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Friday, 24 October 2014

50 Things to do in Blackpool: Part Four....

If you know me, then you’ll know I love my food! When we’re in Blackpool we’ll often travel all over looking for new places to eat. We love the food in nearby St Annes, with Anatolia (open Barbeque Turkish cuisine) and the Olive Tree Brasserie (Greek & Mediterranean) being firm favourites of ours and further up in Lytham you’ll also find many more magnificent establishments. Blackpool has its fair share of amazing places to dine too so today i’ll be sharing my top 10 of these....

31 – NOTARIANNI ICE CREAM


No trip to the seaside is complete without an ice cream and you simply won’t find better than from Notarianni's. This beautiful family run business based on Waterloo Road in the south shore has been making good old fashioned vanilla ice cream since 1928 and I seriously cannot tell you how good it is!
You’ll be spoilt for choice as the ice cream is served up every way imaginable from traditional cones and tubs to classic sundaes such as Knickerbocker glories, Banana splits and their very own ‘Notties Mess’. Order your ice cream from the takeaway and take it down to the beach on a nice day or have a seat in their ice cream parlour where you’ll find a whole selection of sundaes, coffees, drinks, cakes and sandwiches.
Notarianni’s is completely retro in the most charming and delightful way, it’s always somewhere we head for as soon as we arrive in Blackpool!

For more information please click here.

32 – THE COTTAGE


If you’re looking for fish & chips then make sure a visit to The Cottage is on your agenda. The Cottage features in Rick Stein’s ‘Seafood Lovers Guide’ as the best fish & chips in Blackpool and seeing as he's the king of fish, i'm going to trust his words!
The menu is traditional and simple but the food is fantastic and portions are generous! All of their fish is fished from sustainable stocks in British waters. Fresh Scottish haddock is brought by road from Aberdeen daily and all of their other varieties of fish are purchased daily at the nearby Fleetwood fish market.
Situated on Newhouse Road near Stanley Park, The Cottage has both a takeaway and a restaurant area. We’ve only ever had takeaway from there but the restaurant looks super cosy and they are bizarrely proud of the many celebrities who have dined there with framed photographs of everyone from Lenny Henry to Status Quo adorning the walls!

For more information please click here.  

33 – BEACH HOUSE BISTRO & BAR


The Beach House is situated in the iconic Festival House on the promenade and has the luxury of breathtaking views of the Irish Sea. A beautiful and relatively new place to eat, this venue is famous for its contemporary decor, great entertainment and delicious food.
Every Thursday to Sunday you can enjoy fabulous entertainment from in house musicians and the menu is a real treat serving everything from pizzas and pastas to steak, chicken and fish dishes all cooked to perfection. The outdoor seating is perfect on a warm day and don’t forget to try a cocktail whilst you’re there!

For more information please click here.  

34 – TIGER BILLS


Tiger Bills have a few restaurants dotted around the UK and their latest venue opened this year in the historic casino building at the entrance of the Pleasure Beach. The menu is hugely varied.... choose from the Western Grill or the Authentic Thai menu or mix and match if you can’t decide!
Tiger Bills Blackpool is also partnered by the Apple and Parrot bar a little further down the promenade so after your meal, why not enjoy an evening of live music whilst enjoying a drink (or few!)?
Look out for special offers on the website too such as the 2 course lunch offer for just £8.95.  

For more information please click here.

35 – THE BLUES BAR & BRASSERIE


The Blues Bar is housed in the gorgeous Big Blue Hotel and dining here is simply a wonderful experience! The restaurant was recently voted ‘Hotel Restaurant of the Year’ at the Blackpool Tourism Awards and it’s not hard to see why. The food is absolutely superb and made with fresh, local produce whether you’re visiting for lunch, afternoon tea or a delicious gourmet evening meal. There’s also a fabulous cocktail menu and the children’s menu includes an incredibly fun ‘make your own pizza’ option!

If you’re staying at the Big Blue Hotel too then you’re in for a real treat with breakfast!

For more information please click here.

