The Submarine Adventure – Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria

Have you ever taken a ride in a yellow submarine? Neither had we until we arrived in Gran Canaria! If you ever have the chance I recommend you don’t miss it.

I found myself both excited and anxious all at the same time, the boys however were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to climb on.

We decided to hop on the free shuttle bus which picks you up from most of the major resorts in Gran Canaria 3 times per day. (I’ll add the list down below) We had already bought our tickets (coupons) from the rep in our hotel as the prices were exactly the same as buying them from the kiosk itself.

The coach took us straight into Puerto de Mogán stopping a few times on the way to pick up more passengers. This wasn’t a problem and didn’t cause the journey to take much longer. We followed the guide through the bustling flower lined streets down towards the marina. If you can I would try as spend as long as you can here, I can’t put in to words how pretty it was. Most of the streets were narrow as we got closer to the water. There were plenty of shops to buy perfumes and clothing, there was a busy market selling local wares and produce the day we were there. I’m not sure if this would be a weekly occurrence but it was a fabulous atmosphere.

We headed straight to the kiosk to make sure we exchanged our tokens for tickets and got our place in the submarine. We had a bit of time to spare so made our way to a lovely bar to have a drink while we waited. It was right at the end of the port where it met the open sea. It had a great view from the first floor overlooking the markets and marina. We soaked up the atmosphere whilst we waited for our time to roll around.

It was time to embark the submarine, the boys had to finish their lollies they’d bought minutes before quickly as they don’t allow food or drink on board. This is where my nerves kicked in, although I could hardly tell them apart from the excitement!

We were greeted by smartly dressed crew who helped us down the ladders into the depths of the submarine. It’s not how I imagined somehow. It was very modern inside with led lights and comfortable stools to sit on. Port holes lined each side of the cabin and earphones were ready and waiting for you to plug in to the sound system. Already docked in the marina we could see fish swimming around us.

It wasn’t until we were out to sea the the real magnitude of life under the ocean became apparent. All sorts of fish swam alongside us in sholes as we dove deeper towards the ocean floor. The tilt of the submarine was something I wasn’t expecting either. It was like driving down a steep gradient hill. Our ears didn’t pop which was surprising, I’m guessing we hadn’t gone down deep enough.

As we levelled off along the sea bed the submarine took a course around ruins and a ship wreck. The boys (especially Charlie) were really into seeing these, we’d already mentioned we might see a ship wreck from what we had heard already but actually seeing it for themselves was the best experience, Charlie gave some great reactions!

Here’s the video from our trip if you fancy a watch…

The trip took about an hour in total although it seemed to fly by. It’s very much worth the fee of around £73 (€31.50 Adults & €16 children 0-12) just to see and hear the reactions of the children! (And adults!) After disembarking Spencer and Charlie both received a certificate each which was a fabulous keepsake of their first trip in a submarine.

If we have the chance again we would do it all over again!

It is good to note that before you enter down into the submarine the crew offer to take your photograph, the photo is then offered to you after you disembark for a fee. Please be aware; although the top of the submarine does have some degree of non slip material it still is quite slippy so please take care.

Have you ever had a ride on a submarine? Let us know where and when in the comments section below! How did you feel diving to the depths of the ocean?! Would you do it again?

Sherwood Pines – Our 1st Social Bubble Outing!

Well we did it! After months of socially distancing and staying local we finally was able to visit one of our favourite places; Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire. It was made even more special as we met up with my brother and his partner for a much needed ‘social’ day out!

We enjoyed walking the paths and trails, we counted tadpoles in the pond, had giggles with Merlin the Pug and had a tasty picnic and ice cream to top it off! Days like this really make you realise how much we’ve all missed during the lockdown.

Sherwood Pines is the place to go for a fun family walk, bike ride, picnic, party! The place is so big (over 3,000 acres!) you’ll easily find some peace among the trees. Right now the attractions such as the Go-Ape High Ropes, Tree Nets, Segway Hire and Playgrounds aren’t open as yet due to the Covid situation but these are very popular for kids and adults alike when the are! Go Ape offers a variety of different activities and all are available to book on their website.

