The Ideal Destination For A Family Summer Holiday

If you’re looking to get away with the kids this summer, Turkey may well be the ideal choice. From idyllic beach resorts to rural havens or bustling city breaks, Turkey offers a plethora of holiday options to suit your family. What’s more, it won’t break the bank. Monarch offer a number of very affordable flight options, and accommodation is great value for money when compared with some other popular European holiday destinations.

Antalya

Antalya is Turkey’s largest international sea resort, located on the Turkish Riviera. From the historic town centre, Kaleiҫi, with its Ottoman architecture and cobbled streets, to the vast Konyaalti and Lara beaches, Antalya offers a wide range of tourist attractions. Don’t miss a trip to Hadrian’s Gate, erected in 130AD to celebrate the visit of Emperor Hadrian. Or if you want to do a spot of shopping, check out the historic Antalya bazaar. The city is shielded from northern winds by the nearby Taurus mountain range, so expect highs of around 34°C in June and July.

Dalaman

The Dalaman region offers a delightful mix of beautiful beaches, water sports, ancient ruins and fine dining. With other popular destinations like Marmaris and Olu Deniz nearby, Dalaman is a hub for a whole host of activities. For a quieter holiday experience, the 18km stretch of pristine beaches in Patara, near Kalkan, is only two hours’ drive from Dalaman airport. Legend has it this was the birthplace of Apollo, and there are archaeological ruins which lie along this stretch of sand that keep development to a minimum. For a more down-to-earth holiday, try Dalyan on the banks of the river Cayi, with the beach at Iztuzu just a short boat-trip downstream. Here you can visit the famous sulphur mud baths, try your hand at white-water rafting, or go horse riding in the nearby mountains.

Bodrum

Bodrum is home to the famous Mausoleum of Halikarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which is thought to have been constructed in 353 BC. The city itself is fantastic amalgamation of ancient and modern, so if the kids get bored of history, there are plenty of contemporary attractions, too. Bodrum is also famous for its marina, where you can hire a boat to go sailing for the day, or there are piloted boat trips for the non-mariners among us. Water sports like water-skiing or parasailing are also great activities for the more adventurous family.

Nearby is the ancient Greek sanctuary of Didyma. For a great day trip, walk some or all of the 17km Sacred Way to Didyma, following the ancient path of pilgrimage through some beautiful scenery between the ritual way stations. As you can see, a holiday in Turkey can be catered to your every need. Whether you and your family want to spend a luxurious week or two soaking yourselves in steamy hammams and lounging in the sun on idyllic beaches, or trekking through mountains in search of rural vistas or extreme sports, Turkey has it all.

The 10 Best Family-Friendly Events In Cornwall This Summer

It’s no wonder Cornwall is such a popular destination with families with a myriad of beautiful beaches to choose from, delectable fish and chips, futuristic greenhouses, and picture postcard villages to meander around. And, because the tourism industry is such an important one to Cornwall, a host of events have sprung up to entertain the crowds which throng here every summer. So, choosing just a few to attend can be tricky. Here’s a round-up of some of the best and most unusual taking place in the upcoming weeks and months:

Polo on the beach:

While polo may be seen to be something of an elitist sport, holding a polo match on the beach adds a unique element of fun to this sporting occasion. At Watergate Bay on July 5 and 6, it’s free to attend and you’ll be able to see three matches across the two days, including the Cornwall vs the Rest of the World Fixture. As well as the polo, there are demonstrations, a horse stunt show and a beach hut barbecue and live music to entertain the audience.

English National Surfing Championships:

One of the UK’s longest running, and best, surfing competitions, the English National Surfing Championships, which run from May 3 to 5, are a must-see even for those who have never tried riding the waves. The championships showcase the next generation of surfing talents who battle it out against more seasoned pros at Newquay’s Watergate Bay.

Pirates on the Prom:

There are plenty of little ones who love nothing more than a pirate-themed party, or watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and this event is designed especially for them. On May 26, Penzance is hosting a whole day of pirate-related music, dance and mayhem, along with a world record attempt, which you can join in, for the most people dressed as pirates in one place. The only stipulation is your pirate costume must include at least two accessories like a parrot, a cutlass or an eyepatch.