36 – TOAST CAFE BAR & GRILL


Toast is one of our favourite places to have lunch when we’re in Blackpool but they also have an amazing evening menu. There are two Toast venues, one in nearby St Annes and the other in Blackpool town centre near the North Pier. You are really spoilt for choice with their menu, it’s huge and varied and there’s certainly something to please everyone! From pastas and pizzas to full Sunday roasts, all of the food is created fresh to order using high-quality ingredients and locally sourced fresh produce from within Lancashire and the surrounding areas. Also, the interior of the restaurant is contemporary and chic yet totally relaxed! A lovely place to dine no matter what time of day!

For more information please click here.

37 – SAPORI


Sapori is the place to go if you’re looking for delicious modern Italian cuisine. Yet another award winning establishment, you’ll find Sapori on Clifton Street in the town centre. Fantastically located for enjoying a beautiful meal before a great night out!
The Sapori menu is again varied with everything on offer from pizzas and oven baked pastas to a wide range of innovative dishes and delicious desserts.

For more information please click here.

38 – ROWLEY’S AT BLACKPOOL FC HOTEL


Rowley’s Bistro offers guests a modern British menu using some of the best local and regional produce with some international twists and always "big hearty flavours". If you’re looking for somewhere a little bit special based in a exceptional venue with unique views of the stadium then pop this one on your list. Dining here is a magnificent experience yet surprisingly affordable and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the a la carte menu (and anywhere that serves proper bread & butter pudding is excellent in my books!).

For more information please click here.

39 – MICHAEL WAN’S MANDARIN


Yet another award winning restaurant, Michael Wan’s Mandarin has been voted the third best Chinese restaurant in the UK. The food is traditional and authentic and the venue decor is beautiful. Choose from a mouth watering selection of menus including a special ‘pre-theatre & midweek menu’ which is available Sunday to Thursday before 7pm, Fri & Sat before 6.30pm. There is also a fabulous ‘Little Panda’ menu for kids and the restaurant even offer a selection of incredible cookery classes and a comprehensive calendar of live music and entertainment so do check their website for more details!

40 – HARRY RAMSDEN’S


I’m adding this one for its premium seafront location beside the Blackpool Tower. Harry Ramsden’s is of course famous worldwide for its fish & chips. The Blackpool restaurant has had a fantastic contemporary makeover recently providing both indoor and outdoor seating with awesome views of the promenade. The menu is widely varied and serves a whole lot more than just fish & chips including a variety of burgers, salads and a selection of yummy desserts.

For more information please click here

Part five coming soon!

Monday, 20 October 2014

50 Things to do in Blackpool: Part Three....

In part three i'm going to show you a selection of 10 of the best events, shows and entertainment venues in Blackpool although I will admit this only scratches the surface of what there is to see! For a detailed calender of events, hop on over to the Visit Blackpool website where you'll find full listings for everything from shows and community events to festivals.

21 - HOT ICE SHOW


The Hot Ice Show is a magnificent ice skating show based in the Pleasure Beach Arena. It’s a real treat to see featuring the very best performers from around the world taking to the ice in the most exquisite costumes to a collection of incredible music, the very best lighting and awesome special effects.
The show runs daily during the summer (check the website for specifics!) and usually follows the format of a shorter length matinee in the afternoon and the full show in the evening.

For more information and tickets please click here.

22 – VISIT A CRAFT FAIR

We are huge fans of the Truly Scrumptious fairs which are held in the beautiful Winter Gardens building on a few dates throughout the year. The fairs are a spectacular of crafts, vintage goodies, delicious food and cakes, live music, craft workshops and much more! They are a great way to pick up unique gifts and get to know local sellers. A lovely way to spend a weekend!

For more information please click here.

23 – SEE A SHOW

Blackpool is the northern capital of great entertainment and there are few better ways to spend an evening than catching a show. There are literally so many venues to choose from all with an exciting programme of events but if you’re looking for the bigger shows and concerts then head towards the Winter Gardens or the Grand Theatre.
In May 2015 you’ll be able to catch a stunning performance of Hairspray the Musical at the Grand Theatre, a show worth booking a trip for I think!