  • Treetop Challenge – £34 | Minimum age: 10yrs | Minimum Height: 1.4m (4ft 7″) | Duration: 2-3hrs | More info or to book click here.
  • Treetop Adventure+ – £27 | Minimum age: 6yrs | Minimum Height: 1.2m (3ft 9″) | Duration: 1hr | More info or to book click here.
  • Treetop Adventure – £19 | Minimum age: All ages | Minimum Height: 1m (3ft 3″) | Duration: 1hr | More info or to book click here.
  • Segways – £34 | Minimum age: All ages | Minimum Weight: 7 stone (45kg) | Duration: 1hr | More info or to book click here.
  • Nets Adventure – £19 | Minimum age: All ages (Must be stable on your feet) | More info or to book click here.

*All prices are for online booking only and are correct as of 16th July 2020.

Sherwood Pines usually has events taking place throughout the year including Forest Live Concerts which is the most unique way to experience live music events. They also have camping areas and Forest Holidays cabins are situated on site for that special woodland getaway.

There are numerous walking and cycling trails around the park, including a family route adventure route and more adventurous Kitchener route. There’s a bike park with jumps and a skills loop for less competent riders. Bike hire is available on site at Sherwood Pines Cycles. Prices start at £9.50 for Adults and £8 for children. Helmets are included in the hire price. Seats, buggies and tag-alongs are available from £4. All current prices can be found here.

The park features the Gruffalo Orienteering Course with the map available to purchase for £1.50. There’s also a Forest Activity Bag available to purchase for £5. The children will love using the binoculars and bug viewers while they explore their surroundings. Each bag also includes a mini-beast hunt, pen, colouring in sheet, magnifying glass, tree identification leaflet, stickers and tree trumps game.

After trying out all the activities the park has to offer there’s plenty of space to have a picnic or BBQ. Or you could always try the Sherwood Pines Cafe where they offer homemade soup and hot snacks to a delicious cream tea, cakes and ice cream. At the minute the cafe is only open for takeaways only. We managed to grab an ice cream each before we made our way home!

Why not follow our adventures on Instagram and YouTube? We’d love to get to see you there!

Cay Beach Princess Bungalows – Gran Canaria

During our half-term break to Gran Canaria in October the Cay Beach Princess became our home for the week.

Chosen for it’s over-sized pool and proximity to all the local amenities; this being not too close but not too far away either, we were not disappointed. The price was very tempting too, having just moved house it made for a well deserved little treat!

Locality

The Cay Beach Bungalows are situated on the outskirts of Maspalomas and about 30 minutes coach transfer from the airport. Now, with us being quiet types we prefer staying a little further away from the action and like to get taxi’s as and when we decide to find it. With taxi’s readily available and fantastically priced (between £3-£6 to both Maspalomas and Meloneras), jumping in one for the short 2-3 minute journey was no problem.

The drivers were all super friendly which made it ever so comfortable when Charlie and I ventured to Meloneras on our own. This was the last evening after our adventure to the local hospital! I’ll link the story here if you fancy hearing what happened! (There’s always a drama while we’re away!) The staff at reception will happily order you one and the pull up in no time, quite often only a few minutes later.

Outside the hotel are bus stops which take you to different resorts around Gran Canaria such as Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogán. Again, prices were low and was an easy and memorable experience. The boys loved the adventure! A short walk away, behind Cay Beach, you will find the pick-up and drop-off points for the free shuttle service to and from the local theme parks. The hotel is also a short walk to Holiday World – an amusement centre and restaurant plaza

Inside the hotel

As I mentioned, we chose Cay Beach not only for where it was situated but for the swimming pool. We do love a good pool! Not only was there the main lagoon style pool but there was a smaller heated pool complete with jacuzzi area. (Note: The small pool is only heated in the winter months) Both pools are impeccably clean and had the most fantastic lifegauard on duty throughout the day, up until 5pm. Charlie had a little incident and grazed his knee, she came over to him straight away and soon put a smile back on his face. To the side of the smaller pool was a paddling pool for the younger ones to splash and play. A lot of children, including our own took inflatables into the water, trust Spencer to choose the biggest in the shop! (A huge whale!)

