awning #wedocamping

Well that was a fun staycation in Devon!

Our gearbox broke only half an hour into our journey at the crack of dawn on a hot Saturday morning and then on arrival at Woolacombe it decided to rain and rain and then rain some more. Alice must have drank half of the swimming pool one day as she was sick for a couple of days for no apparent reason and then to finish in style we took a wrong turn on our way home and got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam whilst some poor people were being cut out of their car.

Having said all of that I am still a great fan of Staycation holidays and believe that Great Britain is a beautiful place to spend time with my family.

This year our annual two weeks was spent in our caravan at Twitchen House in Woolacombe, a final trip as on our return home we sold it on to another loving family having invested in a static caravan in Birchington on Sea back in April.

Our caravan trips always involve lots of organisation and lists. Food lists, clothes lists, utensil lists and entertainment lists. I become the mother of all lists when it is holiday time and I am pleased to say, I didn’t forget a thing this year *shines own halo*.

Millets are running a fabulous campaign this year, #WeDoSummer and they invited us to take part. They would be sending through a few items to make our camping experience easier and more comfortable.

millets camping products

I spent quite some time on their website and ticked off a lot of products that would be really useful to us. I had no idea their ranges were so vast, from tents to fold away tables and from cups to moon chairs, my list grew with every click!

In the end I had to be sensible, I had to calm down my urge to buy everything they had and settle on what would be our most useful products because when you are camping or caravanning the most important thing to consider is size and weight. It must pack down small, be easy to use and not weigh too much.

Moon chairs

What a great choice these were. Millets sent through two moon chairs, a red one and a grey one each with its own carry sack which sits nicely on your shoulder as you walk from the car to the beach. We had ours in the awning, moving them outside when it wasn’t raining and I can honestly say they are the most comfortable camping chairs I have ever possessed. They quickly became the preferred chair of all members of the family, even Baxter had to be frequently turfed out.

Baxter #wedocamping

The moon chairs are made by Eurohike and are round, like the moon. You have to pull the top bar and the bottom bar in an outward fashion and the chair assembles for you and likewise for dismantling a push on the same two bars collapses the seat back to its packing state. Sturdy, comfortable and perfect for taking out on days out too.

Foldaway barbecue

Anyone who knows my husband well will know he is a passionate barbecue-er. The minute the weather perks up he wants us all to start eating food cooked by himself outside in the garden. Currently he has 4 barbecues to choose from, gas, coal, portable and various sizes for different events. He didn’t really need a new barbecue that’s for sure but what caught my eye with this model was that it folds away. It flat packs. So it takes up barely any space at all.

I was so curious to see how it performed that for once when husband mentioned ‘Shall we have a bbq tonight.’ I agreed and passed him the box with an excited glint in my eye.

foldaway bbq millets

The Outwell Portable Grill  took seconds to put together and worked perfectly for us. If He Who Barbecues has anything to say it is the grill is a bit delicate. It folds into three whereas if it were in one piece it might be sturdier because placing it over the the hot coals once they’d been stoked proved tricky and we had to use forks to straighten it onto the built in supports along the sides. However, the portable grill cooked our meat perfectly and we used it on every possible occasion we could whilst on holiday, we soon got the hang of the grill top.

Not only is this product good for camping but it will be fantastic to take on fun days out, for a beach barbie possibly.

Cooking utensils

Millets also have a fantastic cooking section where they have pots and pans, cool boxes, colanders and all sorts of cooking utensils that are perfect for camping. We enjoyed our meals with some wonderful cutlery and dad used his Campingas Barbecue Spatula to turn his burgers, steaks and sausages over during the cooking. This particular spatula is large and enables the chef to turn two burgers at a time which became dad’s thing this holiday. A very handy utensil.

So there you have it. If you are looking for some excellent products to make your camping trip even better then I would definitely recommend the above. Have fun campers!

mari gin and tonic #wedocamping

Sitting in my moon chair and drinking a gin and tonic – cheers to that!

 

mount teide tenerife

I think it is safe to say we have been bitten by the Canary Island bug.