For more information about the Winter Gardens click here.
For more information about the Grand Theatre click here.

24 – THE WORLD FIREWORKS CHAMPIONSHIPS

On selected dates throughout September and October, see the skies lit up courtesy of the ultimate leaders in firework entertainment. See a series of perfectly choreographed firework shows from countries all over the world competing for the winning title which is announced at the beginning of October. Competitors for 2015 are yet to be announced but it is an amazing free evening of entertainment!
You’ll get a great view wherever you are along the promenade (and this event does get busy!) but our favourite place to watch the shows from are on either the Central or South piers.... grab a seat and a mug of hot chocolate whilst you’re there!

25 – HERITAGE TOURS AND OPEN DAYS


On selected dates throughout the year and held by various venues and organisations, step behind the scenes in some of Blackpools most famous landmarks from the Blackpool Tower to the Winter Gardens, the costume department at the Pleasure Beach and even the illuminations depot. Each venue makes for a thrilling and insightful experience!
It’s worth having a quick Google before you set off to Blackpool to see if any of these are being held whilst you’re there. We absolutely love the Blackpool Tower heritage tours which last about one and a half hours with a fully accredited guide with various options such as afternoon tea in the Ballroom afterwards. This is our favourite tour because you’ll get access to parts of the tower you wouldn’t normally get to see such as the beautiful circus stables and seeing where the first bolt was fastened on the tower legs! Perfect historical geekery!

26 – THE ILLUMINATIONS


Everyone knows Blackpool is famous for its illuminations, right?! When other seaside resorts are winding down for the winter, Blackpool is only just getting started for one of its busiest periods. The illuminations are an amazing spectacle to see at over 10 kilometres long and consist of almost every type of light display you can imagine!
Arguably, one of the best ways to see the lights is by tram (you can even take a trip round them on an illuminated heritage tram) but make sure you get off to walk the last bit as the large illuminated tableaux are really worth seeing up close. This year sees the addition of Alice’s Garden which was co-designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and the in-house team. It features a magical illuminated water garden and an 8 foot bridge. It is really quite lovely!
If you’re travelling by car then I’d recommend doing it on a weeknight as it does get incredibly busy at the weekend!

For more information please click here.

27 – REBELLION PUNK FESTIVAL

Rebellion is the original Punk and Alternative festival and one of the biggest of its kind in the world. The event runs over four days and sees hundreds of bands spread across multiple stages as well as cinema, merchandise, punk art, craft markets, an acoustic stage and lots more! The 2015 event will be held on 6th-9th August 2015 so if you’re looking for something different, come and celebrate everything punk! No need to worry about the British weather spoiling things either, it’s all indoors!

For more information please click here.

28 – SHOWZAM


Showzam is known as Blackpool's annual festival of circus, magic and new variety. An enchanting event created for all including family and adult audiences. Showzam brings together skills, talents and theatrical expertise of world famous performers and is an event that is truly unique to Blackpool.
The event is held in February and the programme is packed full of wonderful entertainment, shows, workshops and much more! Details for 2015 are yet to be published but more details and the 2014 programme are available here.

29 – BLACKPOOL PRIDE

The Blackpool Pride festival brings together LGB&T people together for a celebration of LGB&T lifestyle in a town which has an associated long and rich history.
The main event is a free festival in the iconic Winter Gardens where you’ll find fantastic entertainment, market stalls and several bars as well as much more! There’s also a colourful and lively parade which runs along the promenade and a series of cultural events created to support the festival encouraging the whole town to join in with the festivities. Even the Blackpool Tower joins in by donning a rainbow flag!

For more information please click here.

30 – BLACKPOOL AIR SHOW

The Blackpool Air Show is an amazingly popular event for the resort and it is an event that sees a whole host of spectacular flying machines taking to the skies for an incredible show. Blackpool hosted the UK’s first official air show in 1909 and it is still staged annually over 100 years later with stunning aerobatic stunts and fly-bys from wonderful aircraft no longer in commission.