Sun-loungers were plentiful and were dotted around the edge of the pool as well as on the raised sundecks. We aren’t ones to get up at the crack of dawn to save ourselves 4 sunbeds so we were pleasantly surprised to find spare ones, especially with it being the school holidays. The pool area had it’s own bar which sold drinks, snacks, meals and ice-creams. The staff there were all great, so friendly and even opened the kitchen back up when we first arrived at 10pm to cook us hungry travellers a pizza – so kind! On that note, you need to try their pizzas! – Ok, we only stuck to margheritas for the boys but still it was the best margherita pizza I’d had in a long time. Drinks were fine but quite pricey, unless it was happy hour where you get 2 for 1 on any drink you order. This was between 4 and 5pm. Most nights we visited Meloneras (only 2/3 minutes in a taxi) where we found better entertainment and lower priced drinks (even from the 4* and 5* hotels!) Ice-creams were pre-packed (Magnums, Smarties, Twisters etc), they were all reasonably priced. They were the same price you’d find in the little shop next door.

Speaking of which was very handy to have! The shop is outside the main entrance to the hotel and sells everything you’d need. We nipped in for fresh bread, milk and snacks when we fancied. It is slightly more expensive than the local supermarkets but easier than walking back with lots of heavy bags, like we did on our first day! (We didn’t realise how inexpensive a taxi would have been at that point!)

The restaurant to the hotel serves breakfast and dinner – something I can’t comment on as we didn’t use it. From what I saw, breakfast looked pretty delicious but we tended to eat in our villa or ate out in Meloneras. We did order omelette from the pool bar one day and it was very tasty although was quite pricey for what it was. Towards the back of the hotel there was a mini golf area which again we didn’t use, I think with it being out of sight we forgot it was there, otherwise it would have been a fun activity. There was also a kids club room (although this was closed during our stay), little play area and a games area with pool tables and air hockey which was popular with the children. Evening entertainment changed each night with singers or bands playing at the pool bar. We only usually saw the last moments of their acts as we were usually back late from our evenings out.

Our Room

Caybeach Princess consists of a main reception area, lobby, restaurant, seperate pool bar and games area. Accommdation is set within the grounds as semi-detached single story bungalows. These are either one or two bedrooms and each have their own front sun terrace. These are not private as such but there is plenty of shrubbery to feel a little more sheltered.

The villas (or bungalows) are very spacious and airy. Windows are covered with shutters which lend privacy in the evenings. You enter into the living area through french doors. There is plenty of storage, large TV, coffee table and two large sofas which double up as single beds.

We took the matteresses off these and put them on the foor for Spencer and Charlie to sleep on, I always worry they will hurt themselves if they were to fall out nto the hard tiled floor! We didn’t realise until the last day there was a pull out bed underneath the sofa so didn’t have to pull them off every night!

A couple of steps up is the dining room with a good sized dining table and 4 chairs. From there you enter the well equipped kitchen through a doorway. There is plenty of cupboard space with pots, pans and cutlery. Appliances included a two ring hob, toaster, kettle, microwave and fridge with small freezer compartment. These all worked well apart from the broken toaster, which you had to stand holding until the bread was toasted. Non the less it did the job. There was also the sink and drainer with tremendously hot water. Now, when we read reviews (and it also mentioned this in the villa), we were expecting there to be only cold water in the kitchen. This wasn’t the case in our kitchen, so much so we had to be careful not to burn our hands! I’m not sure if the hot water issues are only affecting a small section of the property?

The kitchen opened on to an enclosed yard area which was handy to keep our gigantic pool floats in and to dry towels and clothes on the airing rack.

Just off the dining room was the bedroom to the left and the large bathroom to the right.

First the bedroom… Air conditioned and roomy with a large comfortable but firm bed. This was two single mattresses together so unfortunately had a bit of a gap down the middle – this was’t a big issue for us). In the corner there was a small vanity shelf with mirror above and the opposite side of the room had a bank of sliding mirrored wardrobes which housed extra blankets, pillows and an electronic safe. There was also more hangers that we expected so that’s pretty handy when you’re travelling as a family.

Across the hallway was the bathroom which was surprisingly large. As you walked in there was a large vanity area with sink and mirror and plenty of space to keep creams and lotions. On the wall to the right was a built in hairdryer which looked as though it had been there from when the complex was built. It did it’s job but I’d recommend taking your own. Further into the bathroom was a bidet, toilet and bath with shower overhead. Unfortunately instead of a glass shower screen they had a curtain instead. I understand why as they’re easier to replace and can be cleaned easily, but we’re not lovers of shower curtains! The bathroom was absolutely spotless and towels were changed each day by the maids, toilet rolls were replenished daily as well as the bins. The rest of he villa was just as clean and the maids were all friendly. (When we saw them).