St Ives May Day:

Celebrating the end of winter and the coming of summer is a tradition stretching back centuries and there’s no better place to carry it on than in St Ives. Festivities centre around the Guildhall at noon when the May Queen and King and their attending Prince and Princess are chosen in a ceremony known as the pee whip. This is followed by a parade to the harbour where you can watch May pole dancing, listen to brass bands and enjoy fresh fish from the barbeque. There’s also a lively harbour market where you can stock up on some of the region’s produce. So, if you’re staying in one of Parkdean’s nearby Cornish holiday lodges, you’ll be able to cook up a supper-time feast when you return.

Grand Medieval Jousts:

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to witness a real-life medieval jousting session, then Pendennis Castle is promising to take you back in time, without the aid of a Tardis, on selected weekends in July and August. Knights will be doing battle in a live-action show where you can see them clashing on horseback, cheering on the knight in your favourite colours. There will also be a court jester on hand to entertain little ones with plenty of laughs.

Parklive 

While many music festivals aren’t the sort of events you’d take your little ones along to, some of the smaller ones boast family-friendly atmospheres. Parklive 4, in Kimberley Park at the end of August has a jazz theme this time round and plenty of activities designed especially for children, including a storytelling tent, a circus skills workshop and an art wall where kids can hang their mini masterpieces.

Royal Cornwall Show:

A tradition since 1793, the Royal Cornwall Show offers not just a host of entertainment, but a fascinating glimpse into local, country life. From June 5 to 7, the event includes livestock judging, show jumping, a dog show, agricultural machinery and marquees dedicated to rare breed goats and poultry. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be the RAF Falcons parachute team who are dropping in on all three days of the show.

Electric Beach Festival:

For those travelling with older children, the Electric Beach Festival at Watergate is back for its third year on June 7 and 8. It’s a nice-sized event with around 2,500 expected to attend so offers a gentle introduction to the world of music festivals. Saturday will be more upbeat while Sunday will be devoted to chill-out music. You can also try your hand at surfing as O’ Neill is holding surf master classes on the beach, which can be booked on the day.

Murdoch Day:

Whether you’ve heard of William Murdoch or not, the day devoted to him is well worth attending. Murdoch is credited with inventing domestic gas and spent much of his life in Redruth in Cornwall, where celebrations take place every year to honour the town’s most famous resident. On June 14, there is music and entertainment, a children’s art and dance procession, a street market, old-time fair and live concerts in venues dotted around the town. Best of all, every event is completely free.

Bodmin Riding and Heritage Day:

This event brings you face-to-face with Bodmin’s infamous beast. A celebration of Bodmin’s historic past, the day dates back to medieval times and was revivied in the 1980s. You’ll find the town’s main street lined with stalls on July 5 and local school children compete in processions through the town. All through the day, the theme is the hunt for the beast of Bodmin before he, she, or it, is finally captured and brought to trial in the grand finale at Mount Folly. Whatever time of year you’re visiting, you’ll find Cornwall offers a packed programme of events for all the family.

The Family Again…

As a child I always remembered the morning of; the last minute checks, the harried voice as my mother implored me to brush my teeth and the cry of, “where did you put your shoes?” echoing through the house. Some of my fondest memories as a child revolve around these road trips. There’s just something about being in a car for hours at a time, watching the landscape slowly change, playing 20 questions to pass the time. Of course, as much as I romanticize about my childhood, now that I’m an adult with responsibilities and a limited budget, I have to think more about the practical side of the equation: namely the cost. With the economics of going cross country with the family in mind, there’s one thing that I found to keep costs down more than anything else: getting a rental car. The benefits are numerous; it keeps the miles low on your personal car, can save on petrol, you can pick up and drop off at either end of your trip. The trick is how to get the rental car that suits your needs, at the lowest price possible. To do that you need to look at a few different factors.

Know what you want

Different rental companies offer different services, the main things to consider being price, locations, service fees, and car types available. Are you going on a cross country trip which might whack the cost of petrol up? Then you might have to sacrifice luxury for fuel economy. Going through the Highlands? Then fuel economy may be sacrificed for 4 wheel drive. Certain companies also offer services that are unique to them. For instance, Enterprise is famous for picking you up before and dropping you off after your rental.