For more information please click here

Part four coming soon!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

50 Things to do in Blackpool: Part Two....

11 – FUNNY GIRLS


If you’re looking for a great night out then look no further than Funny Girls, an absolute ‘must do’ if you’re in Blackpool. Based in the beautiful old art deco Odeon Theatre in the centre of town, this unique and unforgettable show presents you with a unique brand or burlesque cabaret exquisitely performed by male dancers and drag queens and accompanied by the wonderful DJ Zoe.
If you’re visiting Funny Girls then you’ll have the choice of watching the show by standing in the main area downstairs or booking one of the VIP booths above complete with waitress service or private bar. You can even treat yourself you a spectacular meal in their restaurant before the show (advance booking essential).

For more information and tickets please click here

12. GRUNDY ART GALLERY


The Grundy is a leading contemporary visual arts centre situated in a Grade II listed building in the centre of Blackpool.
The gallery hosts an extensive programme of temporary exhibitions including contemporary, modern and historical art, featuring established and emerging artists, as well as displays from its permanent collection.
I’m a big fan of their wonderful little shop too; great for gift buying, quality Blackpool books and postcards..... You can find some real gems here!

For more information please click here.

13 – ROCK FACTORIES


Blackpool is synonymous with rock making and there are a few places in the town you can actually go and see it being made. Learn how staff effortlessly place the letters inside those sticks of rock and breathe in deep, for the smell of all that sugar is just the most incredible thing!
Shops where you can see rock being made is dotted around Blackpool, you don’t really need to look that hard! Make sure you visit the Coronation World rock factory though based in the south shore area who have a purpose built viewing gallery where you can see the whole production area. They also offer free parking and have both a cafe and factory shop!  

For more information please click here.

14 – BLOTT


Blott artist studios based on King Street in the town centre is a fantastic artist led venture, a gallery established in 1999 to provide a platform for professional artists living in and around the Blackpool area. The gallery exhibits work all year round and also displays the work of visiting guest artists, nationally and internationally including a variety of work from sculpture to prints.
The gallery is currently open from Monday to Saturday with varying opening times so please check the website before making a visit!

For more information please click here.

15 – THE GREAT PROMENADE SHOW


The Great Promenade Show is a series of large-scale outdoor art installations permanently set along a 2km stretch of the beautifully designed sea defence wall in the south shore area. The works were commissioned by Blackpool Council from both established and emerging artists to animate the promenade and offer a creative attraction to the town's residents and 11 million annual visitors.
The vision for the art works is that of an outdoor gallery or a visual variety show, a programme of 'acts', each one reflecting an aspect of Blackpool's diverse character.

My absolute favourite piece “They Shoot Horses, Don't They?” by Michael Trainor is an enormous rotating mirror ball, measuring 6m in diameter and covered in almost 47,000 mirrors. The piece beautifully reflects Blackpool as being the ‘Ballroom capital of Britain’ and looks amazing, no matter what the weather!

16 – COMEDY CARPET


Just in front of the tower over on the promenade is where you’ll find the magnificent Comedy Carpet. Created by artist Gordon Young, and designed in collaboration with Why Not Associates, the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of comedy on an astonishing scale. It is in fact one of the largest pieces of public art ever commissioned in the UK and is pretty much our answer to the Hollywood ‘walk of fame’.
Viewing the Comedy Carpet you’ll find famous catchphrases and jokes from over 1,000 comedians and writers (apparently over 80% of these have performed in the town at one point or another!) immortalised in concrete and granite. Everyone from Peter Kay to Ken Dodd and Monty Python to On The Buses is included and you’ll have heaps of fun finding your favourites!

For more information please click here.

17 – THE BEACH!


I don’t really need to write about this one, do I? The beach in Blackpool is beautiful, clean, sandy and huge!