We had such a wonderful time in Lanzarote earlier this year that as our plane took off from Arrecife runway all we wanted to do was turn back and stay. At home this beautiful island has cropped up in conversation time and time again, even to the point husband is considering buying his retirement villa out there! But that’s a long way off and a completely different post.

It has also shone a wonderful light on the Canary Islands as a whole, a brand new destination for us and we feel as if we’ve only touched upon it. Having had such a wonderful experience in Lanzarote, we’d like to try another of the islands next time because although there will be similarities amongst them, each island has its own unique character.

I have been reading up about the largest of the Canary Islands – Tenerife with a view to planning a future family trip there. I want to know already what there is to see and do on the island, what to eat and drink and which souvenirs to look out for to add to my collection. Here are a few ideas I’ve stumbled upon.

Things to do in Tenerife

Teide National Park

Mount Teide is a Unesco World Heritage site with a 10-mile-wide volcanic crater which dominates the centre of the island. Having visited the Timanfaya National Park it is only natural to want to continue on the geological exploration of the islands. There is a cable car that takes you up to 1,200m and offers spectacular views. I’d love to do this.

La Laguna

La Laguna was once the capital of Tenerife and is now a Unesco World heritage site with mansions and villas dating back to the 16th, 17th and 18th century. Today the town is full of tapas bars, antique shops and bookstores. How about eating some tapas here?

Masca

The village of Masca was cut off from the rest of the island until the 1970’s, it is situated on a plateau in the Teno Mountains and to get there you have to travel along a gravity defying road but when you get there apparently there are some great restaurants and a museum. Maybe just me on this trip.

Garachico

charco caleton

Garachico was once the wealthiest town in Tenerife but in 1706 an eruption completely engulfed the town. Today it’s where the tourists go to swim in the rock pools in the lava. How I would have loved to swim in Cesar Manrique’s swimming pool!

Whale-and dolphin-watching 

The waters around Tenerife and it’s neighbour La Gomera are playground to around 28 species of resident and migratory whales and dolphins making it the perfect spot for watching cetaceans in their natural environment. Dad would really enjoy this one.

Siam Park 

Siam Park is Tenerife’s biggest theme park, a Thai-themed aquatic playground of water slides and adrenalin-pumping rides. The girls (and dad) would love it!

Cueva del Viento

Cueva del Viento is the largest volcanic tube in the European Union, tunnels running for 11 miles beneath Icod de los Vinos. Apparently there are guided tours in English and I bet it’s a fascinating trip.

Diving

It’s been a long time since I donned a wetsuit and air tanks, apparently Tenerife offers a lot to see underwater too. The best places for diving are Las Galletas, Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz.

Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo, Anaga Mountains 

Maybe one to do without the kids is to follow the trail that leads from the heart of the Mercedes Forest to the coastal resort of Punta del Hidalgo passing through a rainforest that pre dates the Ice Age, a troglodyte hamlet where you can have a meal of local produce in a restaurant in a cave, and hike along craggy paths skirting the deep ravines and rocky pinnacles. No typical tourist attractions to be found, back to nature.

Playa del Duque

The St Tropez of Tenerife, home to Tenerife’s elite, is the sandy beach of Playa del Duque. I’d love to visit for some people watching, some window shopping and a walk along the beach opposite La Gomera.

Hogwarts express

Kids love dressing up. Let’s be honest, adults love dressing up. In fact I’m not sure whether I know anyone that doesn’t love dressing up.

There are so few opportunities to don your favourite costume as you get older, but playing fancy dress can be a great activity for all of the family to enjoy. With that in mind, here are some fantastic days out for you and the kids where dressing up is fully encouraged…

The V&A Museum of Childhood
Whether or not you decide to dress up, this museum is more than worth a visit. Toys from the latest Pixar films share space with 1970s Barbie dolls and various Victorian creations. In fact, there really is something for everyone here. On top of that the V&A Museum regularly holds children’s activity sessions, including the chance to dress up as a true Victorian.

