in the park were horrendous. This would actually kill two birds with one stone, and whilst in the park you would just need to queue up for the rides.
Having left early, we were now tired to a point where Sabina thought she had lost her sunglasses whilst wearing them. As she furiously patted herself and her bag down, I watched in disbelief but didn’t mention that she had them on. Purely because of how comical she looked. (We have laughed numerous times after this) but the lights show was at 11.30 so we had to pass our time. We decided to pass our time in the Rainforest cafe.
It is exactly what it says, a Rainforest. Once inside you feel as though you are in a jungle, apart from the table and chairs, the whole setting from the walls to the ceiling are covered in greenery, and to top it off, they also have rainforest sounds like a waterfall, the fluttering of butterfly’s, bird sounds, it’s a surreal and beautiful feeling. We ended our day with the best Banofee pancake and coffees. A must stop in Disneyland for sure.
Did we get to the light show? No. Are we silly? . (Having been told numerous times) Yes. Did we regret not staying for light show? Not one bit.
We headed off back to out hotel on our shuttle bus after the cafe, got into our cozy beds, snuggled into the bedsheets, rested our aching feet, and watched the Disney light up on YouTube live.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it would’ve been better to watch it live, but as two middle-aged women, fulfilling our childhood ambitions, it was perfect for us to switch off our phones and be in bed after all done, rather than worry about trip back.
A quick message to this beautiful soul in my life. Thank you for an amazing trip. Love you always. (Plus you look damn cute in this photo 💓)