18 – THE THREE PIERS


Blackpool isn't short of piers and walking down the famous Golden Mile, you’ll never be far from one. All three of the piers were constructed during the Victorian age and each one has its own distinct identity. North Pier is the most traditional of the three and is famous for its entertainment venues and beautiful carousel whilst Central and South Piers are crammed full of rides, amusements and places to eat.
We love visiting the South Pier in an evening during the illuminations for candyfloss, donuts and chocolate covered fruit!

19 – STANLEY PARK


Stanley Park is the biggest park in Blackpool and offers everything from beautiful gardens and historical buildings to heaps of fun activities. Facilities and things to do include the lovely art deco cafe, playgrounds for children, BMX race track, boat hire, indoor and outdoor sports centre and model village (which is also dog friendly!) as well as much, much more! A lovely way to spend a day or two!

For a full list of facilities and details of parking please click here.

20 – CORAL ISLAND


There are countless amusement arcades in Blackpool and if you’re planning on visiting any then I really do recommend Coral Island as being the best way to fritter away that loose change! The Iconic amusement arcade is bright, loud and crammed full of arcade games, a casino, prize bingo, slot machines and even a few rides including a pirate themed ghost train. There are plenty of places to eat too (they are actually pretty good!) and it is worth mentioning that kids eat free in all of their restaurants.

For more information please click here

Part three coming soon!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Yankee Candle "Icicles"

Yankee Candle are perpetually releasing brand new fragrances to keep fans excited and the 2014 Christmas collection is no exception. Along with festive favourites such as Christmas Cookie and Sparkling Cinnamon we are joined this year by four very special fragrances that embody the spirit of Christmas Past and Christmas Present.

Now in our household, it's never too early to start getting ready for Christmas! At the beginning of November I usually start sneaking in a few festive touches around the house to make it just that little bit more cosy and welcoming and a great way of doing this is by using candles!


I recently got hold of a jar of Icicles, a new festive fantasy fragrance by Yankee Candle. Described as possessing "the crisp, winter forest scent of ice covered pine branches with tingly notes of spicy cinnamon", this candle is sure to add a touch of festive sparkle to any room! 
I'm not going to lie though, I didn't even read the description beforehand! I was drawn to this candle for two reasons, the first of which is the colour. The intense icy blue wax is not your usual festive red, white or green..... it's an unusual colour choice for a festive scent but it really does work! Secondly (and rather simply!) i'm a sucker for birds and I was lured by the cute little robin all alone in the cold the label!


I've used this candle a few times now and it is a true fantasy fragrance, it's quite magical and ethereal. A lovely scent for both day and night. You certainly get the feeling of pine trees and fresh, crisp air once the candle is lit.
The cinnamon notes are quite sharp and offer that tingly feeling of warmth when you come in from being out in the cold on an icy day! I'm not sure how they do it, I think there's a hint of peppermint in there to balance things out and keep it fresh. Icicles a very complex fragrance and I'm rather fond of it already. Each time I burn it I get something new from it too!


If you've tried Sparkling Snow or Winter Wonderland before then this is quite a similar scent, very fresh yet warming and ridiculously festive. One to pop in your shopping basket for sure!

As with all of the new festive fragrances, Icicles is available to buy in all formats from wax melts up to large jar candles. All of which are available to buy from the Yankee Candle website along with the rest of the Christmas collection and a range of stunning candle accessories.


Here are the official descriptions for the four fragrances in the collection....

Christmas Present 
Be enchanted this Noel with elegantly ethereal scents; perfect for creating a winter wonderland! Stylish and sophisticated, these airy aromas are cleverly layered with delicate fragrance note to charm and delight.

Icicles
The crisp, winter forest scent of ice covered pine branches with tingly notes of spicy cinnamon

Angel Wings
Spirits rise on this beautiful, airy aroma of joyfully sweet spun sugar, heavenly sheer flower petals and divinely smooth vanilla 

Christmas Past
Welcome to the festive season with these nostalgic homemade traditions. Sweet, sugary magic and fresh, zesty evergreens fill homes and hearts with the joyful scents of that most wonderful time of year.