Comparison shop

Just like airlines, the further you book in advance the more money you save. Also, just like airlines, travel comparison sites negotiate with car rental companies to offer the most competitive rates. If you are flexible on travel dates you’re liable to save money as well, as you may be able to take advantage of late offers and there are always last minute car rental deals out there to be found by a clever shopper.

Sign up for their rewards program

A quick sign up to a car rentals reward program can lead to lots of saved money. Perks include free days and upgrades on your rental car. Many of these agencies offer deals to their rewards customer as well, deals that may not be available through other channels. All this said, my favourite part about road trips with the family was always exactly that: family. The time spent together in our car was treasured. We would always learn something new about each other on those long drives, that’s why I loved them. I may have to concern myself more with budget and getting the right rental car than what’s happening outside the window these days, but I’ll continue that holiday tradition with my family as much as I can.

Hop Farm Family Park 

We were invited to visit the Hop Farm Family Park in Kent, to have a look at their new attraction, Pirate Cove, and of course, we jumped at the chance of a family day out! The new Pirate Cove, which opens on May 16th gives kids (big and small I’d like to add!) the chance to become a pirate! They can explore the galleon ship, help Captain Fluff find her lost treasure by following the hidden clues around the cove, and if the kids manage to unscramble the code, they’re rewarded with a special sticker! I think we missed a letter or two, as the word we had made no sense….!

You can also pan for gold, which you can then weigh, or you can buy a bag of gems and pan for them in the water! Little Miss loved this part, she was quite happy playing here while Little Man was off running around in the sand, finding lots of hidden gold coins! (I think he found almost all of them, so we had to put some back, in the name of fair play and all that!) We were lucky enough to meet Captain Jack Sparrow (*cough, not a bad version of him, even if I do say so myself….) He did scare Little Man a little bit, but Little Miss was right there next to him “Arrrgh-ing” all day!

After we had explored the cove and all its hidden treasures (not forgetting the two HUGE parrots in the entrance!) we were shown round the rest of the farm by the lovely Angela from Cooper PR, where we got the chance to try out the Magic Factory (funniest “moving tunnel” I have ever been in!) Giant Jumping Pillows, Kids Driving School, Outdoor adventure play area and an animal farm with the cutest micro pigs I have ever seen! (I was very tempted to stick Timmy in my bag and sneak him home, but I didn’t think they’d appreciate it!) There was even a dance competition for the kids, the lovely lady showing them the moves had some serious patience!! Of course, everyone won a prize!

The Hop Farm is massive, and there are SO many things for the kids to do, Little Man was entertained with the train rides and mini big wheel, and Little Miss loved the driving, jumping, and rides!

There is also a waxwork museum, which, is not quite on the same level as Madame Tussuads, but very close I’m sure…! (I have to say they were hilarious and some were quite scary looking, but it was a good giggle!) And for those who want to know the history of the Hop Farm, there’s a whole area dedicated to it.

We’ve never been to Hop Farm before, but I cannot recommend it enough! It was a brilliant day out, and there is literally something for everyone, all ages will be entertained all day long. We will definitely be going back. Little Man has been saying “hiya der me arties” (ahoy there me hearties!) all weekend, so I think I can safely say he loved it, and Little Miss & I are planning to watch Pirates of the Caribbean very soon, purely for research purposes I’d like to add…

The Hop Family Farm is open seven days a week from 10am til 5pm and tickets cost from £10.80 per child (off peak) Visit  for more details!

Family Values – It’s All About How Much We’re Worth

As national elections loom on the horizon I have been thinking about what is expected of us as parents under this Government and a possible Conservative Government after the next election. It baffles me because the values on which the government seems to place the most emphasis appear to ignore the most vulnerable in society. When it comes to health, employment and education the government seems to only favour a certain type of family at the expense of the rest.