The Marvel Universe Live

Think of this like going to see an Avengers film at the cinema, except all the superheroes are really there and the CGI is replaced with some thrilling stunts and daring pyrotechnics. Of course, you don’t have to come dressed up as your favourite comic book character when it tours the UK, but don’t be surprised to find that you’re in the minority if you don’t.

Sutton Hoo

Two of the key players in the Marvel Universe are Thor and Loki, yet neither were actually invented by Stan Lee and are in fact figures from ancient Viking mythology. To explore more of this period you can go to Sutton Hoo, where there are ghost ships, ancient archaeological finds and ancient burial mounds to explore. Of course, there’s also the chance to dress up as an Anglo-Saxon villager.

Warner Bros Studio Tour

They say this is the Warner Bros Studio Tour. They say that if you visit you’ll get the chance to look at “sets” or “props”. But let’s call this place by its proper name. This is Hogwarts, or at least as close as you’ll get to it in the real world. And if you’re going to Hogwarts, it’s only right to be dressed in the appropriate school uniform. The real question is, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin?

Simon Plumb - lyme house

Credit: Simon Plumb

Lyme Park

Lyme Park is a stately home with all kinds of activities on offer, from Archery to adventures with Charlie & Lola. Perhaps most fun of all is the chance to dress up as an Edwardian and perform your own period drama re-enactments. The kids can join in as well, of course, or they can watch the Charlie & Lola show while leaving the fancy dress to the grown ups.

Nine Worlds

Another one for kids and grown-ups alike, this is a sci-fi convention with a real emphasis on inclusivity. There are games, talks and activities for all ages here and you can expect to find people in everything from Star Trek uniforms to full suits of armour wandering the hotel. It would be a shame if you didn’t all have costumes of your own, wouldn’t it?

Disclosure: A collaborative post

 

Zinc flyte Scooters

Every now and then a genius product comes on to the market and we are all wowed by the simplicity and the brilliance behind it, Zinc Flyte is one of those products.

The twins have Micro Scooters and we wouldn’t be without them, where we used to hear, ‘My legs hurt.’ or ‘I don’t want to walk.’ we can now present them a scooter and walk for as long as we like; Scooting saves legs and gives the added thrill of going faster than your parents.

I always find the walk from check in to the aeroplane can be one of those tiresome passages but it has to be done and I’ve often had to pick the children up when smaller or coerce them along with bribes and all sorts just to get to the plane on time. Let’s face it, sometimes it can be a fifteen minute walk or more.

When Zinc Flyte got in touch they had launched a mini Flyte scooter and were about to launch a midi version. They asked us if we’d like to try out a couple and I jumped at the chance as I could already see it was a genius idea. I really hoped it would be easy to use and do what it set out to do too. Where the Trunki was perfect for toddlers, this was spot on for the next stage of travelling kids.

The Flytes arrived and were unpacked. Apart from taking off the protective plastic there was little else to do, our cabin bags were ready to go. Oh hang on, first we must decide what to put in them.

Zinc Flyte Scooter

What is a Zinc Flyte?

The Zinc Flyte is a sturdy bag that opens in half by unzipping it around the edge. The bottom half of the case has a lining which can be zipped up to hold all of the contents neatly in place. There is also an elastic strap to hold any bulk still too. The other half has a pocket that can hold books and wallets. In total a 25 litre capacity and that is enough toys for a week or two on holiday. The beauty of the zinc Flyte is that the dimensions fit in with the international cabin size guidelines so once you have scooted to the aeroplane you can then fold the scooter up and pop your case in the overhead lockers. Genius!

Zinc Flyte Scooter yellow

What’s a Zinc Flyte made of?

The Zinc Flyte is surprisingly flexible and sturdy at the same time. It is not a rigid case but a softer more pliable material that is also sturdy enough to support bumps and ‘good use.’

How does the Zinc Flyte scoot?

Here comes the really clever bit. The case is ‘sat’ on the front of the scooter and when placed upright it stands on the two wheels with the handlebars coming out of the top of the suitcase on an extendable rod and locking into place. There is a small central button on the handlebars that you click to unlock the them and slide them back down to the top of the suitcase.