Candy Cane Lane
A favourite Christmas place where delicious dreams are made with tingly peppermint, sweet cookies and creamy vanilla icing.

Christmas Garland
The season comes to life in this lush aroma of fresh-cut pine boughs and zesty cranberries

What Yankee Candle scents have you been burning recently? 

 * I was sent this product to review but all words are my own!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

50 Things to do in Blackpool: Part One....

So here's the first part of my miniature guide to Blackpool! In this post i'll be focusing on my top 10 paid attractions....

1 - BLACKPOOL TOWER CIRCUS


When we go to Blackpool there’s nothing I look forwards to more than getting to see the magnificent Tower Circus. Positioned at the very base of the tower between its four legs, taking a seat by the circus ring is like stepping back in time. Dating back to 1894, it is the oldest permanent Circus Arena in the world and the Frank Matcham designed interior (completed in 1900) is still intact today.

Animals have not appeared in the tower circus ring since 1990 and the modern day show features the incredible resident clowns Mooky and Mr Boo who lead world-class acrobats for a performance which will amaze and entertain you.
Let’s not forget the breath-taking water finale either which sees the entire circus ring lowered into a pool of water holding up to 42,000 US gallons complete with dancing water fountains. The tower circus is one of four left in the world that can do this and it is a marvellous spectacle to see!

For tickets and information please click here.

2 - BLACKPOOL TOWER EYE


You can’t come to Blackpool and not go up the tower, can you?! Encounter the new 4D Blackpool complete with amazing sights, smells and special effects which will keep you entertained (or calm your nerves if you’re scared of heights!) before you embark on your journey to the top of the tower. The lifts that transport you take just 69 seconds to travel 315ft before opening their doors to the most stunning views of the town and coast.
On a good day you’ll get to see places as far as the Lake District but if you’re like us, you’ll be having just as much fun spotting your car parked in the rooftop car park in the shopping centre below!

For those who are daring, step out onto the SkyWalk – a solid glass floor which leave you feeling like you’re walking on air giving you uninterrupted views of the beautiful comedy carpet and seafront below!

For tickets and information please click here.

3 – SEA LIFE BLACKPOOL


A few minutes from the tower and situated just on the seafront opposite the Central Pier is the wonderful Sea Life Blackpool. A wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon, the attraction boasts more than 50 dazzling displays and over 2000 aquatic creatures including tropical sharks, octopus, rays and sea horses.
I’m a little bit in love with their gorgeous blue humphead wrasse Napoleon and Guinness World Record Breaking resident ‘Big Daddy’, the world’s largest crab! He’s a bit of a beast with a 10.2 foot claw span..... It’s a good job he’s safely behind glass or I’d be running for the hills!

For an experience you’ll definitely not forget, why not have a go at snorkelling with the sharks? Make sure you enhance your visit by catching a few of the many talks and feeding demonstrations on offer too!
Sea Life Blackpool is also home to a pirate themed mini golf course as well as gift shop and free children’s soft play area at the end of the attraction.

For tickets and information please click here.

4 - THE BLACKPOOL TOWER BALLROOM


Dating back to 1894, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is world famous for its unique sprung dance floor and spectacular architecture. It remains to this day a destination for dance fans from across the globe and is a ‘must see’, even if you’re not a dancer! Taking a seat and watching people have fun and taking in all the magnificent architecture is quite simply magical!
The ballroom now offers the wonderful option to relax in style by enjoying a sumptuous afternoon or high tea with view of the dance floor whilst you listen to the sounds of the famous Wurlitzer organ. A gorgeous and luxurious way to spend the afternoon, I definitely want to do this next time I visit!

For more information please click here.

5 - THE BLACKPOOL TOWER DUNGEON



The Blackpool Tower Dungeon has quickly become one of the ‘must see’ attractions in Blackpool. The Dungeon is host to 10 action packed live shows led by professional actors, authentic sets and state of the art special effects.
The attraction is described as being a ’60 minute journey through 1000 years of Lancashire’s murky past’ before experiencing the ultimate end to your Dungeon journey, a faster than gravity drop ride that apparently the Blackpool Tower had to be strengthened for to accommodate it!