The problem with NHS reform is this: they are difficult to understand and have been deliberately hidden. There is limited discussion in the media and debate is masked behind complicated terms. As someone who has studied social policy I still recoil at terms like free trade agreement and anything to do with competition law as they take me straight back to the A Level economics class that I tolerated but did not enjoy much. However, here is the truth: The Health and Social Care Act has opened the flood gates. NHS organisations can now make up to 49% of their income from paying patients. A free trade deal is under negotiation with the US which would mean that american health care providers will have a right to bid to run NHS services (obviously not out of the kindness of their hearts). As far as I can tell the bottom line is this: If we can’t pay for the service we will get will be substandard or non-existent. Jeremy Hunt says the reforms are about ‘good vs bad care’ and he’s right. We can expect good care if we can afford it. As a parent, this is worrying to say the least. Not necessarily that I expect the government to allow children to die because they can’t afford to pay for excellent treatment but that they would happily allow a child’s parents to suffer low quality care because they can’t afford the good stuff. The implication that someone’s life is more valuable than another’s because of how much money they have or earn is deeply concerning. Our obligation as parents in that case will be to make sure we have adequate health insurance cover for our family – at what cost? Will employers provide this? What if i’m not employed?

It is clear from just reading the headlines that the government wants adults – parents – to be working. I think you’d struggle to find a large number of parents who would disagree – it is not pleasant to have to claim benefits to feed, clothe and house your children, in my work I haven’t come across a parent yet who would like to remain on benefits rather than be working. However, the barriers to employment are insurmountable for so many. Childcare costs, on average, £7,549 per year. If we were to put both of our children in childcare for 4 days per week it would cost us £18,720. Meaning to just break even on my income I would have to earn a whopping £24,150, and that’s only taking into consideration childcare as a cost. Childcare vouchers would have a very small positive impact on this – but when you add in commuting costs I would probably need to earn significantly more to make no extra money. The average salary in the UK is around £21,000 depending on where you are and what you do, obviously. So, to actually make working pay I’d have to earn way above the average income. I do work though, I run a charity and have an evening job and I’m lucky enough to have a husband who works in a job that the market deems valuable enough that he can support us. The average income is certainly not the same as the minimum wage – so what is the situation for people who want to work but can only get minimum wage jobs, or zero hour contracts, or temporary work? It is hard enough to find childcare who you trust, let alone who can be available according to when your employer chooses to give you hours to work. The government, and its predecessors, tried in vain to make working easier for parents but none of these schemes (tax credits for example, among others) have addressed the fundamental problem: parents who are in need of benefits are still parents – they are not going to risk their children’s security, home, school place or any thing else on insecure jobs and a huge gap in their income. As I understand it (as if anyone can really fully understand such a vast and complicated system) the moment you accept paid employment your benefits are cancelled. The welfare payments that took a long time to obtain, battling through the bureaucracy to get right, are stopped and reapplying for them if your job finishes or your contract is not renewed is a long, drawn out process that can leave parents desperately trying to just put food on the table. Part of our obligation as parents is to provide a secure home for our children – how can a lot of the parents in this country do this when it is impossible to get reliable, secure jobs that pay fairly? Are the children of these parents less valuable because their parents cannot ‘work hard to get on’?

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I have this romantic notion of what it would be like to go on holiday with my children – it’s romantic because holidays are so far out of reach at the moment – the excitement and anticipation of boarding an aircraft with little ones (completely ignoring every single hellish story I’ve heard about travelling with young children) to go somewhere away. Away from home, work, reality and into a place where you just relax and enjoy each others company, some sun and fun together. As we won’t be going on holiday any time soon we’ve made a decision to work a bit harder at getting those experiences in our day to day lives.

So now, at the weekend, we have developed a pretty good routine. One day we devote to doing something outside, fun or interesting and the other day we do normal weekend stuff (food shopping, gardening, cleaning, sorting etc etc). So far this has been brilliant. Chris and I have made a decision to be more active with the children, to develop a lifestyle where being outside is the norm. So far we’ve felt like we’ve had a little holiday moment each weekend. We (I, Chris doesn’t have the same level of beeping, buzzing, flashing phone that I have) switch our phones to Airplane Mode. My phone is our only camera so we need it when we’re out but it’s just so peaceful to know that nothing else will disturb me. We can be present, in the moment and just there. I have been doing this in the week too, spending some quality, uninterrupted time with the children among all the other things that are necessary when you work more hours than you have childcare for.