All in all our stay at the Cay Beach Princess was a pleasant experience and certainly would stay here again. We definitely all give it a thumbs up! Everywhere was clean, the grounds were beautifully kept and all the staff were wonderful.

If there is anymore information you’d like to know about Cay Beach Princess or the surrounding areas please do leave your question in the comment section below.

Or, let us know if you have stayed at the Cay Beach Princess, what were your thoughts?

Check out Part 1 of our Gran Canaria series on YouTube below…

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and tap the bell so you don’t miss the hotel tour coming up soon!

Starting A Travel Blog

Well, trust us to go and start a travel blog and YouTube channel just before the whole world is put on lockdown!

So you may have read the title to this post and thought you might find tips on how to start your own travel blog. I’m so very sorry to disappoint, the only one I have at the minute is to not start one when a global pandemic has been declared!

On a serious note, yes, we are totally bummed our new adventure has gotten off to a very disappointing start and our trips we had planned are more than likely going to get cancelled. Planning anything else for the rest of the year… possibly longer, is gut wrenching to say the least! But, so far we are so, so grateful our family is safe and well.

The fact Michael is still having to go to work each day, is quite frankly terrifying. We would much prefer him home in what is our safe haven right now, as I’m sure every other family in the same situation would too. My heart goes out to those who are literally risking their lives every day and not only the doctors and nurses; shop workers, posties, delivery drivers too. Who’s to say they don’t catch the virus from someone who has simply touched a packet, a box or gate before them. It really is quite scary when you sit and think about it for a minute.

Speaking of which, I have spent a long time thinking about things. I’ve been watching the news pretty much constantly, searching Google for new information about what this virus actually is, where it came from. Pretty much worrying myself to pieces. It’s only up until now I’ve stopped. This is not healthy!

I needed to change this habit and give myself something else to focus on. I now only watch the daily news update at teatime. I’m focusing on being in the garden, watching the boys play whilst soaking up the warm sunshine. We’ve also found a love of baking together, which I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing… It’s definitely not good for our waistlines! I’m all for putting a smile on our faces at the moment.

Which brings me onto the blog. When the news broke, as I said, my attention wavered over to other things. The posts I had planned I didn’t fancy writing. The videos I still had to edit I didn’t fancy finishing. I see now, this was the worst thing I could have done, I’ve since finished editing the first of our Gran Canaria videos and will be posting that over on YouTube shorty! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to filling the blog with lovely stories from our previous trips and sharing plans of ones in the future. There’s absolutely tons of places we have on our bucket list so might do a few research posts about these too.

Thinking and planning trips is just as exciting as taking them for us. This is what makes us happy and seeing this website and our YouTube grow with all our adventures is going to be something so special, especially for us to look back on. Even writing this now, sat on the sofa, locked down in the middle of a global crisis I can see us reading this back in a few years, remembering the time we decided to start a travel blog when the world was officially closed.

Budget Friendly Days Out In Florida – Florida’s hidden gems!

Florida is one of our favourite places to visit, not just because of it’s links to Disney. There are hundreds, if not more beautiful places to visit off the beaten track. Very few tourists know or visit these gems making them fantastically uncrowded and in many cases you could find yourselves being the only visitors there.

While I’m over here dreaming of being back exploring all that Florida has to offer I thought I’d put a list together of our favourite places to visit, which don’t break the bank but are still fun and exciting for the whole family. Perfect for a low budget trip to the sunshine state!

Lake Louisa

A walk through Lake Louisa State Park.

High on my list is Lake Louisa. It’s just $5 to enter the State Park for the whole day. There’s lots of land to explore and a brilliant beach by the lake. Perfect for a paddle! We visited a couple of times on our last trip to Florida, the first time we stumbled upon it whilst driving home one day, the next visit was a more organised trip complete with picnic. There are plenty of picnic sights and if you’re visiting by campervan you can stay on their campsite. There are also lakeside lodges to stay in. There’s water sports and horse riding if you fancy more than a paddle. To find out more visit their website here.

The beach at Lake Louisa.

Manatee Springs

The Lagoon.