Better than a boring history lesson for sure!

For tickets and more information please click here.

6 - MADAME TUSSAUDS BLACKPOOL


Madame Tussauds is a relatively new attraction for us; in fact the first time we visited was during our last trip a few weeks ago.  I guess I never really saw the appeal but now having visited, I’d really recommend spending a rainy afternoon there!

You’ll find Madame Tussauds on Blackpool seafront, just a little further down from the Tower and the Sea Life centre. Spend a few hours rubbing shoulders with the stars as you meet everyone from Michael Jackson to David Beckham. Take a seat on the set of Jeremy Kyle or stroll down the cobbles of Coronation Street before enjoying a freshly poured pint with Ken and Deirdre in the fully-licenced Rovers Return bar. You can also learn about the complex process involved in creating the lifelike wax figures and even immortalize your own hand in wax!

We really enjoyed the interaction with the staff at this attraction who were all very friendly and enthusiastic, getting us to dress up and hold props for photographs and helping us round with the pushchair!

For more information and tickets please click here.

7 - BLACKPOOL ZOO & PLAYBARN


The multi-award winning Blackpool Zoo offers a fun day out for all the family, packed with all your favourite animals to see, lots of fascinating talks & feeds to attend and loads of fun activities to do. The zoo is situated in 32 acres of spacious parkland complete with lakes, waterfalls and traditional English woodland. The lovely and spacious layout of the zoo and large, natural enclosures ensure you can get as close as possible to your favourite animals. We really love the open enclosures such as lemur wood, Amazonia and wallaby walkabout where the animals are free to roam with the public! This year sees the arrival of two tiger cubs who have firmly made their way to the top of my ‘must see’ list along with the giraffes, elephants, gorgeous sea lions and countless more animals.

Starbucks coffee is proudly served in outlets across the zoo (lovely cake too!) and the Lake View Cafe is perfect if you’re looking for lunch. If you have children, pop over to the Playbarn just next door to the zoo after your visit (you’ll get discounted entry if you keep your zoo ticket!). The Playbarn is a fantastic soft play centre complete with three levels of jungle-themed play crammed full of slides, ball pools, cannons and much more!

For more information and tickets please click here.

8 – BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH


There is something for everyone here! Whether you’re looking for white knuckle roller coasters, perfectly preserved theme park heritage, the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land, expansive family fun or consistently marvellous shows..... You’ll find it at the Pleasure Beach!  
Our favourite rides include Valhalla, the world’s biggest indoor dark ride taking you on a journey through the elements (real ice, fire, wind and snow - make sure you pack a raincoat as you’ll get soaked!) and the Wild Mouse, a hair raising coaster that certainly isn’t for the faint hearted! Also, don’t miss out on the wonderful Alice Ride, the River Caves and the historic Flying Machines which have impressively been in operation in the park since 1904!

For more information and tickets please click here.

9 - ILLUMINASIA


Brand new for 2014 and situated in the beautiful Winter Gardens, Illuminasia is the latest must-see family attraction in Blackpool. Illuminasia is the world's largest indoor illumination experience that effortlessly blends traditional Chinese lantern crafts with the latest in lighting technology. Inside the exhibition you'll find hundreds of incredible handmade structures covering thousands of square feet, all under-cover. A truly magical visiting experience and the perfect attraction for a rainy day!

You can find the rest of a more detailed review I did earlier in the year by clicking here.

10 – SANDCASTLE WATERPARK


Situated at the South Shore adjacent to the South Pier on the promenade is the Sandcastle Waterpark, the UK’s largest indoor waterpark. If you’re looking for a fun filled day out, the Sandcastle is jam-packed full of slides and attractions, fun pools, wave machines, a lazy river, burger bars, snack bars, arcades, swim shop and much much more!
If you’re looking to relax then try the Sea Breeze Spa where you’ll find a wide range of facilities including heated loungers, foot spas, a sauna and a steam room. A great way to feel refreshed and re-energised after an action packed day!  