The strangest thing has occurred. I have been relaxing more, spending time away from the constant demands on my attention from my phone and computer and work and I have been more productive. Less stressed, slept better and been more productive – less time thinking and more time ‘being’ has been hugely beneficial. When I read that back I think – yes, that makes total sense (duh?!), but this is so contrary to my usual ‘busy busy busy’ routine that it has come as quite a shock. I have been taking better care of my health too, which I’m sure has an impact, but I know that choosing to relax, even though life is busy, has really helped me, well … relax. Choosing airplane mode, trusting that nothing will happen that needs my immediate attention in that time and just focusing on my family feels so good. It is so good.

In search of eternal love……!

From eras, love is one unite feeling which has no definite statement to be expressed. Breaking through the rules of materialistic boundaries, love bestows a new feeling of being alive. The journey of love however starts with life, continues with joy on ends on divine. Thus, this is often termed as the most beautiful emotion that could ever happen to a soul.

It is one divine emotion that makes you feel high, nurtured, and peaceful and anything that could make you feel on top of the world. Love sees no bars of religion, age, status and now even GENDER…….!

Jokes apart, being the most refreshing feeling of the universe, it surely has the power encounter even the most life threatening deals of life. In an urge of find love, most teenagers start their journey blindly without considering the adverse effects of life. This ultimately puts them nowhere but at a shameful regret.

To fall in love it’s essential to know the concerned person and to do the same it requires patience, care and commitment towards the particular relation you want to be in. One should always respect and serve dignity towards your partner to show the care and concern you owe them.

There are no such hard and fast rules of admiring and loving that one special person in your life, this often confuse few to mix the feelings of infatuation and love. What is love?
The question remains unanswered from ages and shall be the same till eternity. But what matters is to actually understand and admire that special moment in life.

Find your eternal love

The word ‘love’ may sound pretty simple to your ears but it encapsulates a whole world of diverse emotions with it. To find true love is an extraordinary achievement and to hold your love till eternity i.e., the end of your time is all the more soothing and blissful to your heart and soul. It is such a universal feeling that connects two souls and transforms them into one. In search of your true and eternal love, one requires to commence his journey with life, continuing with joy and ending on divine. Thus, love is not seen as a slave of materialistic desires as it is often described as the most beautiful and authentic emotion that could ever strike a soul.

Not even in its flesh and soul is love a prey to lust and infatuation. In fact, most people perceive lust and infatuation to be the real identity of their perpetual love, but that is not the case, as love yearns to be the purest part of you. In romantic love perspectives, it has often been the epitome or personification of famous love-buds such as Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and many others. But love is not a domain of romanticism alone; in fact it is meant for all people who hold a very special place in your life, and that may not necessarily be your lover only. Your irresistible emotions also see its light while you love and show you care and concern for your parents, siblings and other friends. In other words, eternal love is an integral and significant part of family improvement.

To be more precise, there is no thumb rule of admiring and loving that special person in your life. It all depends on various whimsical moods and it varies from one person to another. But how one is able to find that eternal happiness in his life? Well, the answer to this poignant question lies in exercising patience, peace of mind, care and commitment toward that particular relation you want to enter. In fact, to give ample time to develop your relationship is the first important step in quest of your soulmate. Secondly, it should be devoid of extreme lust as it would only result into a sense of shameful regret on your part later in your life. The key is to focus on a more divine pursuit of your actions. The most genuine feeling should be that of utmost respect toward your loved one. Similarly, it is equally disastrous to mistake infatuation for love as it would lead you nowhere.

Love and affection for your family is the unconditional and irrevocable feeling of anyone’s personality; it is a poor excuse for what people say or behave in the name of family improvement, but it’s still very true! However, caring for your family makes you feel on top of the world. As love knows no boundaries of religion, age, caste and now even gender (lesbians and gays), it simply transcends two persons into a world of their eternal fantasy, completely different from the real world of ours. Thus, the mystery around eternal love is yet to be explored. So near, yet so far.