Another State Park, absolutely stunning. $6 Per car (2-8 people) for the day, there’s a visitor centre which tells you everything you need to know about manatees and the park itself, you can swim in the lagoon or enjoy a spot of fishing. Again, there’s plenty of picnic space available for lunch, a bonus when travelling around with the kiddies! There’s plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, if you’re lucky you could see the Manatees and their babies in the river and lagoon! To find out more visit here.

Admiring the river view.
Suwannee River.

Homosassa Springs

Mind your backs!

One more little treat is a visit to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Amazing for the kiddies and not touristy at all. Great if crowds fill you with dread like me! There’s lots of animals to see including Lu the hippopotamus (The oldest hippopotamus in captivity!) The Florida Panther, Black Bears, Alligators and River Otters. There is a children’s educational centre on site, a gift shop and café. Tickets are $13 for Adults (age 13+) and $5 for Children (ages 6-12). Under 5’s are free! I would say our trip here was much more enjoyable than our tip to Animal Kingdom. For more information visit here.

Crossing the alligator lakes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our top 3 cheap days out in Florida, leave a comment below if you’ve heard of these places (or not!) or have even visited yourself? Do you know of any budget friendly places to visit? We’d love to add some more to our list for our next trip!

All these places are fun and accessible for the whole family and away from the crowds you get in Orlando’s major theme parks. Your family trip to Florida can be relaxing, I promise!

Look out for our itinerary for a more relaxed holiday in Florida coming up shortly.

2020 – A Year Of Surprises

Over the Christmas break we decided to do something a little different to help us decide what we’ll be up to throughout the year.

We all wrote down some wishes we’d like to do but kept them a secret from one another. We folded each wish and popped a paper clip on each one. Every Sunday we pick one wish to open and we carry it out any day the following week.

The wishes can be anything from booking a trip to baking a cake… I know there’s a couple of silly ones in there too like “Give Mummy hugs all day” 😉 So far we’ve had ‘Go to McDonald’s’ which we did on Friday. We had to actually eat in the restaurant which we never usually do so that was different! This week we pulled out ‘Have a movie night’ so I think we’re doing this Saturday. Charlie pulled it out so he gets to pick which film to order and what takeaway we’re having with it… I’m betting it’ll be Jurrassic World and Pizza!

That’s another thing, I forgot to mention… to decide who’s turn it is we roll a die. The one who gets the highest number gets to pick, if it’s a draw it’s a playoff until someone rolls the higher number.

We thought we’d make it into a game to add a bit extra fun but you can easily just take turns lowest to highest in age or something similar. Just make sure you remember who went last so it’s fair!

Someone I know mentioned they did a jar one year but instead of taking things out, they put things in. They wrote down memories of that week; something that made them happy or proud. At the end of the year they emptied the jar and read each one. How lovely is that?! I’ve not told the boys about it yet but we might do this too.

Memories and how we make them mean an awful lot to me. I want the boys to have as many good ones as we can give. They don’t have to cost the earth, even having movie nights or picnics in the park will stick with them as good memories. So long as we keep making them together is all that matters to me.

Why not make your own Wish Jar? It’s as simple as you can get and all you need is a few items and your family’s imagination and you’re good to go!

Jar – Anything will do! I’ve used a mini milkbottle but a clean pasta sauce jar will be just as good, even a bowl will do the trick!

Ribbon – String? Anything you want to decorate your jar. I just used part of some packaging from a Christmas gift.

Paper clips – Again you don’t have to use these, it just helps to keep the wishes from unfolding and anyone accidentally peeking! The animal ones I’ve used here are from Amazon.

Paper – Cut into strips or if smaller children have larger handwriting it might be better to cut these wishes afterwards.

Pen – Pick your favourite colour!

Die – Again you don’t need one, only if you’d like to make it into a game like we do.

Imagination! – The wishlist is endless! It doesn’t have to be an expensive project, the littlest things make the best memories! If you’re worried you’ll end up with a jar full of ‘Go to Disneyland!’ wishes it might be worth giving the children a few examples of what you’re expecting or just limit everyone to one bigger wish each. You could even make another jar which only contains the more extravagant wishes and pick one from there a few times throughout the year as a bonus for good behaviour perhaps?

If you end up making a jar or not I wish you a very happy and fun-filled year!