For more information and tickets please click here

Part two coming soon!

Monday, 13 October 2014

50 Things to do in Blackpool: An Introduction....

Here I am on one of my first ever holidays, standing on Blackpool beach in front of the famous Blackpool tower (presumably in the middle of winter too judging by the way i'm wrapped up!). My love affair with this beautiful and bold seaside town began here and has never dwindled since. I was incredibly lucky that my family took me on holiday after holiday when I was little and I can safely say I've stayed all over but nowhere has my heart like here.


I'm sure that you will have seen some of the advertisements from the wonderful #blackpoolsback campaign this summer and the delightful TV adverts that have accompanied it. The campaign has been driven by Merlin Entertainments together with Visit Blackpool and aimed to challenge any negative perceptions of the resort, by reminding families of everything Blackpool has to offer. This includes an unrivalled concentration of world-class family attractions, an award-winning beach as well as a summer packed with exciting events.

To support #blackpoolsback i'd love to share some of my favourite touristy things to do in this fantastic seaside resort so in the coming weeks i'll be putting together a pocket-sized guide of 50 things to do in Blackpool. If you're planning a trip maybe for the first time or wondering what certain paid attractions are like before parting with your cash, I hope to show you that there's a whole lot more to Blackpool than sticks of rock and hen/stag weekends! 


You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person. 
~ Alec Waugh

Friday, 10 October 2014

Happy 12 Months!

So here I am writing Emilia's 12 month update already. I'm certain that this past year has been the quickest and most exhausting but absolutely the best year of my life! She's so incredible in every way and I can't wait to see what the next year holds for her! 

She celebrated her birthday on the 8th, we took her to a local soft play centre for the day where she had a lovely party lunch before we headed home for a Peppa Pig themed buffet with family. It was a lovely day and she was exhausted afterwards!


Here is a little update on some of the main things this month....

Sleep - Dare I say without jinxing it? Here goes.... Emilia has finally started sleeping through the night! After she was put on additional meds for her reflux and we had a good go at tweaking her daytime naps we've had a few weeks now where she's slept in her bed until a pretty decent 6am. We've only really had to go in once or twice each night, usually just to find her dummy when she's lost it so fingers crossed that this new sleeping thing is a trend that will continue! 


Doing - Getting very good at standing unaided, crawling and cruising round the furniture at home. She'll quite confidently take a couple of steps for example from the coffee table to the tv which is another step closer to walking I guess! I'm sure it won't be long now! 
With us being on holiday for part of September too we were able to take her to some form of soft play centre or playground or beach every single day which she absolutely loved. She's very sociable and vocal and loves exploring and seeing new things!  


Saying - Still lots of pointing at everything and calling it a 'doggy'! When she's woken up from a nap in the daytime, she'll often call out for 'mama' too which is so sweet!

Eating - Still on three milk feeds a day and recently has started enjoying her food a little more! She's started letting us feed her with a spoon/fork and also likes it if you give here one loaded with food so she can feed herself. Usually mashed food on a spoon is the only way she'll try anything with meat, veg or fish in so that's great! Her current favourite foods are jam sandwiches, strawberries, cucumber, rice, pasta, mild cheese and fish fingers (which she tried on holiday for the first time and ate the whole lot!). 


Likes - Tummy tickles, snuggles when she's just woken up, peekaboo, jumping, opening presents, dancing, soft play, splashing in the bath and playing with bubbles, walking with her walker, trying to give people her favourite toys, watching Peppa Pig, stroking the dog, playing with 'noisy' toys, reading books, going on the swings at the park and being outside!

Dislikes - Having her nappy changed, being strapped into anything or being in her pram too long, having her arms put into sleeves and brushing her teeth (she's teething again we think!). 

Happy 12 months, my princess!


I've quite enjoyed writing these monthly updates so I might continue to do them for another year as even if nobody else reads them, they are great for me to look back on and see how much she has changed!