The deck is connected to the wheels on the bottom of the suitcase and with a swift and easy movement of pulling the board upwards, it unlocks and opens downwards at a 90 degree angle to the suitcase, giving you the deck to scoot on. When the scooting is over and the bag needs packing away, a simple pulling outwards will unlock the deck and it can then be folded upright

The bag also has a handy handle on the top which allows a parent to pick it up and carry it if you get to steps or obstacles.

Weight

It is sturdy and yet is easily held and lifted above your head to go into a cabin locker. It weighs approximately 3.6 kilos.

I wonder if they will be making adult ones any time soon as my girls loved theirs.

 

Disclosure: We were sent two Zinc Flyte Scooters for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

Taro de Tahiche

The César Manrique Foundation is located in the centre of Lanzarote, in the house known as Taro de Tahiche. A painter, architect and sculptor, it was Manrique’s brainchild to make this island the most beautiful of all. This building, constructed on five volcanic bubbles converted into rooms, is an example of the artist’s own style of architecture. Here is where the visitor can best understand how Lanzarote was transformed, mixing art with nature while at the same time respecting the landscape and the traditions of the island.

Taro de Tahiche

Taro de Tahiche

Oliver, our guide for the Lanzarote Uncovered tour, explained that when César Manrique proposed his plans to the people of Lanzarote, to build his house out of the volcanic bubbles in the lava, they thought he was completely raving bonkers.  I mean, who in their right mind would do such a preposterous thing?

César Manrique had a vision and he wasn’t afraid of people thinking he was mad. He pushed their thoughts and opinions to one side and started his project.

Taro de Tahiche

It was in 1966 after he had returned from America that whilst driving past Tahiche he noticed the top of a fig tree emerging from the enormous expanse of petrified lava. On investigating closer he discovered that the fig tree had taken route in a jameo

A jameo is a volcanic cave that’s open to the sky, created when the roof of a lava tube collapses and lets daylight in. The raw materials for volcanic tubes are the rivers of lava which run downhill from an erupting volcano. A tube forms when the outer layer of the lava flow cools and solidifies but the lava beneath the surface remains hot and continues to flow. — Lanzarote Guide by Marco Polo

On asking the landowner if he could buy some of the land, the landowner told him it was worthless and to take as much as he wanted.

Taro de Tahiche is built around 5 jameos with picture windows gazing out over the volcanic expanse surrounding the home.

Taro de Tahiche

Taro de Tahiche jameo

Taro de Tahiche jameo

Taro de Tahiche

Entrance is through a door and along a passage that allows you to look down onto the swimming pool area which, against the black of the rock is breath taking. You walk though the wide open plan rooms where works of César’s work is laid out alongside gifts from Miro and Picasso and the route leads you downstairs to the first of the jameos.

Taro de Tahiche

Taro de Tahiche

Each jameo has had the floor whitewashed and part of the wall leaving the upper part exposed volcanic rock, the furnishings are very 1960’s chic, minimalist and boldly coloured. You walk through tunnels connecting one jameo to the next and finally up a staircase leading to the museum and a video of César Manrique’s life and art.

Taro de Tahiche

As you leave the home you walk through a garden with a marvellous wall mural at the back and a smaller copy of it can be bought on ceramic tiles from from the shop at the exit.

Taro de Tahiche

I would recommend a visit to Taro de Tahiche as it is a work of art and a building of genius, the coming together of vision and creativity. Needless to say, even if all the islanders thought he was mad, César Manrique’s home is one of the most popular attractions on the island.

Taro de Tahiche

I believe that we are witnessing an historical moment where the huge danger to the environment is so evident that we must conceive a new responsibility with respect to the future. — César Manrique

 

Lanzarote guide book - marco poloI found out about Taro de Tahiche from my guide book, Lanzarote by Marco Polo when I was researching the island before our trip. The guide book is full of fascinating information and things to do in Lanzarote. It’s one of the new spiral guide books and includes a great map plus 10 reasons to come back again. Marco Polo kindly sent me the guide book so I could make the most of our recent trip.

Other posts include – Timanfaya National Park